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Review: St Regis Istanbul, the city’s most luxurious hotel

Wednesday newsletters always feature a luxury hotel and/or flight review.

Today (September 30, 2015): Hotel review: St Regis Istanbul (Turkey).

The St. Regis Istanbul takes up residence in the most prestigious address in the city, the Nisantasi district, which is also known as the 5th Avenue of Istanbul. With its modernist Art Deco influence and consummate dedication to service, the hotel echoes Nisantasi’s traditons and style. This new social epicenter is the ideal luxury hotel in Istanbul for the sophisticated travelers who like to explore the sights, art, culinary and nightlife scene of this timeless city.

The St Regis Istanbul features in my top 10 lists of the most amazing city hotels in Europe, the best luxury hotels in Istanbul, the best luxury hotels in Turkey and Europe’s best hotel rooftops, as well as in my list of the most anticipated hotel openings of 2015.

In this review (more info and photos below my Youtube clip & slideshow):

  • Pros & things I like
  • Cons & things to know
  • My verdict
  • Tips for future guests & save money
  • Best time to visit
  • How to get there

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PROS & THINGS I LIKE
  • The St Regis Istanbul enjoys a terrific location in the bustling, European side of Turkey’s cultural and financial epicenter. Nestled in the heart of Nişantaşı, renowned as the “5th Avenue” of Istanbul and the city’s social center, the hotel is surrounded by Istanbul’s best designer boutiques, top-end restaurants and art galleries. The St. Regis Istanbul is also across the street of Istanbul’s green lung, Maçka Park, and within walking distance of the Bosphorus, Taksim Square, and the Istanbul Congress Center.
  • The hotel marks the Turkish debut of the legendary St Regis Hotel Group (managed by Starwood hotels), which is one of the world’s most exclusive hotel brands (and also one of my favorites).
  • The seven-floor hotel, with its aluminium and copper facade occupying a prime corner site, opened last March, making it one of the most anticipated hotel openings of 2015. Everything is brand new.
  • The sumptuous, two storey lobby is dominated by a spectacular glass chandelier, composed of hundreds glass panels that are pieced together to create a cloud-like sculpture that envelops the reception area in a warm shimmering glow. The lobby also features a magnificent high-gloss veneer wooden cabinet wall accentuated with bronze and beveled glass. Showcasing a curated selection of art objects, it is inspired by display cabinets that were commonly found in Turkish homes at the turn of the 20th century.
  • The St Regis Istanbul houses one of the greatest collection of art in Turkey, including exclusive pieces by renowned names like Fernando Botero, Sam Francis and Andy Warhol together with pieces by internationally acclaimed Turkish artist like Devrim Erbil, Bedri Baykam, all courtesy of the Demsa Collection of Art.
  • Ideally suited for the well-traveled, the hotel features 118 beautifully decorated rooms and suites that were designed by the award-winning Emre Arolat Architects. There are 9 room categories, ranging from Superior Rooms to a one-of-a-kind Bentley designed suite to the presidential suite, with all accommodations boasting a unique identity of discrete luxury, timeless elegance, and compelling grace. I stayed in a 6th floor Grand Deluxe Room during my visit, which has its own huge dressing room, a grey-striped Marmara marble bathroom, and a lovely balcony that comes with impressive views of Maçka Park and the Bosphorus.
  • Bathrooms are stocked with Remède toiletries (soap, lotion, shampoo), which are amongst the best in the hotel industry.
  • The St Regis Istanbul features Starwood’s latest in room amenity, the “Handy” mobile device, which you can take with you during your exploration of the city. It gives you access to free local calls and free Internet within the city borders. More than that, Handy is also your private city guide during your Istanbul discovery!
  • Electric blinds on the outside of the building can be brought down to shade each room in the heat of summer.
  • While in residence, guests enjoy St Regis butler service, 24 hours a day. St. Regis Butler Service has been the signature of the St. Regis experience for over one hundred years. From a forgotten travel item, to a perfectly pressed suit ready for an important meeting, to a favorite book at hand for an evening read, or a thoughtful, last-minute gift for a loved one, no request is too small or unattainable no matter the hour of the day.
  • WiFi is complimentary, as long as you have made your reservation on the official hotel or Starwood website.
  • A world away from Istanbul’s vibrant streets, the hotel’s top-notch Iridium Spa instantly transforms guests with its tranquil reception, smooth beige marble walls and soft candlelight. At the spa, three restorative, albeit small pools as well as 3 Hammans (Trukish baths) promise refined relaxation after a memorable day of enchanting city impressions. Treatments are of very high quality and not too expensive.
  • The hotel signature restaurant, Spago by master chef Wolfgang Puck, enjoys a stunning setting on the hotel’s 7th floor, spectacular rooftop: it combines stunning views towards Maçka Park and the Bosphorus with a memorable culinary experience. But you don’t have to eat there to enjoy the views: Spago lounge offers a year-round open terrace, where guests can enjoy ambient music, signature cocktails, high-end spirits and fine champagne (a prime venue for celebrity spotting in Istanbul!).
  • The hotel also has a second restaurant, The St. Regis Brasserie, which is an all-occasion dining venue that offers contemporary French cuisine with a local twist.
  • The breakfast buffet, displayed in the open kitchen of Spago, is a nice spread of fresh fruits, cold meats, and breads. There is also a menu to order hot dishes.
  • Service is impeccable, as you would expect from a hotel of this caliber. From arrival until departure, I felt pampered by the amazing staff and management. From doormen and receptionists to the housekeeping staff and the butlers, everyone is there to make your stay as enjoyable as possible. This is St Regis at its best!

