I 1000% knew that I wanted to have afternoon tea at the Four Seasons Istanbul on the Bosphorus – even more when I realised that they have afternoon tea cabins along the banks of the Bosphorus.
It was magical.
This former 19th century Ottoman Palace is among Istanbul’s most luxurious hotels. It sits comfortably on the seashore of the Beşiktaş neighbourhood, on the European side of the Bosphorus.
It is stunning inside and out. The Bosphorus is the natural strait that separates European Turkey from Asian Turkey. It is one of Istanbul’s most majestic sights and the view from the Four Seasons terrace is truly magnificent.
The YALI Lounge & Terrace
A Yali (literally “seashore, beach”) is the name given to the holiday retreats of Ottoman/Turkish elites, people who were wealthy enough to be able to afford a luxurious seaside mansion. Almost exclusively located on the Bosphorus strait, these lavish residences are still the most expensive houses in Istanbul (they cost up to 100 million US$).
When we were in IStanbul, just be aware – since neither the YALI lounge nor the YALI terrace accepts reservations, this “no bookings” policy also means that a specific table cannot be secured and that your party may have to sit inside. Maybe try to book via your hotel concierge.
We were lucky enough to both have beautiful clear weather, and nab an outside cabin.
Sipping champagne, we savoured Anatolian delicacies as we admired the soaring minarets and towers of the city’s inimitable waterfront skyline.
Our afternoon tea array was delicious – but it’ll have changed by the time you read this, so just be assured that it was a delicious combination of local flavours and traditional fare.
It was one of those experiences that we simply sat and delighted in. We soaked up the fascinating view, watching ships sail along the horizon, coming and going from east to west.
We explored the hotel afterwards, which was characteristically beautiful.
We did look at staying in the Four Seasons, but we ended up booking nights at the Istanbul Ritz Carlton based on friend’s recommendations, and the Pera Palace Hotel based on the historical connections – but it was also because those (also) beautiful hotels had a stronger sense of place.
But, afternoon tea at the Four Seasons Istanbul at the Bosphorus was a magical experience.
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