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Shangri-La Bosphorus, Istanbul 5.0

Istanbul, Turkey

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Review Summary

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  • Waterfront setting overlooking the Bosphorus river
  • Opulent marble interiors with impressive atrium chandelier
  • Most rooms overlook the river -- some from balconies
  • Marble bathrooms have embedded TVs and Bulgari products
  • Some of the most spacious rooms in the city
  • Indoor heated pool, hammam, and spa treatments
  • High-end Cantonese dining and afternoon tea
  • Free Wi-Fi throughout


  • Away from the main tourist attractions
  • Breakfast not included and expensive
  • No grounds or gardens
  • Some rooms overlook internal atrium

Bottom Line

The Shangri-La Bosphorus is a first-rate luxury hotel housed in a former waterfront warehouse on the European side of the Bosphorus river. Interiors are particularly lavish and rooms are some of the largest in the city -- Deluxe Rooms are especially large for an entry-level category. Dining options and leisure facilities are also top-notch and in-room tech such as TV mirrors impress. There are no grounds or gardens, however -- unlike the nearby Ciragan Palace Kempinski -- and the location is far from the main attractions of the old city. 

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Former tobacco warehouse belying high-end palatial extravagance

Opened in 2013, the Shangri-La Bosphorus is one of the newer in a growing number of luxury hotels that have been springing up in Istanbul in recent years. The hotel is housed in a former tobacco warehouse dating back to the 1920s, and the smart cream facade is austere with a stately aspect. Stepping inside, however, the scene shifts dramatically to lavish extravagance, where gilded rococo-style furnishings and leather banquettes sit primly on swathes of polished marble. A central atrium also features an impressive centerpiece chandelier of Bohemian glass that extends over two stories, while even more marble creates an elegant backdrop for palatial Ottoman-style decorative touches throughout. The mood is undeniably luxurious, with a studied opulence that some might find a little over-the-top. 


Overlooking the Bosphorus river in Istanbul's Besiktas district

The hotel is located in Istanbul's Besiktas district on the European side of the city, overlooking the Bosphorus river. The surrounding area is a buzzing and mostly modern neighborhood with plenty of shops, cafes, and restaurants within easy walking distance. The main tourist attractions of the old city however, such as the famous Grand Bazaar, Hagia Sophia, and Blue Mosque, are a good 20-minute drive away across the Golden Horn. Just nearby is the city's Maritime Museum, while the grand Dolmabahçe Palace is about 10 minutes' walk. Besiktas Ferry Port, where tour boats dock, is also a couple minutes on foot. The hotel is also a 45-minute drive from Istanbul Ataturk International Airport though it can take a lot longer with traffic.


Spacious rooms with high-end amenities and river views

Reputed as being among the most spacious in the city, the hotel's 186 rooms are decorated in smart, elegant styling with fresh light tones and traditional touches. In-room amenities are suitably high-end, and include free wired and wireless Internet, Nespresso coffee machines, and 40-inch flat-screen TVs with in-house movie channels. Bathrooms are also all marble-clad with Bulgari toiletries, heated floors, and even 19-inch TVs embedded in vanity mirrors. While many of the suites open to balconies, most rooms also feature views over the river. Lower-tier rooms overlook the internal atrium, albeit often from a French balcony. 


Fine-dining Chinese restaurant and impressive health facilities

The hotel's main restaurant, IST TOO, serves an extensive buffet breakfast each morning with range of Eastern and Western dishes. Breakfast is not generally included in the room rate and is pricey. A la carte dining is also served at this lobby-level eatery throughout the day, and there's also a Japanese sushi bar here and a lobster brunch every Sunday. The Lobby Lounge provides over 100 type of tea accompanied by harp music in the afternoon, while the hotel's signature restaurant -- Shang Palace -- offers high-end Cantonese cooking for lunch and dinner.

On-site health and leisure facilities are impressive, offering a hammam, whirlpools, and large heated indoor pool including a separate kids' pool. A state-of-the-art gym and range of spa treatments are also available -- though the gym is small and airless. A range of airport transportation options are available to guests, including limousine services; this is also the only hotel in the city to own a Rolls Royce.

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Sinanpasa Mah, Hayrettin Iskelesi Sok, No.1, Besiktas, Istanbul 34353, Turkey

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