Arrival/Check-In: Before my trip to İstanbul, whenever someone asked where I was staying and I named Çirağan Palace Kempinski, I was met with the same reply, “That’s the best place to stay in İstanbul!” Now, after my stay, I can say with confidence to another traveler to the Turkish city that the hotel definitely will not disappoint. After an overnight flight from New York, having a personal check-in at a little desk off to the side was much appreciated. After a few minutes of paperwork, I was en route to my Bosphorus-view room, ready to catch two hours of rest and relaxation before dinner that evening.
Guest Quarters: The view delivers a peaceful atmosphere to the room. It was the first thing I noticed upon entering, and the ample balcony allows guests to spend time enjoying the vista. To the right of the entrance the large bathroom features a number of amenities and a significant amount of vanity space. The toilet and bidet are in a separate room. A warning: The large step up into the tub/shower could be problematic for some; however, the mounted showerhead offers great water pressure, unlike other showers found in European hotels.
A wall of closets to the left of the entrance offers more than enough space for hanging clothes or storing items. The king-sized bed seemed larger — and more comfortable — than most. With two nightstands, a desk and an armoire/dresser, guests do not need to worry about running out of space or outlets. The flat-screen TV mounted on the wall across from the bed offers several English-speaking channels of all varieties. A sitting area includes two chairs with a small table.
Services/Amenities: The historic hotel houses guestrooms in the former Ottoman palace area of the property. Even if your guestroom is not located there, be sure to check out the exquisite surroundings and read up on the hotel’s history.
Four dining outlets include the fine-dining Tuğra, Gazebo Lounge, Bosphorus Grill and Laledan Restaurant, where guests can enjoy a sumptuous breakfast buffet daily. The luxury spa’s traditional hammam is only one of the highlights, and the facility also includes a top-of-the-line fitness center (open 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.), an indoor pool, a sauna and whirlpool and a heated outdoor infinity pool. Add to the deluxe guestrooms and amenities the stellar location, and it all makes for one memorable stay.
The Experience: The true star of my stay at Çirağan Palace Kempinski was the staff. I’ve never experienced hospitality quite as I did throughout Turkey, and the hotel was no exception. From start to finish, the staff was pristine, helpful, friendly and genuinely happy to be at guests’ service.
[item check=yes]Less than 10 minutes for check-in[/item]
[item]Separate tub and shower[/item]
[item check=yes]Large vanity[/item]
[item check=yes]High-quality towels[/item]
[item]Powerful, unattached hair dryer[/item]
[item check=yes]High-quality bed linens[/item]
[item check=yes]Large, flat-screen television[/item]
[item check=yes]Large desk with convenient outlets[/item]
[item check=yes]Large, complimentary laptop safe[/item]
[item check=yes]Complimentary in-room WiFi[/item]
[item check=yes]Complimentary bottled water[/item]
[item check=yes]Stocked minibar[/item]
[item check=yes]Ample lighting[/item]
[item check=yes]Iron and ironing board[/item]
[item check=yes]On-site restaurant[/item]
[item check=yes]24-hour room service[/item]
[item]24-hour state-of-the-art fitness center[/item]
[item check=yes]Turn-down service[/item]
Çirağan Palace Kempinski
Çirağan Caddesi 32
tel 90 212 326 4646
Though air travel slowed as airports temporarily closed and borders shuttered to stifle the spread of coronavirus, the airline industry — led by oneworld alliance member airlines — enacted enhanced protective measures to reduce risk and protect passengers.
I had just taken off my sandals, stepping onto the white-sand beach for a late-morning walk to a secluded spot I heard about from a front desk clerk, when I glanced down and saw the time on my phone. It had just turned 11 a.m., which meant it was only 7 am back home, the perfect time to call and say good morning to by husband before he left for work. Not quite ready to head back to my room, I decided I’d test the WiFi signal and made the call as I continued walking toward the shoreline.
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