Ciragan Palace: A top luxury hotel and restaurant in Istanbul
While many visitors travel to Istanbul to explore its fascinating historic sites and colourful bazaars, Ciragan Palace Kempinski Istanbul offers special appeal for culinary travellers. The luxury hotel’s Tuğra Restaurant and Lounge on the first floor of the original Çırağan Palace hosts a classic Ottoman fine-dining experience featuring specialties such as Lamb Külbastı and Testi Kebab. It’s widely considered Istanbul’s top luxury dining destination and is ideal for a culinary getaway, a wedding, honeymoon or a romantic escape. Here’s what I loved about my stay.
My spacious room on the 5th floor overlooked the Bosphorus and featured double doors that opened onto a terrace that was perfect for enjoying a morning coffee or sipping tea while watching the sun set. Each evening, a culinary treat such as Turkish Delight, was presented as an amenity which added an authentic local touch. It’s also the only hotel I’ve ever checked into where I was presented with a hand bouquet of fresh flowers. Wrapped in silk, it was a posey fit for walking down a wedding aisle so I felt very special indeed carrying it to my room.
Located in the heart of Istanbul on the European shores of the Bosphorus overlooking the ancient city,the Ciragan Palace Kempinski hotel also happens to be an easy 10 minute walk to the beautiful Ortakoy mosque. Built in 1855, this impressive building sits at the edge of the waterfront of the Bosphorus and anchors İskele Meydanıa a lively square where I happened upon a Sunday Flea market where I spent several hours browsing for souvenirs such as sachets of lavender, jewellery and hand-knitted wool mittens.
The Ortakoy Pier is one of the busiest in Istanbul and offers several restaurants, bars and food stands where you can lounge and watch the beautiful sunset. I travelled there solo, enjoyed a chilled Efes Pilsener and felt very safe even after dark.
Back at Ciragan Palace Kempinski, I explored their recently-expanded menu. A highlight of the updated menu is the introduction of gluten-free and vegetarian menu dining options at Laledan restaurant and Gazebo Lounge.
A new partnership with Ark of Taste Products is designed to offer guests unique seasonal selections during the weekly signature Sunday Brunch. The gluten-free and vegetarian options are clearly identified and are quite expansive. To further complement a fit, healthy and active vacation (and wear off the calories of too much Turkish Delight) Ciragan Palace Kempinski also features a fully-equipped fitness center, lush gardens with an outdoor pool overlooking the Bosphorus and the Sanitas spa complete with a hammam Turkish bath, indoor swimming pool and luxurious treatment rooms.
During my visit, security was evident at both check-in and on the grounds, which added a level of confidence given recent safety issues in Istanbul. For example, all visitors undergo a mandatory scan and check of bags and luggage before entering. Judging from the photo gallery, the hotel is popular among celebrities, dignitaries and royalty — Oprah, Princess Caroline of Monaco, Linda Evangelista, Robert DeNiro and Bono have all enjoyed a stay here.
The hotel also makes a fine home base for explorations of Istanbul. During my visit, I participated in a walking tour of the Old Quarter with Culinary Backstreets and highly recommend them if you’re a food lover up for a food-fuelled adventure that spans 2000 years of culinary history. During this 4-hour tour hosted by a local resident and passionate foodie, we sampled everything from pide to Konya wedding soup to kororec (a snack made of intestines and offal said to cure even the worst hangover) and met many fascinating local producers, chefs, cooks and residents along the way.
More info: Learn more about the Ciragan Palace Kempinski Palace by visiting the Kempinski Hotel website.
Cost: The price for this luxury stay is more affordable than you might expect. A quick scan on the Hotelscombined.com website for the cost for two adults for one night on the prime date of Valentine’s Day on February 14, 2017 quotes a price of $283 CAD, a discount off the rack rate of $429.
So if you’re planning a bucket list getaway, it’s worth checking the cost for Ciragan Palace Kempinski Hotel for your travel dates on the Hotelscombined.com website, a free tool that compares several hotel booking sites such as Booking.com, Expedia and Hotels.com and finds the lowest price. It might be more affordable than you think, especially since the rate often includes breakfast.
Disclosure: I was a guest of the hotel. However, my opinions are my own and they did not review this story prior to publication.
Browse for prices of the Ciragan Palace Kempinski Hotel on Hotelscombined.com where you can compare several hotel booking engines ( such as Hotels.com, Booking.com and Expedia) for the best price. It was named the World’s Leading Hotels Comparison Website by the World Travel Awards in 2016 and is where I found the best deals.
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