The 137-room W Istanbul opened last week as part of the mixed-use redevelopment of the landmark Akaretler Row Houses in the heart of Besiktas. Constructed by Sultan Abdülaziz in the l870s to house Dolmabahçe Palace workers, the row houses have remained a symbol of the magnificence and decadence of the 19th-century Ottoman Empire. Accommodations will include simplex and duplex suites, many with their own private gardens, balconies and terraces. The best suite in the house will be the 1,830-square-foot E WOW Duplex, with a terrace overlooking the Bosphorus (the strait between the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara). Features include a kitchenette, a dining table for 10, a bar and an oversized Jacuzzi soaking tub in the master bathroom. The tech-friendly hotel offers electronic check-in, iPod docking stations, IP telephones and interactive TVs in its rooms to complete Wi-Fi access.
Along with W’s signature Living Room, where guests and locals alike can socialize, the property features Jean-George Vongerichten’s Spice Market restaurant overlooking the Bosphorus, as well as a Sweat Gym and three spa treatment rooms (products are by Estée Lauder). Visit www.starwood.com.
Kempinski Residences, Istanbul:
Travel agents who have clients headed to Istanbul for an extended stay should consider The Kempinski Residences (www.kempinski.com), which has just opened at the Kempinski Residences Astoria—a complex of residences, offices and a shopping mall in central Istanbul. This property, designed for mid- to long-term rentals, provides 24-hour concierge service, housekeeping and the ability to rent a cook or waiter. They’ll also have access to the Anantara Spa, a Turkish bath and an indoor swimming pool. It is in Esentepe, Istanbul’s business district. It’s also just five minutes from the Bosphorus and its sister property, the C?ragan Palace Kempinski.
Meanwhile, the yet-to-open Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at the Bosphorus (www.fourseasons.com/bosphorus/) is currently confirming reservations for arrival from July 1, 2008. Set on the European bank of the Bosphorus, the hotel is set in a 19th-century palace, housing 141 guest rooms and 25 suites, a 10-room spa and pools overlooking the water.