Exploring the Ottoman City and a stay at the Intercontinental Istanbul
Istanbul is clearly one of the world’s most fascinating cities. A melange of European, Arab, and Asian cultures and thousands of years at the crossroads of history have forged a destination without compare.
This mash up of influences has left in its wake a colourful kaleidoscope of artistic expression, dining pleasures, and experiences not soon to be forgotten. In the centre of it all is the InterContinental Istanbul, the ideal respite and base to take in all that the Ottoman capital city has to offer.
This modern high-rise hotel sits perched high on a hill with the Taksim Square on one side and views casting over the city’s most iconic landmark, the Bosphorus Straight. The hotel location is central and just outside the hotel’s door is Istiklal Street, the city’s renonw walking street filled with shops, bistros and a vibrant mix of things to do and see.
Also nearby is the Topkapi Palace and Sultanahmet Mosque (the Blue Mosque) and for shopping the Nisantasi and Cevahir Mall. A short distance away guests will also find the famous Hagia Sophia as well as the Grand Bazaar; two more must visit destinations when in Istanbul.
Back at the hotel, guests will find a modern day palatial respite. Through the lobby they’ll find a three storey lavish atrium with high marble columns and a dramatic circular crystal staircase spiralling to the floors above.
Throughout the property, the hotel is a show place for oriental design and culture with exquisite objects d’art from local talented artists. The elegant set of international travellers sits in the lobby having tea with friends or a business tet-a-tet arranging the next big mega deal.
The InterContinental Istanbul has 390 comfortable rooms and suites with a tasteful Turkish inspired Ottoman design and all the mod cons to be expected of a five star urban hotel. There are large windows which provide ample amounts of natural light and delicious views of the bustling Taksim Square or of the Bosphorus Strait and the barges and boats sauntering up and down the sea.
The rooms feature marble baths with comfortable sitting areas, furnishings and wall art by local artists. The Executive suites are even larger with separate living rooms and bedrooms. The Club rooms are available as well, offering exclusive access to the Club Lounge as well as complimentary breakfast and nibbles and beverages served throughout the day.
The hotel has several dining options including the Brasserie Restaurant which has an elaborate and open kitchen serving an international smorgasbord of cuisine. Breakfast is feast-like with all types of dishes from western to middle eastern dishes and everything in between. The open kitchen is buzzing as chefs scramble back and forth creating fresh goods from the bakery as well as that omelette just as ordered delivered to your table.
Safran is their signature restaurant and one of the top in Istanbul serving Turkish and Ottoman cuisine. The royal palace like setting is lavish, with fine china, linen table covers and ornate upholstered chairs. The venue is on the top floor of the high rise with cascading views around the city and Bosphorus especially at sunset.
In the evening the setting is for romance with a candlelit dinner which is why it’s also a popular venue for locals to celebrate a special occasion or for those love struck chaps looking to pop the question.
This fine dining restaurant has been recognized as providing an exceptional dining experience by the Academie Internationale de la Gastronomie. The menu is modern yet inspired by dishes from the Ottoman’s Palace as well as traditional Turkish cuisine. To add to the pleasure of the evening, and which makes the night unforgettable, is the live music with talented artists singing traditional fasil music of Turkish ballads accompanied by the oud and other traditional instruments.
Just next door, with more panoramic views of the Bosphorus and the eastern side of the city beyond the cities famed bridges and straits, is the City Lights lounge. It is a chic lounge scene with a long bar featuring talented bartenders creating a delicious menu of signature cocktails.
The food is exceptional with delicious tapas and light dishes . The venue is sexy and sultry with dramatic lighting and uber modern furniture facing the twinkling lights of the city and boats on the straits. On weekends, a live band gets the room moving with modern Turkish music. Its’ really an ideal way to enjoy a bit of Istanbul night life without leaving the hotel.
The hotel is quite large with a number of experiences available for their well-heeled guests. There is a comprehensive fitness centre and Pilates studio as well as an outdoor swimming pool.
They are also known for creating an urban oasis in their extensive facilities at the SPA InterContinental complete with eight treatment rooms and facilities including couples suites, Turkish bath/hammam, steam room and Swedish sauna. The spa provides a full range of facials, body treatments and massages.
Istanbul is an exciting city that with so much to offer today’s urban explorer. An ideal accommodation right in the middle of it all is the Istanbul InterContinental. Guests seeking to be close to the action with all the modern conveniences, accommodations, dining and facilities will enjoy a stay at this remarkable city hotel.