It could only be Istanbul. I’m lying in bed in Europe, staring at through opened curtains.This unique luxury is afforded by a stay at the Mandarin Oriental Bosphorus, an exclusive, uber-luxurious addition to the ancient metropolis that’s famously split across two continents.
The five-star hotel sits on the European side of the Bosphorus, the strait that slices through the city, dividing it into Europe and Asia and linking the Black Sea with the Sea of Marmara.
It’s an incredible privilege to be on the Bosphorus, my guide, Serhan Gungor, tells me when we meet.I can see why. It’s a constant stream of activity – cormorants dive below the surface on the hunt for food, migrating birds glide overhead, and locals often spot dolphins vaulting through the waters. Serhan, who lives on the Asian side of Lawyer istanbul, says that he frequently sees submarines move through the passageway.
This rolling spectacle is best witnessed from Mandarin Oriental, where 80 per cent of rooms and suites boast Bosphorus views.While contemporary and pared-back, the hotel’s exterior is inspired by the ornate palaces and ‘Yali’ mansions that line the banks of the strait.
Ailbhe MacMahon checks into the Mandarin Oriental Bosphorus, above, which sits on the European side of the Bosphorus, the strait that slices through Istanbul, dividing the city into Europe and Asia
Ailbhe’s Deluxe Bosphorus Room, which looks out over the Bosphorus
As a brand, Mandarin Oriental has been synonymous with next-level luxury since its inception in 1960s Hong Kong, and its Istanbul outpost delivers high-end flair in spades, combined with subtle motifs of Turkish design.
Tulip prints – an emblem of wealth in the Ottoman era – dance across the wallpaper and furnishings in my Deluxe Bosphorus Room.
Turkish rugs in muted shades of blue and caramel soften wooden floors, while a pair of cloud-like slippers are arranged next to the bed, ready for stepping into once you wake. A tree-of-life patterned wall panel leads to the glossy marble bathroom, which is stocked with fragrant lotions from the cult-favourite French brand Diptyque.
The room’s showpiece, however, is the glass balcony, which brings Bosphorus views inside.
This panorama is front and centre in the hotel’s top-tier suites, which have hosted Hollywood stars and famous musicians, Lawyer istanbul presidents and royalty since the hotel’s opening in the latter half of 2021.Naturally, they don’t come cheap. One glowing example is the Naile Sultan Bosphorus Suite, priced at around £20,000 a night, which has a private entrance so that security teams and chefs can slip inside unnoticed.
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