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With the best of Istanbul in front of her, CHRISTINE CUNANAN hardly left her suite at the PARK BOSPHORUS HOTEL
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“This Terrace Suite is one of our most requested rooms,” said the manager. “It’s always fully booked in the summer.”
“You’re staying in my favorite room,” said Efecan Alici, the assistant front office manager of the Park Bosphorus Hotel in Istanbul, as he escorted me to my Terrace Suite upon checking in one early morning, just off a flight from Asia. Then my private butler Kaan, who was waiting for me as we got off on my floor, said with a big smile as he opened the door: “This is my favorite suite.” I hadn’t exactly booked the presidential suite, which just so happens to be the largest hotel suite in Istanbul right now; in fact, my Terrace Suite is several notches down from this in the pecking order of rooms at this hotel. So, frankly, I assumed these remarks were simply welcome courtesies accorded to everyone until I actually walked into my suite and out onto the private terrace and literally beheld the entire Istanbul before me in full splendor on a beautiful sunny autumn day.
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Many hotel rooms in this part of Istanbul, up on the hill on the European side facing the sea, offer similar views but so few can boast of an open-air one as panoramic terraces are scarce in this city.
“I don’t think I’ll want to leave this room,” I said to them, only half in jest. Indeed, I was already canceling in my mind the tentative plans I had made to stroll around nearby Istiklal Caddesi, and eyeing the very comfortable looking sofa
LOVELY IN EVERY WAY Terrace with a view aside, this suite is modest in size, as far as suites go, but its horizontal configuration maximized its access to the scenery, making it feel more spacious than it actually was, especially from up high with an unencumbered view.
What a difference this terrace with an unencumbered 180-degree view made. Being able to actually experience the sounds and smells of the city and of the Bosphorus that made my stay here unforgettable.
But what a difference this terrace with an unencumbered 180-degree view made. The scene is what postcards and Instagram moments are made of, of course; but, more than this, it was really about adding more dimensions – being able to actually experience the sounds and smells of the city and of the Bosphorus that made my stay here unforgettable.
on the terrace as the perfect place to catch up on emails after my long flight. I’d also planned to meet up with some friends for a drink later in the day, and now I was thinking of inviting them over to my terrace instead.
From a design perspective, too, it was easy on the eyes in a graceful way – a contemporary version of classic Ottoman interiors sans the heavy colors, in whites and the faintest shades of pastel. And with a private marble hammam and a jacuzzi that could easily have fit four persons, it had everything I could possible wish for in a hotel room.
“This is one of our most requested suites,” Efecan continued. “It’s always fully booked, especially in the summer.” I could certainly imagine how this terrace might be a wonderful premium seat to the spectacular show that is Istanbul in the summer, with everyone’s windows and doors flung open, the yachts in the water, and people out in the rooftop bars and open-air cafes celebrating life.
NEW IDENTITY Meanwhile, the Park Bosphorus Hotel, a member of the Preferred Hotels & Resorts LVX Collection, is ideally located at a high vantage point for views and in a quiet end of Taksim, Istanbul’s main commercial area, so that all the action is only a five-minute stroll but yet seemingly a world away. It’s a new hotel reworked out of a heritage building that has enjoyed many lives, including one as the residence of the Ambassador of Italy from 1890 and then
as the headquarters of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Ottoman empire. It then became the Park Hotel, one of Turkey’s first hotels and an institution in Istanbul life that served as a popular venue for society weddings and celebrations. It was also the hotel of choice for visiting dignitaries, including the former King Edward VIII of England and Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, founder of the Turkish Republic.
THE BEST OF TURKISH ARTISTRY Today, the hotel sparkles with new interiors, most of it created painstakingly by local artisans who handcarved and handpainted a modern version of a classical palace, and the effect of all this artistry is not dissimilar to a fancy wedding cake, albeit one in marble. Turkish costumes and arts and crafts – all part of the collection of the owner’s family – are also displayed throughout, reminding guests of the hotel’s illustrious history.
Yet it was the Terrace Suite that captured my heart from the start. In spite of my good intentions to stay put, I ended up leaving for a few hours for a quick visit to see the paintings of Osman Hamdi Bey at the Pera Museum and for a stroll through a weekend antiques market, but soon the thought of it pulled me back. Then, for the rest of the day, I sat on my terrace as it was unusually warm for that time of year and ordered a platter of mezze and a glass of wine for my first proper Turkish meal. For once in a very long time, I didnâ€™t even open my computer as I was completely mesmerized by the changing of colors and light as the sun faded on one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Sometimes, a Travelife is really meant to be experienced just like this. n
PARK BOSPHORUS HOTEL www.preferredhotels.com Park Bosphorus Hotel is a member of the Preferred Hotels & Resorts