The Peninsula Istanbul is one of the newest hotels to open in the city, and this luxury property has both a historic and commercial importance to its location at Galataport, the new cruise port for the city. This is not just a cruise port, but also a dining, shopping and cultural hub for locals that has drawn buzz from around the world.
Located in four buildings along the Bosphorus, the hotel is very special since it took a derelict cruise port area and gave it new life as a destination for locals and travelers. The main lobby and restaurant of the hotel are within the former customs hall of the cruise terminal, and all of the historic elements of the buildings were maintained. General manager Jonathan Crook explains why this is one of the best new hotel openings for Istanbul in years.
How is the hotel changing the hospitality scene in Istanbul?
Istanbul has always been on our list as a city in which Peninsula has wanted to develop a property. The combination of an incredible location, Turkish hospitality and heritage buildings have helped bring up the levels of hospitality to (what we hope is) a new level providing further spotlight to the European-Asia edge in one of the world’s greatest cities. The location is fast-becoming an important cultural hub, too, with the hotel, part of an investment project of BLG Capital, as an anchor tenant.
Peninsula properties are well-known for attention to detail, and of course, the signature bell staff that wear their iconic white hats and help guests as they enter the hotel.
What is one of your favorite features of the property?
There are so many special spaces in which you stop and go “wow, that is truly spectacular.” One is the incredible 25-meter swimming pool along the water, and the other is GALLADA restaurant with its 2-star Michelin chef Fatih Tutak providing Turk-Asian cuisine overlooking the Bosphorus.
The new restaurant has already created quite a splash in town with reservations hard to come by, made even more special for the outdoor terrace, live music and Bosphorus views.
Is the hotel art and photography local?
The hotel is designed by Zeynep Fadıllıoğlu with a look that is both contemporary and respectful of the heritage buildings. Çağla Saraç, our art consultant and curator, curated a contemporary art program and commissioned work by some of Turkey’s finest artists to fill the space. At the same time, we have been privileged enough to have access to the Ara Güler photograph library, and this artwork can be seen throughout our guest corridors which were mostly photographed within the Karaköy area, creating a sense of time and place within the hotel.
What are some of the touches that make a Peninsula property unique?
The Peninsula has a 150-year heritage of family ownership. With only 12 hotels, it’s taken an average of 15 years to develop each new property. Guest rooms show an attention to detail that is impeccable from the housekeeping service delivered twice daily to in-room amenities you won’t find at other luxury hotels like a nail dryer in the walk-in closet.
This begins to tell the story of the passion and the exceptional leadership through our chairman and how our staff members truly engage to ensure our guests are pampered and well looked after everywhere.
Ramsey Qubein is a freelance travel journalist covering hotels, cruises, airlines, and loyalty programs from around the globe.