CONS & THINGS TO KNOW

The brand new St Regis Istanbul is hands down the best and most luxurious hotel in Istanbul. I absolutely loved it! I could not find any cons, but you may want to know the following when you consider a stay:

  • While the hotel is ideally located for shopping and dining, it’s a 15 minute cab ride away from the key tourist sights in Istanbul’s old city (Sultanahmet), and from the Asian side of the city.
  • The breakfast buffet, although of high quality, is a bit limited for a hotel of this caliber.

MY VERDICT
  • Location: 9/10
  • Design: 10/10
  • Rooms: 9/10
  • Food: 9/10
  • Service: 10/10
  • Overall experience: exceptional: 9,4/10

TIPS FOR FUTURE GUESTS & SAVE MONEY
  • Save money: read my tips for getting the best deal at a luxury hotel like the St Regis Istanbul (and/or receive many free perks).
  • Starwood Preferred Guests (SPG) with Gold or Platinum status are well treated, with – amongst other benefits – free WiFi, complementary room upgrade (when available), early check-in or late check-out  (when available), and free breakfast (SPG platinum). Click here to read my review of the SPG program (with pros & cons).
  • Book your room on the official hotel, Starwood or SPG website to receive complimentary WiFi.
  • Read my tips for preparing your trip in time.

BEST TIME TO VISIT

The best time to visit Istanbul is September to November. That’s when the crowds diminish, the rates drop, and weather is spectacular. Peak season – summer – sees spikes in temperatures and room rates. To save money and sweat less, visit Istanbul in the spring or fall. Spring is still a little chilly, so bring a coat. The winter months tend to be rainy, snowy and cold with average highs in the 40s (around 5° C). The dip in temperatures (and thus tourism) means that you’ll find bargains on hotel rates; the budget conscious could brave the weather and visit in December or January.


HOW TO GET THERE

Istanbul is served by 2 airports and a taxi is the best way to get from each airport to the city center. Depending upon traffic, the journey from the airport to the hotel can vary from 30 to 90 minutes.

  • Istanbul Atatürk Airport is the biggest airport in Turkey, located 25 km west of the city and it served by most major full-service airlines (click here for a direct link to their websites). Check the Wikipedia page of Istanbul Atatürk Airport for a list with airlines that offer offer direct flights to Istanbul.
  • Sabiha Gökçen International Airport  is located 35 km southeast of city center and is served by some full-service airlines (e.g. Qatar Airways, Turkish Airlines) as well as European and Turkish low-cost carriers (click here for a direct link to their websites). Check the Wikipedia page of Sabiha Gökçen International Airport for a list with airlines that offer offer direct flights to Istanbul.

