5 Reasons To Stay At Mandarin Oriental Bosphorus Istanbul

There are plenty of luxury hotels lining the waterfront of the Bosphorus, the key trade link that bridges the Mediterranean and Black Seas. Among these, Mandarin Oriental Oriental Bosphorus stands out for being on the other side of the Bosphorus Bridge. As expected for a Mandarin Oriental, the traditional Asian hospitality and signature elegance of the brand is notable from the moment you drive down the fountain-lined entrance. These are the top five reasons to consider a stay at the Mandarin Oriental Istanbul to assure the best experience in Turkey’s biggest city.

The views

hotelThis location is not in the heart of the city center, something for which the property is proud. Traffic and constant frenzy can be cumbersome for tourists when trying to get around, and this hotel’s position on the waterfront in a quieter neighborhood on the other side of the bridge gives it an advantage.

Bosphorus-facing hotels have plenty of gorgeous views, but many rooms may face the street or gardens given the shape of most buildings. Here, there are no parking lot or street views. Instead, rooms without a Bosphorus view overlook an idyllic forest on the hillside behind the hotel. Next door is a local park. It is a short 15-minute walk to Ortakoy and just a bit longer to Besiktas, but taxis and Ubers in the city are dirt-cheap.

hotel roomWhat wins guests over here are the fact that almost all rooms have a balcony, and a significant majority (due to the building’s E-shape) look toward the active waterway. If you have not stayed in a Bosphorus hotel, this is a bucket list experience for the entertainment factor alone.

The hotel’s impressive array of restaurants occupies prime real estate along the waterfront maximizing those world-famous views. Also well positioned: the seasonal swimming pool gives guests the option for shade or Turkish sun while surveying the active waterway.

The food

Restaurants at this hotel could be its call to fame. Recently opened, Hakkasan Istanbul has made the kind of splash that only a waterfront hotel can. Reservations are a must at this well-known eatery where Cantonese recipes are delivered with flair and attention to detail. The waterfront tables are hard to come by unless you know the right person.

Other options here include Novikov, which opens for breakfast offering one of the most beautiful buffet spreads on the Bosphorous. Bowls of colorful olives, trays of local cheese, and more bread and pastry options that one can realistically consume are all on display. Fresh vegetables, fruit and savory dips are also part of the offer. The culinary team takes great pride in the presentation of the buffet. You will often see them repositioning items and even spritzing vegetables with water to keep them looking Instaworthy.

Later in the day, the restaurant serves a fusion of Italian and Asian food. At Olea, the menu fully focuses on Italian cuisine making it the only hotel on the Bosphorus with a dedicated Italian menu. Room service follows suit with the dishes from each of the restaurants, but the talented concierge team can point guests in the direction of some of the city’s best restaurants. During my visit, I asked them for the top recommendations for a manti (Turkish ravioli) restaurant, and they knew immediately where to go, when and what to order. It was truly impressive.

The spa

Quickly, this spa has become a favorite of locals for its subterranean oasis away from the hustle and bustle of Istanbul. Its indoor pool is long enough to swim laps, but also has its own whirlpool and relaxation areas. Before or after any treatment, guests can use the sauna and steam room facilities or even book a session in the private hammam area.

The team here is hyper-focused on delivering comfort and relaxation, which has helped it to become so popular with the city’s elite. Many of the massage therapists were trained in Thailand. There is also an impressive health club with fitness facilities that draw local membership. Not only are there personal trainers and workout classes, but also the ability to access it 24 hours a day with a  room key.

The room comforts

Mandarin Oriental often takes the traditional guest room to the next level. It goes beyond cushioned mattresses with bedside power outlets hidden away in drawers. Here, guests are treated to constant top ups of bottled water by the turndown staff team and fruit baskets that see new additions each day.

Hardwood floors with area rugs are the norm. Tall, cushioned headboards offer plenty of space to read in bed, which is a pleasure for rooms facing the Bosphorus. Marble bathrooms showcase wide vanities with Dyptique toiletries in take-away tubes for lotion, but pump bottles for shower options.

All guests are treated to a welcome spread of fresh fruit, and those in premium rooms and suites enjoy the service of a private butler. My wonderful butler, Batuhan, tended to all of my requests including changes to my airport transfer and meal times. It made everything so much easier than having to call every time I needed something.

The creativity

Management here is always thinking of something new to help the property stand out. During our visit, a gorgeous floral display filled the lobby for Chinese New Year. In the works are a new water shuttle to bring guests directly from the hotel to the tourist center by boat without charge. Those that want to book their own private tours can be picked up directly at the hotel’s own dock. Each month, the hotel hosts cultural and art events that are well-attended by the city’s elite. Art and Turkish culture are key to the hotel’s success both for international guests as well as a local audience. As you wander the hotel’s lobby areas, numerous retail venues showcase local designers selling everything from fashionable clothing to home goods.

Those who enjoy tea have plenty of options here including the bespoke blend made just for the hotel. The Mandarin Cake Shop offers these as well as freshly made pastries and bakery items each day.

One thing is for sure. Mandarin Oriental Bosphorus Istanbul is true to the brand and its signature levels of the best service. Istanbul is home to almost every luxury brand and hotel name. But, Mandarin Oriental impresses in a spectacular location with more water-facing rooms setting it apart from the competition.

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Ramsey Qubein

Ramsey Qubein is a freelance travel journalist covering hotels, cruises, airlines, and loyalty programs from around the globe.