The hotel is attached to a luxury shopping mall called the Zorlu Center
While posh, this neighborhood is somewhat sedate
Parking on site
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Opulent, ultra-mod newcomer overlooking the Bosphorus with a rooftop cinema, lavish spa and Michelin-starred chef
The Istanbul luxury hotel scene’s proliferation continues apace, and this glamorous 185-room newcomer is one of the most high-profile additions. Set on the fashionable European side of the city in the neighborhood of Beşiktaş, with views over the mighty Bosphorus, Raffles adds a certain Asian-style élan to the white-hot scene. The hotel is located at the heart of the Zorlu Center, a kind of modern-day bazaar showcasing high-end fashion and with a state-of-the-art performing arts center. The opulent interiors were designed by Hirsch Bedner Associates and while the vibe tends towards the mirror, marble and gilt style, there’s also a distinctly Turkish flavor here in the Ottoman and Byzantine-inspired textiles and colors and the outstanding collection of specially-commissioned artworks, many by Turkish artists. The spa is a standout, a mini-universe of luxe pampering that includes four pools, saunas and steam rooms, along with jacuzzis, hammams and relaxation areas galore. The dining scene, meanwhile, takes guests from Catalan, Spain — chef Sergi Arola’s key regional influence — to the Mediterranean, at Rocca, where the dishes have a Turkish spin. There are also three bars, including the atmospheric Writer’s Bar, along with a summertime terrace bar called Lounge 6 on the 6th floor.
In the Area
Slip into your fanciest outfits for a night out at the Zorlu Performing Arts Center, Europe's largest, which will host everything from Broadway musicals to opera in a dramatic space. While at Zorlu, discover homegrown Turkish fashion talent like Sevan Bıçakçı, whose stunning jewels are like museum-worthy works of art; swanky-meets-preppy menswear at Abdullah Kiğılı; and a host of both established and hard-to-find names at Beyman, a branch of Istanbul's famous department store. Pretend you own the place when you visit the extravagant, ornamental neo-classical pile known as Dolmabahçe Palace, a castle built by Sultan Abdül Mecit I on the shores of the Bosphorus, then join the well-heeled demi-monde at Vogue, a popular restaurant offering swell views over the water.