Whispers of perfection at the authentically inspired Shangri-La Istanbul
With a location second -to-one, right on the Bosphorus and steps from all major downtown Shangri-La Istanbul has established itself as a favorite venues both for local patrons as well as foreign travelers. Adjacent to Besiktas Square, the classic building (formerly a tobacco factory) which oozes the vibrant merchant life of the city but also right on the corner of the ferry station which take passengers several times per day, across the Bosphorus across the Asian side of the city. The energy lend by the location and watching the world go by from your room is magic.
As a rather frequent visitor to Shangri-La, I was in, yet for another surprise upon my welcome at the airport. The exquisite discreet personalizatio elements of the custom made dark green Rolls Royce can make up even for the busiest traffic (I was fortunate to reach the hotel in less than 40 minutes).
Upon descending from my Rolls Royce, I was moved by the extremely warm and genuine welcome – almost as being welcomed home and hugged by your friends and family. The good-will and strive to serve compensated for the lack of proficiency by some of the staff. It is probably for the first time since 8 years of my last visit that I could notice significant changes in customer service. The slow-down of Turkey’s economy must have played an important part, employees appreciating more their workplace.
Shangri-La expertise should not be played down either! It is after all a long standing luxury hospitality group which has produced some exceptional properties around the world, which are among the top 3 in the respective cities: Tokyo, Paris and Beijing – to name but a few.
The highlight of the the opulent public spaces adorned with large Bohemian chandeliers, is a large atrium, which runs down a spiral staircase. Although to many this may seem ”overwhelming” I found this elegant and overt luxury in perfect tune with the lifestyle of the locals.
The ultra elegant and I may say decadent ballroom adorned with while marble and adorned with the finest glass chandeliers performed a spectacular transformation during my stay, for a high profile wedding. Hours before the wedding, I discovered a fairy winter tale decor, which one could easily compare with any heritage palace. I did not attend the wedding but given the larger number of attendees but also the fact the hotel was running a high occupancy, everything went smoothly and always felt under control.
My only slight disappointment was the SPA which boast exceptional facilities however their is major room for improvement in service – from attending various parts or the SPA, guest relations (reception) and the knowledge of the Spa products. And what an amazing brand their feature – ILA, from the UK, which I learned will soon spend more time on training and introducing new treatments.
To soak in as much of my fantastic Bosphorus views from my duplex suite, I ordered by fine dining from Shang-Palace in room. It was blissful! Service again left me speechless, especially how the waiter set my table in my bedroom. During your stay, make sure you try IST TOO
IST TOO sources the best products of Turkey blending Asian and Meditereranean cuisine. The creative menu is complemented by a stylish atmosphere, complete with fantastic views of the Bosphorus Strait. Your dining experience is further enhanced with IST TOO’s noodle puller, Japanese sushi bar and grill station.
I was also priviliged to try out Istanbul’s most sought after brunch, the Lobster Brunch. It is the only hotel which introduced such a lobster brunch and since its launch less than a year ago it is equally packaged by locals and foreigners. Besides service, the quality of food is impeccable, whether at breakfast, lunch or dinner.
But probably the most impressive memory that will stay with me will be the team / family of the SHANGRI-LA Istanbul who could not make friends. Their YES , CAN DO attitude will make a major different in the already oversupplied luxury hotel market in Istanbul.
Perfect for: business travelers, couples on honeymoon, weekend breaks, weddings, large functions
Dedicated photo gallery: Facebook; Video preview duplex suite here
Oliver Petcu in Istanbul