Hotel Bosphorus, Istanbul, Turkey

Four Seasons Hotel, Istanbul, at the Bosphorus, by Anna Rosa Thomae

Hotel Bosphorus, Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul’s great history is awakening. There are few cities in the world to rival the vast culture and learning of this Byzantine city, this Roman capital, this Ottoman jewel. Istanbul, once fought over for centuries, seemed to quietly retreat from global prominence. Today, it is rising in confidence and losing its shy discretion. Turkey’s largest city is a vibrant collage of East and West, of ancient culture and modern commerce.

To discover Istanbul displaying its cosmopolitan gait, stay at the 19th century Ottoman palace, now home to the Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul on the bank of the Bosphorus River. It’s one of Istanbul’s opulent waterside residences known as yalis, which are decadently sprinkled along the waterfront.

A fusion of age-old glories and a cool, contemporary 21st-century culture, Istanbul has survived more two millennia of extraordinary history and globally critical warfare. The city holds appeal for all interests – architecture, art, culture, nightlife, cuisine and rejuvenation.

Straddling the 32-kilometre (20-mile) Bosphorus Strait, Istanbul (formerly known as Byzantium, and then as Constantinople) is frequently described as the crossroads of Europe and Asia. Fought over time and again, the city became the centre of the Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman empires. Its historic heart – Sultanahmet and the bazaar quarter, with its great mosques, opulent palaces and Byzantine ruins – offers a fascinating glimpse into those tumultuous times.

Encompassing three land masses – two on the European side of the Bosphorus, divided by the Golden Horn, and the Asian shores – Istanbul is best explored neighbourhood by neighbourhood.

Arriving at the hotel, your gaze is immediately drawn to the breathtaking floral centerpieces and towards the shimmering view of the Bosphorus strait. The hotel has a 190m private waterfront – a stunning polished marble terrace, fountains and gardens, bar pavilions and a large outside heated pool and whirlpool.

Offering 170 guest rooms, including 25 suites, many with sweeping views of the Bosphorus and across the hills of Asia; the rooms feature a striking blend of Ottoman design and contemporary furnishings. Besides the breathtaking view, the elegant surroundings and impeccable service, its refined approach to the authentic hammam (Turkish bath) experience combines the traditional cleansing properties of the bath with the indulgent delights of contemporary, western treatments, making this spa a true oasis of relaxation.

Serenity, purity and cleansing embody all facets of the guest experience. The 2,100-square-metre (22,605-square-foot) facility offers 10 luxurious treatment rooms (including a private spa suite for two); steam rooms, saunas, men’s and women’s hammams and a breathtaking sky lit indoor pool. Nurturing and personal Four Seasons care ensures a relaxing, renewing journey that honours ancient Near Eastern tradition, while celebrating modern Western sophistication.

In the evening when the sun sets over the Bosphorus, the terrace is lit with flaming torches, while the illuminated Bosphorus Bridge, linking east and west, twinkles in the background and you are reminded that you will be sleeping in an alluring palace. The Roman’s tried to create a heaven on earth in Istanbul; as impossible the dream, this is a great effort. The Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul rests the body and the mind. Great for business, idyllic for play. Rest assured.

Facilities: 2 restaurants; 3 bars, indoor and outdoor pool; spa; hamam; sauna; massage; fitness room; concierge; business center w/translation services; 24-hr. room service; laundry service; dry cleaning; meeting facilities; banquet facilities; cinema; Wi-Fi and high-speed Internet; elevator.

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Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul

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