HOTEL EXTERIOR

HOTEL EXTERIOR

HOTEL EXTERIOR

HOTEL EXTERIOR

HOTEL EXTERIOR

HOTEL EXTERIOR

HOTEL EXTERIOR

HOTEL EXTERIOR

HOTEL EXTERIOR

HOTEL EXTERIOR

HOTEL EXTERIOR

HOTEL EXTERIOR

HOTEL EXTERIOR

HOTEL EXTERIOR

HOTEL EXTERIOR

HOTEL EXTERIOR

HOTEL EXTERIOR

HOTEL EXTERIOR

HOTEL EXTERIOR: ENTRRANCE

HOTEL EXTERIOR: ENTRANCE

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY BAR

LOBBY BAR

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

HOTEL CORRIDOR

HOTEL CORRIDOR

HOTEL CORRIDOR

HOTEL CORRIDOR

HOTEL CORRIDOR

HOTEL CORRIDOR

HOTEL CORRIDOR

HOTEL CORRIDOR

HOTEL CORRIDOR

HOTEL CORRIDOR

GRAND DELUXE ROOM

GRAND DELUXE ROOM

GRAND DELUXE ROOM: ENTRANCE

GRAND DELUXE ROOM: ENTRANCE

GRAND DELUXE ROOM: ENTRANCE

GRAND DELUXE ROOM: ENTRANCE

GRAND DELUXE ROOM

GRAND DELUXE ROOM

GRAND DELUXE ROOM

GRAND DELUXE ROOM

GRAND DELUXE ROOM

GRAND DELUXE ROOM

GRAND DELUXE ROOM

GRAND DELUXE ROOM

GRAND DELUXE ROOM

GRAND DELUXE ROOM

GRAND DELUXE ROOM

GRAND DELUXE ROOM

GRAND DELUXE ROOM

GRAND DELUXE ROOM

GRAND DELUXE ROOM

GRAND DELUXE ROOM

GRAND DELUXE ROOM

GRAND DELUXE ROOM

GRAND DELUXE ROOM

GRAND DELUXE ROOM

GRAND DELUXE ROOM: HANDY MOBILE

GRAND DELUXE ROOM: HANDY MOBILE

GRAND DELUXE ROOM

GRAND DELUXE ROOM

GRAND DELUXE ROOM: BATHROOM

GRAND DELUXE ROOM: BATHROOM

GRAND DELUXE ROOM: REMEDE SPA AMENITIES

GRAND DELUXE ROOM: REMEDE SPA AMENITIES

GRAND DELUXE ROOM: BATHROOM

GRAND DELUXE ROOM: BATHROOM

GRAND DELUXE ROOM: BATHROOM

GRAND DELUXE ROOM: BATHROOM

GRAND DELUXE ROOM: BATHROOM

GRAND DELUXE ROOM: BATHROOM

GRAND DELUXE ROOM: BATHROOM

GRAND DELUXE ROOM: BATHROOM

GRAND DELUXE ROOM: DRESSING

GRAND DELUXE ROOM: DRESSING

GRAND DELUXE ROOM

GRAND DELUXE ROOM

GRAND DELUXE ROOM

GRAND DELUXE ROOM

VIEW FROM ROOM

VIEW FROM ROOM

VIEW FROM ROOM

VIEW FROM ROOM

VIEW FROM ROOM

VIEW FROM ROOM

BUTLER WELCOME LETTER IN ROOM

BUTLER WELCOME LETTER IN ROOM

WELCOME LETTER, SNACK, AND BOTTLE OF WINE IN ROOM

WELCOME LETTER, SNACK, AND BOTTLE OF WINE IN ROOM

GYM

GYM

IRIDIUM SPA

IRIDIUM SPA

IRIDIUM SPA: HAMMAM

IRIDIUM SPA: HAMMAM

IRIDIUM SPA: HAMMAM

IRIDIUM SPA: HAMMAM

IRIDIUM SPA

IRIDIUM SPA

IRIDIUM SPA

IRIDIUM SPA

IRIDIUM SPA

IRIDIUM SPA

IRIDIUM SPA

IRIDIUM SPA

IRIDIUM SPA: THREE INDOOR POOLS

IRIDIUM SPA: THREE INDOOR POOLS

IRIDIUM SPA

IRIDIUM SPA

IRIDIUM SPA: THREE INDOOR POOLS

IRIDIUM SPA: THREE INDOOR POOLS

IRIDIUM SPA: THREE INDOOR POOLS

IRIDIUM SPA: THREE INDOOR POOLS

SPAGO RESTAURANT

SPAGO RESTAURANT

SPAGO RESTAURANT

SPAGO RESTAURANT

SPAGO RESTAURANT

SPAGO RESTAURANT

ROOFTOP

ROOFTOP

ROOFTOP

ROOFTOP

ROOFTOP BAR

ROOFTOP BAR

ROOFTOP BAR

ROOFTOP BAR

DINNER AT SPAGO RESTAURANT

DINNER AT SPAGO RESTAURANT

DINNER AT SPAGO RESTAURANT

DINNER AT SPAGO RESTAURANT

DINNER AT SPAGO RESTAURANT

DINNER AT SPAGO RESTAURANT

BREAKFAST BUFFET

BREAKFAST BUFFET

BREAKFAST BUFFET

BREAKFAST BUFFET

BREAKFAST BUFFET

BREAKFAST BUFFET

BREAKFAST BUFFET

BREAKFAST BUFFET

BREAKFAST BUFFET

BREAKFAST BUFFET

BREAKFAST BUFFET

BREAKFAST BUFFET

BREAKFAST

BREAKFAST

BREAKFAST

BREAKFAST

BREAKFAST

BREAKFAST


*** Follow me on TwitterInstagram and Facebook for a daily moment of travel inspiration ***


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