Ciragan Palace, Kempinski, Istanbul, Turkey – Hotel Review
Housed in two buildings, the modern and the palace wings, Istanbul’s most famous hostelry, the Ciragan Palace, Kempinski fronts the Bosphorus’ lively waterfront, and offers glimpses of the Bosphorus Bridge, which connects to the Asian half of the city, in the distance. A celebrities wall attests, with photographs, to a stellar roster of the hotel’s guests, which includes luminaries such as the Prince of Spain, the King of Jordan, Hillary Clinton, Madonna, and Oprah Winfrey, among many others.
Guests here are lavished in royal treatment at every turn. It all begins upon arrival, when a reception team greets guests by name and escorts them to their accommodations for a personalized check-in. Hermes fabric-coated attaches are carried by the staffers to process credit card information and arrival documents.
Security at the hotel is tight, which is to be expected at such a high profile property, and baggage is scanned before entering the lobby. While occasional tour groups may stay here, the higher rates keep the hotel focused on mostly the business and high-end leisure travelers who expect a high level of luxury and individuality. Numerous high-end shops line the passages between reception and the palace wing. A small museum recounts the history of the building when it was once a Sultan’s home.
Guestrooms are plush with soft fabrics and carpeting. All offer free wireless high speed Internet, flat-screen-cable TVs, and spacious work desks with speaker phones and voice mail. This property is a favorite of American travelers and the complimentary bottled water and Internet are particularly appreciated. Nearly half the rooms are nonsmoking, and all are supplied with fresh fruit plates daily.
Beds are topped with crisp linens and fluffy duvets. Stacks of pillows are painstakingly remade daily, and the abundance of pillows, aromatherapy scents, and candle options adds to the feeling of royal pampering.
Bathrooms offer scented toiletries, stacks of towels and terrycloth robes, and fabric slippers placed at the bedside at turndown service. Flip flop sandals for use at the hotel’s infinity pool, which overlooks the Bosphorus, are placed on the room’s wardrobe.
ROAD WARRIOR SUPPORT
Complimentary wireless high speed Internet is available in all rooms and throughout the hotel without the need for a password. I loved lounging by the pool accessing email or even venturing farther out on the terrace by the splashing waves to enjoy the sound of boats passing by while working.
A small business center on the lobby level as well as several meeting rooms by the front desk are available. The majority of the meeting space, however, is located in the palace wing where most social and corporate functions take place. A separate entrance handles the heavy traffic of conferees there so as not to disturb guests at the main hotel wing. The business center is mostly used for printing documents and accessing the Internet.
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