Walking the Nistantasi quarter of Istanbul, you might miss the St. Regis. The building sits quietly amongst the international boutique stores commonplace in Nisantasi. The hotel is sandwiched between the upscale fashion district and Istanbul’s Macka Park. As you step of the street into the lobby of the St. Regis, the traveler enter one of the most comforting and elegant accommodations in Istanbul.
The St. Regis branch of hotels traces it ancestry to the 1930s in America, a time defined by excess from likes of the Rockefellers and the Vanderbilts. The St. Regis catered to these legendary families before transforming into the modern upscale hotel of today. The hallmark of the St. Regis remains its ability to cater to the needs of its elite and refined clientele.
The Istanbul St. Regis design theme impressively combines local motifs with American 1930s luxury in an Art Deco pallet. Dark wood hallways and marble walls and floors are illuminated by gold floor lighting, harking back to the St. Regis brand image of old, 1930s, American wealth. The designer, award-winning Emre Arolat, supplements the St. Regis’ American influences with touches from Istanbul, pulling inspiration from the Nisatasi quarter in the 1920s. The tiling on the floors of the lobby and room entryways resembles the entryways of the apartments in Nisantasi.
Works from the Demsa art collection - one of the largest and finest in Turkey - decorate the walls and hallways of this hotel. The rooms, hallways and lobby display paintings and sculptures from renowned Turkish and international artists. Among the paintings, The First Lady by Fernando Botero watches over the lobby. The collection recently added five Andy Warhol pieces, one of which hangs above the reception counter at the rooftop fine dining restaurant Spago.
The rooms in the St. Regis feature art from the Demsa collection as well, and decorative “grandma’s cabinets” – glass cases with gold trim, replete with Ottoman-inspired handmade pots, dishes, and sculptures. All rooms feature a walk-in closet, a walk-in shower, and a full freestanding bathtub.
For high rollers, the Caroline Astor Suite, the Presidential Suite, and the Bentley Suite all hold unique comforts and extravagance. From the Caroline Astor Suite, guests walk from their artwork-adorned suite to stunning residential views and a partial Bosphorus view on the terrace.
The Presidential Suite, located on the corner of the building, greets guests with a panoramic view of Nisantasi, Macka Park, and the Bosphorus. The suite, among the St. Regis’ largest, has two bedrooms, and countless pieces of art from the Demsa collection. The living areas and kitchen sections fill out the space, lined with dark wood floors, floor to ceiling “grandma’s cabinets” and grey marble walls. The gold trim present throughout the hotel accentuates these features. White and black Marmara marble, unique to Turkey, encases the floors, walls, and ceilings of the bathrooms, further accompanied by gold trim.
The St. Regis’s unique suite, however, is their Bentley Suite. Designed in conjunction with Bentley Motors, it is one of only two in the world (the other Bentley Suite is located in the St. Regis Manhattan). The furniture employs the same leather used in all Bentley cars, and the couch has built-in champagne coolers – a standard feature on all Bentley cars. The bedroom and bathroom, separated by sliding glass doors, are outfitted with rich black marble, and supported by gold trim and gold lights. An extravagant ceiling fixture based on Bentley cars’ headlights and the rings of the Nuremberg racetrack, and complete with Swarovski crystals on the exterior, illuminates the bedroom.
Once finished in the rooms, the guest can expect delicious cuisine at either of the St. Regis’ restaurants. St. Regis Brasserie serves a menu of modern Turkish and French cuisine to guests outside on the street-level terrace. The hotel bar, Petit “O,” named after Fernand Petiot – a French bartender from the 1934 St. Regis, who devised the original Bloody Mary recipe – serves signature cocktails in an elegant lounge-style atmosphere.
Spago, the St. Regis’ fine dining restaurant, finds it home n the panoramic top floor. With views overlooking Istanbul, Macka Park, and the Bosphorus, and delectable cuisine, this is a serene dining experience. Spago is one of Wolfgang Puck’s signature restaurants, and one of only four in the world. The Spago in the St. Regis Istanbul is the only Spago outside the United States, and one of the hottest restaurants in Istanbul.
The St. Regis’s blend of American old luxury, Turkish styling, art, and Art Deco theme make it one of the most atheistic hotels in Istanbul. In addition to the sheer beauty of the hotel, guests can expect a unique service culture ingrained in the walls of the St. Regis. Once guests arrive, a personal butler from the staff (who speaks more than 11 different languages) caters to your every need. The staff’s service extends beyond the traditional luxurious five star hotel experience to an al encompassing, emotional luxury experience as well. This service further separates the St. Regis as one of the finest accommodations in Istanbul.
Tip: The original Bloody Mary recipe, from 1934, at the bar is sublime. Alternatively, as each St. Regis features its own local variation of the Bloody Mary, guests can try one of five Bloody Mary recipes from around the world. The Turkish version is made with Raki, the local Turkish spirit made from anise.
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