Built in 1863, and rebuilt in 1910, the Ciragan Palace Kempinski provides visitors to Istanbul the opportunity to sleep in the luxury of a Sultan’s palace. Positioned directly on the shore of the Bosphorus, the Ciragan Palace remains one of Istanbul’s most exquisite hotels.

As you enter the Ciragan, the main atrium greets you with Ottoman-inspired marble and tile work. Soft white and tan marble sprawls across the floors and pillars, providing the perfect backdrop for the blue, tulip-patterned tiles on the walls. The high-vaulted ceilings remind those who enter of the grandiose accommodations of the Sultans, as gold light rains down upon the soft marble.

The Ciragan consists of two hotels, the main hotel, and the connected ‘Palace section.’ The Palace section stands on a massive marble block on the shore of the Bosphorus. Built by Sultan Abdulaziz and designed by Ottoman architect Nigogayos Balyan, construction started in 1863 and took four years to compete the magnificent building. The Sultan designed the palace using Ottoman influences, and Western influences from Europe, including elements of French Baroque style. In 1910, much of the palace was destroyed during a fire. However, Ciragan Palace as it stands today, has been rebuilt to resemble its unique Ottoman styling. Guests in the palace section will stroll the hallways and rooms of the Ciragan, and feel transported back in history to the lives of the Sultans.

All suites set a new standard for luxury accommodations. Of the suites in the palace section, most are impressive duplexes; two story rooms with living areas on the bottom floor and the bedrooms above. Though not structured as a duplex, the Master suite, the second largest suite in Europe, regularly provides respite to world leaders, kings and queens, and celebrities when they visit Istanbul.

In the main hotel, some 80% of the rooms have breathtaking views of the blue Bosphorus, the Asian coast, and the lifeline between the European and Asian sides of Istanbul – the Bosphorus Bridge. The rooms showcase traditional Ottoman luxury in their design, soft blues from the furniture dance with tones of gold from the lights. The walls of the main hotel of the Ciragan Palace Kempinski are adorend with artwork donated from international galleries hosted by the palace on the walls of the hallways.

In addition to sumptuous rooms, the Ciragan Palace Kempinski has outdoor spaces that rival the luxury of its indoor spaces. Its sea-side garden provides the weary traveler a feast for the eyes. Replete with an outdoor restaurant, an outdoor pool and Le Fumoir – the Ciragan’s outdoor smoking bar. Guests may reserve “liquor lockers” with their favorite spirits at Le Fumoir.

In culinary terms, the Ciragan Palace has three restaurants. The Gazebo Lounge serves international cuisine, pastries, and sweets to guests overlooking the terrace and Bosphorus. At the Laledan Restaurant, guests will enjoy one of the fullest breakfast buffets in Istanbul, with over 200 types of food from countless different world regions. Almost all the dishes at Laledan are sourced with organic, local ingredients.

The culinary highlight of the Ciragan palace, however, is the Tugra (pronounced Tu-ra) restaurant. The fine dining restaurant, housed in the palace section, serves authentic Ottoman cuisine in one of the most romantic settings in Istanbul. The restaurant draws inspiration from the Sultans’ finest age, preparing it signature lamb dish as it was once prepared for Ottoman Sultans. The Tugra restaurant has repeatedly been named one of the 50 most romantic restaurants in the world, and the title is well deserved.

Over 300 years of history live in the walls of the Ciragan Palace Kempinski. Guests enjoy the life of a Sultans surrounded by the finest luxury. For those who wish, the Ciragan offers options for guests to arrive via car, boat, or helicopter directly from the airport. As with its long list of impressive and influential VIP clients, privacy and security are of the utmost importance to the Ciragan staff, as well as their commitment to customer satisfaction.

Tip: If price is not object, arriving to the former Sultan’s palace by helicopter is a truly unforgettable experience. Also, for a tasty quick lunch, try the steak sandwich from the Gazebo Lounge 


Cover photo courtesy of Ciragan Palace Kempinski