1. An artistic view of the city
Raffles Istanbul was created around the concept of “The Dream of Istanbul”, played out via its collection of 224 artistic pieces, all commissioned exclusively for the hotel. The sprawling, 27-storey property opened in 2014 and features an attention to detail usually found in boutique hotels. Elements such as lamps featuring semi-precious onyx, decorative silver jugs and artworks from local artists work together to create a surprisingly modern space – one that revels in its unmistakable sense of place.
2. A gallery in all but name
The sheer number of artworks provides a sensorial feast, with pieces populating almost every space. One such highlight is found in the lobby, which is dominated by a giant mural of Istanbul’s glittering Dolmabahce Palace by hyper-realist photographer Jean-François Rauzier that is almost 10 metres wide. Downstairs, an event space is brought to life by four artistic portraits by local artist Ardan Ozmenoglu. She depicts notable figures from Turkey’s past in dazzling strokes of pink, purple, red and green, which on closer inspection reveal themselves to be Post-it notes.
3. Best of both worlds
With a name that is a portmanteau of Istanbul and Tokyo, Raffles Istanbul’s in-house restaurant Isokyo serves an enthralling mix of two great cuisines. More impressive artwork ushers patrons inside – two figures dressed in golden Byzantine-style wraps reach for each other but come up agonisingly short of touch. Inside, the “New Asian” styling of artistic dishes is sleek but designed to let the food speak for itself – the ultra-light temari sushi, along with surprisingly delicate tempura prawn tacos, certainly fulfil the brief.
4. A room with a view
The Bosphorus Suites are designed to give the widest angle of Istanbul’s iconic waterway. Floor-to-ceiling windows on two sides accomplish that with aplomb, ably backed up by feature ceilings covered in Islamic geometrics and neutral-coloured soft furnishings, all of which combine for a light, fresh ambience. Each of the property’s 168 bedrooms is dominated by feature walls of striking artworks such as ethereal grey and purple chandeliers and prominent public buildings.