discover the bosphorus | the peninsula istanbul

The Peninsula Hotels has expanded again, claiming its place on the Bosphorus Strait with its newest location: The Peninsula IstanbulSituated on the waterfront in the heart of the harbour district of Karaköy, the feeling of luxurious comfort radiates through all four buildings, welcoming you whether you are arriving from land or sea. The coveted location boasts exquisite views of the waters of the Golden Horn, the Hagia Sophia, and the historic Galata Tower, and has you constantly in awe throughout your stay. From the moment you walk into the lobby, the stunning architecture, mix of traditional and modern interiors, and world-class hospitality greet you with open arms—and make sure you are catered to throughout your stay. 

Having been developed in collaboration with an array of talented Turkish creators and designers, The Peninsula Istanbul is the epitome of East meets West. Embracing the city’s culture and history is Zeynep Fadillioglu, an internationally acclaimed interior designer who worked on the interiors of the hotel. In conversation with Schön!, she spoke about her upbringing and growing up overlooking the Bosphorus Strait, something that directly influences her work. “[My childhood home] had all this Venetian character.” “My grandfather had incredible chandeliers […] and my uncle had an Ottoman art collection, […] so I found myself designing with the mixture that you had in Istanbul because [it’s] both Constantinople and Ottoman.” Her style is one of fearlessness, as she plays with colours and textures while referencing her culture—and that of Istanbul. An immense amount of love and care went into the design, which is evident as you walk through the hotel.

Chosen by The Peninsula Hotels’ parent company, The Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels, Limited’s COO, Peter Borer, Fadillioglu worked alongside a team to design interiors that felt modern, cultural, and of course, true to The Peninsula’s image. With a very unique set of buildings that became the hotel, Fadillioglu had her work cut out for her. “I had four buildings of different periods, owned by different families over generations, which were supposed to be upgraded to today’s lifestyle.” “We tried to connect them with a certain look, which wasn’t a designed hotel look, rather than like a home—a look with an understanding for needed comfort and definitely not a copy-paste culture.” From the overwhelming sense of opulence in the lobby to the homely feel of the guest rooms, she did just that.

On juggling The Peninsula’s style and Istanbul’s culture, she said, “The Peninsula managing team wanted us to bring in the local crafts and the lost arts,” “They wanted us to work with Turkish artists together with international experts in their crafts, so this gave another dimension to the hotel.” When approaching a project with immense responsibility, she knew that she had to truly understand the client and their vision for the hotel. “In this case, I was lucky because The Peninsula […] has this hotel culture which they know very well, […] so they gave me a brief that I had to be very careful with.”

In that brief, Fadillioglu got a strong sense of the hotel’s values. “The spirit of The Peninsula is both about heritage and understated luxury. Until now, […] luxury has been defined as over ornamentation, whereas in The Peninsula, it is understated—it’s about the story, execution, and hospitality.” This atmosphere is present wherever you find yourself in the hotel. The staff are the cherry on an already exquisite cake, making you feel like the most important guest.

From the 177 beautifully ornamented guest rooms to the plentiful amenities, The Peninsula Istanbul feels not only incredibly luxurious but welcoming. From the second you step foot into the hotel, the wonderful staff and vast lobby invite you in, treating you to an exceptional stay. Referencing the Galata Tower, the rooftop Gallada restaurant combines traditional Asian landscaping (common in The Peninsula Hotels) and native Turkish fauna and flora. Award-winning landscape architect Enzo Enea worked on the entire landscape of the hotel, including the rooftop restaurant, making sure to plant pomegranate trees on the terrace. Not only are the views amazing, but the food is too, especially with Fatih Tutak—the only two-Michelin star chef in Turkey—serving Turk-Asian cuisine. 

The spa, however, is on another level. With marble as far as the eye can see, the facility provides a calm, elegant, and luxurious environment, helping you abide by The Peninsula’s philosophy, Life Lived Best. Whether you choose to embrace that philosophy by lounging around the pool all day or treating yourself to a spa treatment, you are sure to feel completely relaxed in your surroundings. 

When asked about her favourite room to design, Fadillioglu struggled to choose, but mentioned the breathtaking Yali (which translates to ‘sea mansion’ in Turkish) Ballroom. “[The ballroom] is the nearest ballroom to the water in town and you’re [surrounded by] the Topkapi Palace and the Hagia Sophia, and at the same time, the ever-changing landscape of the Bosphorus with all these shapes and boats passing by. So, we framed [the ballroom] with an incredible setting.” With high ceilings and breathtaking light fixtures, the ballroom and view compete for your attention.

With all of this—and more—to discover at The Peninsula Istanbul, it’s not far-fetched to claim the hotel provides the best views, hospitality, and design on the Bosphorus Strait. From the moment you step foot into the hotel—and even before—you will feel an overwhelming sense of peace that is carried through your stay, ensuring you’ll never want to leave.

For more information on The Peninsula Istanbul, visit their website and Instagram. To learn more about Zeynep Fadillioglu, visit her website and Instagram.

images. The Peninsula Istanbul
words. Amber Louise

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