I never dreamed that we would get to visit Istanbul, a city steeped with exotic mysticism. When deciding where to stay in Istanbul the Ritz Carlton was recommended to me by several of my friends who had explored the city straddling both Asia and Europe.
Flicking though my photos the other day reminded me of how beautiful our stay was – and how I hadn’t shared our time there. [Well, that, and my only regret of the trip was having a tempestuous camera for the first few days – who knows why – so I had to depend on my older model phone…]
The first feeling of other worldliness was when our car had the chassis checked with mirrors, then our suitcases were run through an airport scanner – but both were done quickly and professionally. We chatted with the welcoming concierge who ran through our booking, orientated us with the hotel and then handed over our room key with a warm smile.
Our king room was well appointed in every respect (something I’d expect from the Ritz Carlton in any city) it had a roomy entrance hall, beautifully sized bedroom and generous bathroom with a bath & shower…
…but the showstopper for us was the picture window with views out over the Bosphorus (also known as the Strait of Istanbul). We spent more than a bit of time simply watching the world float past, often scooting back to the hotel before twilight so we could enjoy the city light up beneath our feet.
(Well, that and the husband mentioned in passing an important football game, which I managed to snare via a VPN for huge brownie points.)
I loved the design nods to Turkey paired with all the mod cons you’d expect of a luxury hotel.
…including own-brand amenities.
It was the perfect place to rest our weary selves after exploring Istanbul all day. The bed was delicious (and huge), the carpet was what I can only call sink-in-able; the kind that massages your toes (reminscent of the Langham, Raffles, the Four Seasons and Shangri-La hotels) and the decor immaculate.
Between soaking in the city, we spent a little time within the hotel itself; popping down for post-Football cocktails, delicious breakfasts and the odd cup of tea where we sunk into the comfortable leather couches.
We also spent an afternoon at the nearby Four Seasons in one of their afternoon tea bubbles; but that’s a tale for another day!
We loved our stay at the Ritz Carlton; comfortable, secure, welcoming and a beautiful sense of place. Along with the rest of the luxury hotels in the Besiktas district of Istanbul, it’s a little out of the centre, but we just cabbed it around the city with no problem at all. It was lovely to leave the busyness of the city behind us – until we explored more of it the next day.
From the scale of the Hagia Sophia, and chats with our quite politically progressive tour guide, to the peaceful cruise we did along the Bosphorus Strait, Istanbul felt so ‘other’ to me. Just how the ancient Byzantium capital should feel. It was intense, curious, delicious and welcoming.
Have you been to Istanbul?
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