Istanbul premier hotel, the Ritz-Carlton elegant glass tower stands on a gentle hill, in a posh residential area. Actually at the crossroads of two continents, on the European banks of the beautiful Bosphorus Strait which we could observe day and night from our room. Taksim Square, and the famous  Istiklal Cadessi pedestrianized street, with its round the clock animation (all the famous pubs, restaurants and night-clubs are there), can be reached by an invigorating five minutes walk.  Any hotel would sell off by itself with such a prime location; but the Ritz-Carlton deals with perfection, and brings much more to its guests. We felt the hotel high level of services as soon as we arrived at Atatürk Airport. This was not at all our first hotel limousine pick up; we always order a limo, arriving in a city we are visiting for first time. Just to avoid eventually hustled taxi cabs.  We must say that the BMW735IL dispatched by the Ritz-Carlton impressed quite a lot the spoiled travellers we are. Brand new, immaculate, comfortable compared with the standard Mercedes E type five star hotels usually operate: with leather seats and bar (the driver offered us a drink on our way to the hotel),  it was well worth the EUR 80 charged for this 30-45 minutes transfer. Istanbul is not a dangerous city. Nevertheless, due to the terrorist hazard of this erratic century, we felt a very high level of security just stepping out of the car. Our luggage were X-rayed, and we got through a metal detector before reaching the ritzy lobby. We felt like in an Asian hotel. Which is the best remark we could make. Marble, rich furniture, staff standing at each corner with a smile... This could have been The Peninsula Hong Kong or The Oriental Bangkok. Just like in any palace hotel, the check-in was quick and courteous. We received a card for our room: impossible to use the elevator without this precious sesame. Security, again and again.


Those staying at the Ritz-Carlton on a business trip will certainly not mind the view. But those coming for leisure, moreover for a first visit to this legendary city, should order in advance a « Bosphorus View », indeed. The panorama is amazing, with much animation over the blue waters of the straight: well worth the trip! The rooms are those of a top class chain hotel: elegantly furnished, displaying thick carpets, elegant fabrics, and equipped with multi-lingual interactive flat screen television and CD player. Many bonuses come: bringing this « little something » which makes it better. The bed for instance! We used to sleep in the most exclusive beds in the world... but here the mattress are exceptional (« Vividus », by Hastens, maybe?) and made us feel like laying on a cloud. The Iznik tiles and marble bathrooms are also noticeable: large, well appointed, with a all-you-might-need toilet kit. There is no WiFi in the room; only in the public areas. But the large desk gets a LAN socket for Internet high speed connection. The individually designed suites reflect, indeed, the atmosphere and personal touch of a palace hotel. The « Ritz-Carlton Suite » comes favourite with VIP guests: its 2600 square feet hosted a long -and confidential- list of jet setters., statesmen, show business and movie stars. Equipped with kitchenette, surround sound music system, separate butler's entrance, it is most wanted for its private Jacuzzi with a dramatic view of Istanbul and Bosphorus.  The « Presidential Suite », is recommendable to CEO and politicians for its large and elegant dinning room, ideal for a board meeting; a couple on a honeymoon might feel quite isolated in this 2647 square feet apartment... What sounds important is receiving complimentary access to the « Bosphurus Lounge ». It comes automatically, when booking a top category room. We were given a golden card checking in, and used it to reach the 12th « Ritz-Carlton Club Lounge » private floor. Few guests there: this is a real members club, where we were called by our name, and treated with a kind anticipation. During our five days stay, we had our breakfast in the cozy non-smoking dinning room (a second dinning room is reserved for smokers), observing the Bosphorus from our table. This is the place for excellent expresso coffee, fresh fruit juices, and a very nice breakfast buffet featuring sliced meats and delicatessen (« mezzes »), sausages, smoked salmon and haddock, ewe cheese, olives, dried or fresh fruits, great olive breads, home backed pastries, etc. Food presentations happen many times a day, and beverages come on a complimentary basis. Should we hesitate to stay at the Ritz-Carlton or in another hotel in Istanbul, we would select the RC just for its majestically designed and managed lounge.

The Laveda Spa also makes the difference, and participates to the RC fame: not only worldwide, but also in Istanbul. Visited by influent local people, highly valued by jet lagged guests, it features a large, luxurious and pleasant indoor pool, sauna, steam room, Jacuzzi, authentic Turkish Hammam, fitness center and nine treatment rooms including two Couple Suites as well as outdoor Spa -with a pool- during summer months. The treatments are obviously pricey; but dedication and luxury have a price. It is worth it when you want to efficiently treat yourself like a Pasha... A wide range of invigorating plant and essential oils are used to improve both mental and physical vigor. We took at least five years off, under Micky's -our Chinese masseuse- experimented fingers...  Sybarite will love the « Caviar Therapy »: an intensive moisturizing therapy leaving skin renewed and rejuvenated. It costs EUR 216 / 90 minutes. But where else could you receive such an exclusive treatments?

We prefer caviar in our plate; with its four restaurants, the Ritz-Carlton is the right place for it... and much more. The chic RC Bar (featuring the largest selection of single malt whiskies in Istanbul) and the cool Güney Park Terrace (with amazing starlit views of the Bosphorus and Princess Islands) are actually bars where snacks can be ordered. The Lobby Lounge is mostly dedicated to teas and desserts. Gastronomy definitely concentrates in the Cintemani Restaurant.  We felt a cool Asian touch in Swiss-Australian Chef Marcel Nosari (who cooked for the King of Thailand and Emperor of Japan) when tasting its lightened, well inspired specialties. Besides, the Centemani proposes a refined selection of Turkish dishes: the « Traditional Turkish Dinner Menu » gives a good idea of what the haute Turkish cuisine tastes like.

The concierge service is top-notch. The highly distinguished, Olympic trained staff, called us by our name, and could cope with any of our requests. Those flying Turkish Airlines can check-in directly at hotel reception, choosing their favourite seat in the plane hours before boarding! Five star tours can be organized: tailor-made for VIP guests. Just like private cruises over the Bosphorus, aboard the hotel boat: the 17.60 Mt « DenDen II ». We did it! Indeed well worth the trip. The crew pampered us with delicious snacks, all kind of beverage, tea, coffee, and the boat stopped where we liked for visits booked beforehand. A full day (8 hours) cruise costs EUR 1250 (exclusive of 8 % VAT), and 15 people can board at ease. Those travelling with a group of friends will find it a good value for money.


Room rates (exclusive of 8% VAT) are approximately EUR 650 for a Deluxe room on Executive level, with Bosphorus view and free access to the Executive Lounge. A Bosphorus View Junior Suite costs EUR 1250. The 14th floor « Ritz-Carlton Suite » rates EUR 6500. Breakfast is included if taken in Executive Lounge.

Askerocagi Cad. No: 15      34367 Sisli, Istanbul (Turkey)
PHONE: (90) 212 334 44 44    FACSIMILE: (90) 212 334 44 55





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