RITZ CARLTON ISTANBUL
THE ULTIMATE IN EXCEPTIONAL HOSPITALITY AND IMPECCABLE SERVICE
Ritz Carlton lobby
A stay at any Ritz Carlton Hotel or
Resort is the ultimate in exceptional hospitality and impeccable service; every
guest is treated as the hotel’s most important guest.
The Ritz Carlton Istanbul lives up to
that reputation with rave reviews; from the moment I pulled up to the entrance,
the doorman made me feel he was waiting just for me.
The Ritz Carlton Hotel and Residential
Condominiums, over looking the Bosporus Straits, in the heart of
Istanbul’s prestigious Dolmabahce quarter, is the epitome of Ottoman splendor.
Built by the famous Turkish architect Doruk Pamir, the interior reflects the
timeless tradition of Turkey’s historic legacy with a distinctive sense of Ritz
Carlton tradition. Luxurious fabrics and marvelous works of art grace the lobby,
restaurant and accommodations. Oil paintings by the modern artist Timur Karim
depict scenes from Ottoman life, historic Istanbul landmarks and images of the
Bosporus. My oversized room, with a view of the water, is reminiscent of
medieval times, decorated in the motif of the Ottoman tulip with handcrafted
furniture and carpets.
Ritz Carlton exterior
Ritz Carlton Deluxe Room
The LAVEDA SPA is a sanctuary you
don’t want to miss. Here they make the world revolve around your needs . . .
then gently slow it down, using nature’s intelligence to replace the stresses
and strains of everyday living with serenity, beauty and skin enhancing
Holistic massages like the “ Sultans Royal Six Hands Massage”, applied in synchronization by three trained therapists . . . the “ Traditional Turkish Massage” that energizes inactive muscles . . . and the “Hot Chocolate Seduction” are just a sampling of the spa menu. The afternoon of my arrival, thanks to the thoughtfulness of Public Relations Director Lara Otru, I am booked for a Traditional Turkish Bathing Hamam . . . a full head to toe invigorating and purifying exfoliation and cleaning ritual that dates back to Byzantine and Roman times. The spa’s Ottoman style octagonal shaped authentic Turkish Hamam, modeled after the 18th Century Baths of Roxelana, is a most welcomed refuge after my long flight.
The Laveda Spa
The Laveda Spa - Sultans Royal Six Hands Massage
Fatima greets me wearing a bathing suit; she will get very wet scrubbing and washing my naked body and hair with buckets of soapy water; she sends me into a eucalyptus steam room for five minutes to open my pores then leads me to the marble hamam room. She places a huge bath towel and a neck roll on the scrubbing altar in the middle of the room; I am not sure if I am going to be sacrificed or beautified. She begins by dosing my body with pans of water, then wearing somewhat abrasive hamam gloves briskly scrubs my body from head to toe; there is no time for modesty as she lifts one leg and then the other resting them on her shoulder; layers of skin flake off.; she dowses me with pans of water to wash away dead cells. When this ritual is complete, and she is satisfied with her work, she lathers my body with a mixture of lavender massage oil and bubble bath . . . more dowsing. I move to another ledge to have my hair and face washed. It leaves my skin and state of mind ten years younger and smoother. Even a few furrows in my brow have miraculously disappeared, along with my dead cells and jet lagged state of mind. Towel dried, the best is yet to come, an amazing deep tissue Turkish massage.
High Tea at the Ritz is a sweet treat; a chocolate fountain flows with skewers of fresh fruit waiting to be dipped, coffee beans are creatively displayed in glass jars; platters of meat patties and rich pastries invite tasting. I sit in the window of the intimate Rc lobby bar watching fishing boats troll; a cruise ship makes its way slowly out of the harbor headed for its next port; ferries chug across the straits; a female violinist and a pianist play a melancholy tune.
Executive Chef Marcel Nosari’s multinational culinary career spans many countries and continents, having cooked for HRH the King of Thailand and the Emperor of Japan. He oversees my farewell luncheon feast, serving a fusion of both Mediterranean and Turkish traditional and exceptional cuisine, paired with his personal selection of red and white wines.
The staff, the spa, the cuisine and the ambiance of
The Ritz Carlton Istanbul rates an A+ in
my notebook of “Unforgettable Places and Memorable Visits”. I leave behind a
hotel and a city that welcomed me into its embrace, and treated me like an
For The Ritz Carlton Hotels and Resorts reservations: www.ritzcarlton.com
For Turkish Airlines Reservations: www.thy.com or 1-800-874-8875
For info on Turkey: www.tourismturkey.org