Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts opened the Shangri-La Bosphorus, Istanbul. The 186-room hotel is the second in Europe for the company that hails from Hong Kong. Set on the European side of the Bosphorus Strait between the Dolmabahce Palace and Naval Museum, Shangri-La Bosphorus, Istanbul overlooks the panorama of Istanbul's domes and minarets and the green hills of the city's Asian shores.
The property is located on the site of a former tobacco warehouse from the 1930s. The former warehouse has a restored, six-story Neo-Classical façade, and two carefully preserved 150- and 350-year-old Sycamore trees in the courtyard.
Inside, the Shangri-La takes design cues from the Dolmabahce Palace with swathes of marble, chandeliers and a mix of European, Asian and Turkish design. A grand staircase wends down the hotel's three-story atrium, transporting guests from the lobby to the ballrooms and other venues below.
The dome-shaped atrium is lit by natural skylight and a Bohemian chandelier that rains crystals nearly two stories. Also decorating the atrium is The Garden of Peach Blossoms, an 59-foot-tall silk painting, which was commissioned for the hotel. The hotel showcases more than 1,000 pieces of European and Asian art.
The grand lobby flows into the Lobby Lounge, where classic European bespoke furniture and plush sofas are arranged to create seating areas. The adjacent Le Bar is a jewel box set off by a stone wall and serves traditional cocktails and spirits, plus tapas and mezzes.
The hotel plays with both subtle and overt luxury. The guestrooms have teal, creme and caramel color schemes. The hotel's guestrooms are the most spacious in Istanbul (ranging from 452 square feet to 645 square feet), and the majority offer Bosphorus views. There are 186 rooms. Artists from the East and West were engaged to create unique pieces inspired by the Istanbul scenery for the guestrooms, and the bathrooms are decked in Turkish marble complete with heated floors and Bvlgari bath amenities.
Nearly all of the hotel's 17 suites have private terraces offering Bosphorus vistas. The ultimate indulgence is the Shangri-La Suite, which has three terraces overlooking the Old City, Asian shores and the Bosphorus Bridge.
On the same level as the lobby is the hotel's specialty restaurant, IST TOO. Set against the backdrop of a Bosphorus view, rose gold floor lamps and spherical ceiling pendants light the restaurant's expanse of Turkish marble and custom-made dark chocolate oak furnishings upholstered in hues of taupe, burnt orange and mineral blue. Semi-private dining enclaves are carved out by timber portals, while conker-colored leather banquettes stretch along the wall. Matching the design is an all-day dining menu of world cuisine, including Japanese, Southeast Asian, Mediterranean and Turkish. IST TOO has a sushi bar; wine salon with full-height, glazed wine cabinets; a noodle station with a Chinese chef pulling noodles; and an open kitchen.
One floor down from IST TOO is the hotel's Shang Palace restaurant, where chefs prepare Chinese cuisine. Inspired by the sculptural beauty of historical Chinese courtyard chambers, the restaurant unfolds into four contemporary dining chambers. Upon arrival, an inverted "pagoda" structure appears to float overhead. Facing the entrance, a series of curved walls composed of green hand-crafted Chinese "roof tiles" provide texture.
In the main Amber Chamber, curved banquettes and abundant bespoke glass wall lamps set off by full-height book timber shelves and antique gold metallic lattice screens are available. On the other side of the reception, the Lacquer Chamber's architectural panels glow with a deep glossy aubergine Chinese Lacquer. The setting is offset against a wall of angled blocks of solid Arabescato Orobico marble.
The hotel also has CHI, a spa with eight private spa suites offering Asian and Turkish treatments. The hotel's hammam facilities cater to both private groups and individuals. Both the spa and hammam gave Turkish tiles, water features and marble. A health club with sauna, Jacuzzi and steam rooms, and a heated indoor pool are also available to hotel guests.