Istanbul is a city we have been to several times but still continue to find wonderful places to stay. If you are looking for an Istanbul hotel that has the highest levels of luxury and plenty of history, the Ciragan Palace Kempinski will be waiting for you in all its glory. The hotel is attached to the Ciragan Palace which has a long and illustrious history. You can actually cross the connecting corridor to read about all the Sultans that have lived there along with great photos of the Palace from back in the day.
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Where is Ciragan Palace Kempinski Istanbul located?
Located on the shores of the mighty Bosporus River in Istanbul, the Kempinski is situated in the Beşiktaş neighbourhood, an area known for its cuisine and rich history. The Hagia Sofia and Blue Mosque are 15 minutes taxi ride away and the Galata Tower a short 5 minute taxi if there’s no traffic. Karakoy, which is a lovely place to walk around, is a 10 minute walk away and is a great way to spend the evening getting food, drinks, shisha and do some people watching.
Getting Around from the Ciragan Palace Kempinski
The hotel offers several options for getting around. They have taxi drivers on standby who offer ridiculous great rates for Kempinski customers. If you want to brave it, there are buses and a train system at only a 200 meters walk and they go everywhere in the city. Istanbul is known for its crazy driving and hectic roads so let someone else deal with that while you are in the back seat 😉 .
Dining at the Kempinski Istanbul
Even though we have raved previously about the high quality of street food in Istanbul (and make sure you try it all out) we were keen to try out what food the hotel could offer. The Bosphorus Grill was where we went for our dinner as it was a summer special. We always recommend you to try the special culinary evenings the hotel you stay at has in plan as they are most of the time great experiences.
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For our Bosphorus Grill dinner, we had a buffet full of local delicacy dishes. We sat on the balcony overlooking the Bosphorus river as the sun was setting. We ordered a bottle of house white to go with a fresh warm bread and delicious olive oils. The waiter then bought us over some cold mezze, our fresh oysters we ordered and other great local dishes we got from the buffet. There are several stations, you can walk up to each with their own individual chef to cater for you. There was Turkish bread filled with meat, cheese and whatever you wanted to eat. Seafood station, salads, cheese platters, meats, everything you need! Our personal favourite stations were the kebabs, dessert bar and meat station … we just kept going back and forth grabbing what we liked as the breeze from the water kept us cool.
Breakfast at the Kempinski Istanbul is delicious although we though was less choice than we expected. Although, we believe breakfast shouldn’t be a huge buffet neither and have what you need to have a complete breakfast to start the day. We absolutely love the Turkish twist to the whole breakfast. If you fancy some bubbles for the morning, they sure serve some along many selections of juices to mix with. There is a lactose-free section with quite a good array of delicious dishes.
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If you want to try some Turkish fine dining, you can go to Tuğra restaurant. Make sure to make a reservation prior!
Facilities at the Ciragan Palace Kempinski Istanbul
While in Istanbul, we had to hit up the fitness facilities daily. While the weights were not too heavy, we were still able to use the ample machines to create a great full workout. There is plenty of space to stretch and work out, but we can’t see this gym with over 10 people, it would feel quite busy. They also provided us with water and some apples as well, something we usually expect at good hotel gyms. What we recommend you is to book a good spa or Hammam after to clean it all up!
The Kempinski has an infinity pool which overlooks the Bosphorus River and the hundreds of boats that pass by every day. There are plenty of sunbeds for the guests and the service at the poolside bar was efficient and the drinks were tasty. We absolutely love the sunbeds overlooking the Bosphorus itself, it makes you feel like you own the palace by the water!
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I needed to get my hair cut so I made sure to visit the resident hair salon as we received good feedback about it. Just a little note, they do not speak too much English, but was able to get my hair cut and coloured the right way without a sweat in communication! It was not super cheap (compared to the rest of Istanbul), however, it was very convenient with our limited time frame to get the haircut done at the hotel itself.
Rooms at Ciragan Palace Kempinski Istanbul
We were treated to a King Deluxe Room which had more than enough space for us two and could’ve had easily space for another person. The bathroom is very spacious and there was a front entrance we could throw down all our bags with space to move. Our balcony had a great view looking over the pool and the river. The mini bar is complimentary and refilled daily, something that not many hotels do anymore. You can check out the prices on Kempinski’s website, Booking.com or Agoda.
Sustainability Ciragan Palace Kempinski Istanbul
We were so happy to have a hotel that was making a conscious effort to reduce its plastic bottle waste. All the bottles in our room were made of glass and we could order as many as we like without hurting the environment. The linen is also only changed on when we request it. It is great to see more and more hotels going green for the good of the environment.
Our experience at Ciragan Palace Kempinski Istanbul
There is so much history at the Ciragan Palace Kempinski Istanbul. The palace site itself was first built on by nobles in the 1500’s and went through several royal members and government leaders. In 1910 it was gutted due to a fire and was left unused for 80 years. The grounds were kept running as a public pool and sports ground. But that is not the best bit about the hotel: the famous local football team trained there on the grounds in the 1970’s (the ground is now where reception is standing). The F&B manager grew up going to the pool and football grounds and here he is working on the same territory he spent his childhood! At reception, you can enjoy wall after wall many frames of all the famous people that have stayed or been to the Palace. Count on that list Ronaldo, Robert De Niro, countless fashion designers, Madonna, Prince Charles, the King of Spain, Angela Merkel and even Vladimir Putin. It is all these things that make up a memorable experience. We also had a really good challenge for the Concierge team that are very much friendly and one of the most helpful we have ever experienced. They were absolutely willing to go the extra mile even when we were requesting really unusual things like ringing up a garage, helping us pay car fines and receiving packages from UK that we shipped to the hotel.
DISCOVERY Loyalty Black Member Experience
After driving for 2 weeks every day for sometimes 12 hours at a time, we needed a break. Being DISCOVERY Loyalty members, which all Kempinski hotels are part of, we used our points to unlock a resting experience which was the traditional Turkish Hammam. We were all set to experience the Pasha Spa package. It wasn’t like the other Hammam’s we’ve been to. It was like nothing we had experienced before. The scrub down starts with you lying down on a marble stone while the helpers exfoliate you while splashing buckets of warm water all over your body. Normal Hammam baths are public and there are several others lying in the stone with you. We had the luxury of just us there so it as a lot more personal. After an exfoliation, they massaged us and relaxed us. It was an unusual feeling at first but it was so soothing and thorough. After the massage, they created “foam blankets” made from soap suds, now this is something we had never experienced before but it felt like a real blanket. The soap was then used to wash and clean us, making our skin brand new and soft. To finish off, we were shampooed and conditioned, all while buckets of water were being splashed over us to clean us.
Signing up to DISCOVERY Loyalty it is really worth it if you are like us and check-in a lot at Luxury Hotels. The Global Hotel Alliance has many independent luxury groups such as Kempinski and it is totally worth it to get it to benefit from the advantages. The best part of it is that it’s not based on the amount you pay on a room, but on the number of times you stay at these places. Make sure to check it out on our article about the rewards scheme.
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