Istanbul has its share of grand, gorgeous palace hospices, trickling with crystal clear chandeliers and bedecked with inlaid marble. So it’s stimulating to find that the Mandarin Oriental Bosphorus — for all of its understated substance — is not one of them.
Rather, the engineers at Singapore’s HBA Architecture and interior experts at New York’s Tihany Design took alleviation from a further humble kind of Ottoman casing, the traditional yali houses that line the props of the Bosphorus swash. That makes sense because its setting at the water’s edge — making it one of just a sprinkle in the megacity that have that kind of access — is one of its main selling points.
Not only is the swash beautiful and one of the most fascinating in the world, with Europe on one side and Asia on the other, but also it’s accessible. The hostel’s pier makes it easy to get downstream to the major megacity center, upstream to the fashionable Bebek neighborhood and across to the bohemian Asian side. It’s a sexier way to travel, sure, but it’s also frequently briskly than Istanbul’s business- congested thoroughfares.
That oceanfront position — in a central spot with views of both islands is one reason the hostel has been popular ever since it opened in late 2021. Marketing and public relations director Sabri Yetişen told me that it’s the best- performing hostel in the group( a distinction preliminarily held by the Mandarin Oriental Bodrum) and the most successful opening in the brand’s history.
Popular does n’t equal crowded or busy. Yetişen told me that the property — a former parking lot that needed seven times of accommodations to get the green light for hostel development — has a footmark that’s big enough for 300 apartments. rather, it has 77 apartments and 23 suites, utmost with sundecks or sundecks, the better to enjoy that view.( Eighty percent of the lodgment overlook the swash.)
Design details emphasize the relationship with the water. Apartments have polished wood and rounded corners evocative of being on a yacht, which isn’t unlike the feeling you get when you open the curtains( via a drive- button panel beside the bed, of course) and take in a view that’s generally water.
A near examination reveals further details. The lighting and wood design were executed by a French company that generally works only for private palaces. A geometric tulip motif runs throughout, a nod to the 18th- century Tulip Era of the Ottoman Empire. The hallway carpets generally a drab but busy, stain- concealing affair — have a tasteful, blue and argentine pattern that calls to mind the swash and its banks.
The minibars — actually not that mini; more like armoires are wallpapered with a design that’s used in royal caparison, and the “ tree of life ” pattern on some of the walls of the suites was inspired by the royal family.
Beyond the pleasing illustrations and comfortable features of the apartments, the hostel ticks all the Mandarin Oriental boxes — an enormous gym with natural light, snap- to- it concierge service, swish event spaces( including one meeting room that looks like a train auto on the Orient Express) and destination cafes.
They call it an civic resort, and with good reason. Indeed with its central position, it’s a quiet oasis, adjoined by public premises , shorefront walkways and a defended timber. It has multiple shorefront swimming pools. It’s also within walking distance of some of the megacity’s top cafes and escapism in the exclusive Kuruçeşme neighborhood.
Within a many months, the hostel will have four big- deal dining gests — a lot for a diminutive hostel with only 100 apartments and suites including the first Turkish village of the trendy London- born, Michelin- starred Chinese eatery Hakkasan, and a inshore fish eatery in the style of a typical Turkish tavern.
For now, the main cafes are Olea, which serves an expansive Italian menu — the burrata is a name — and Novikov, another London brand that has gained special fashionability in Moscow andSt. Petersburg for its mashup of Mediterranean andpan-Asian food. At the Istanbul village, a tasting menu can include racy edamame, baby calamari, further burrata, sashimi, California rolls and miso black cod.
It can be a lot. But in a megacity that prides itself on being the crossroads of the world, where Europe and Asia meet and where people from each over have historically passed through on their way nearly differently, it makes a kind of perfect sense.