Ciragan Palace Kempinski Istanbul
The Ciragan Palace was built by the Sultan Abdul Aziz as his personal royal palace because the palace in use by his predecessors simply weren't up to his level of luxury. His penchant for all things extravagant was one of the reasons that he was eventually overthrown in 1876, but today, you can enjoy a luxury hotel experience truly fit for an Ottoman Sultan without any fears of being dethroned at the Ciragan Palace Kempinsky Istanbul.
Istanbul, sometimes called the 'city of the world's desire,' is thriving as one of the most happening cities in Europe, and the Ciragan Palace Kempinski Istanbul is its most prestiguous hotel. Located right on the magnificent Bosphorous, it offers spectacular riverside views from outdoor, furnished balconies. From the onset, you can be chauffered from the airport to the hotel on a luxury yacht, which sets the tone for the opulence you are about to be engulfed by. For a swimming experience like no other, guests can enjoy a swim in the infinity pool which overlooks the Bosphorus and gives you the feeling that you are floating along this magnificent river. All of the Palace Suites feature 42-inch plasma screen tvs, rain showers, 100% goose feather pillows and duvets, and hand woven Turkish carpets.
At 460 square meters, the Sultan Suite is one of the largest hotel suites in all of Europe. Floor to ceiling windows offer breathtaking views of the Bosphorous, while the master bedroom showcases a panoramic view of Old Istanbul. The room is decked out in authentic Ottoman style and custom-designed furniture. Not only is the master bathroom outfitted in floor to ceiling marble, it also features a unique rain shower and steam maker. Guests at the Sultan Suite, or any of the other suites, will enjoy complimentary 24 hour personal butler and concierge services, daily satellite newspapers, an open buffet breakfast, high tea buffet, and evening cocktails, and access to the hotel's expansive library of DVDs and books.
Not many cities can brag that they were the centerpiece of two different empires, but Istanbul was once known as Constantinople, the heart of the Byzantine Empire, before it became known as Istanbul, the capital of the Ottoman Empire. As such, Istanbul is steeped with history and swarming with interesting buildings and artifacts. Here, you can see the breathtaking Hagia Sofia, the 'Church of the Divine Wisdom.' Built during the Byzantine days, the Hagia Sofia is easily one of the world's most beautiful churches and perhaps Istanbul's most well-known landmark.
Than there's the Blue Mosque, which was built by Sultan Ahmet I in an attempt to surpass the grandeur of the Hagia Sofia. With its six towering minarets and tens of thousands of gleaming blue tiles, it certainly gives it a run for its money. Also don't miss the Basilica Cistern, which was built by Emperor Justinian in 532. This subterranean structure is the largest Byzantine cistern left in Istanbul, and its a great place to explore and cool off in during the summer. And than of course, there's the Hippodrome, the monumental stadium that served as the center of Byzantine life for 1000 years and Ottoman life for another 400 after that.
After immersing yourself in the rich history of this colorful region, enjoy some of the modern attractions that Istanbul has to offer. With over 4000 shops, the Grand Bazaar is almost a city within itself, so whether you want to haggle for some authentic Turkish goods or find designer clothing, there's something for everyone. Than there's the droves of hip art galleries, like Istanbul Modern, that the city's many wealthy philantropists have been opening up in recent years. The nightlife scene is absolutely pulsating. Whether you want to dance the night away in a sleek, exclusive night club, or spend it conversing, sipping beer and playing backgammon with the regulars, the Turkish nightlife scene will not disappoint. You can enjoy a quieter, more intimate evening sitting atop one of the rooftop winebars that overlook The Bosphorous. A walk across the Gala Bridge at sunset or sunrise provides unforgettable views of Istanbul, with the tops of the minarets and spires of the
cathedrals reaching up to the red and orange skies. Take a night cruise down the Bosphorous for similarly compelling views and a romantic setting.
After discovering the magic of Istanbul, we reccomend unwinding at the Ciragan Palace Kempinski Spa. In centuries past, the Ottomans were known for their Turkish baths and 'hamans' and the spa is a continuation of that decadent tradition.
With a myriad of historic attractions, coupled with today's thriving nightlife and cultural scene, there's never been a better time to visit Istanbul, and with its incredible service, unmatched luxury, and perfect location, the Ciragan Palace Kempinski is one of the most coveted place to stay in the city of two continents.
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