Raffles Hotel Istanbul

The Raffles Hotel Istanbul is the epitome of what a luxury hotel should be. The Raffles Hotel Istanbul is one of only 11 Raffles properties around the world and only the second one that I’ve stayed in (Singapore was the other). I was floored by how awesome my stay was.
Raffles Hotel Istanbul, Raffles, Luxury, travel, Turkey, lobby
It wasn’t just because of the stunning design and unparalleled luxury or even my amazing wraparound suite or divine massage at the spa; it was the personal touches that made the stay. It was emotional luxury that sets the Raffles Hotel Istanbul apart in my book and why I would stay there again and again.
Raffles Hotel Istanbul, Raffles, Luxury, travel, Turkey, BMW, chauffeur
From the moment I arrived in the luxury BMW car the hotel sent to fetch me at the airport, I was treated like a king. The staff knew things about me and aside from being flattered, it made me instantly comfortable and at home.
Raffles Hotel Istanbul, Raffles, Luxury, travel, Turkey, suite view
I stay in a lot of luxury hotels all over the world and most them are very nice. That’s the status quo for luxury hotels. Sometimes the general manager or marketing director will take the time to say hi but often times not. That is of course fine and I don’t expect anything, but then there is no attachment to the hotel. You don’t feel like you belong; you don’t feel like it’s home.
Raffles Hotel Istanbul, Raffles, Luxury, travel, Turkey, bed
Raffles Hotel Istanbul was the polar opposite of that. On arrival, I immediately sat down with three staff members for coffee who couldn’t have been nicer. They of course told me a little about the hotel but they were even more interested in me than talking about the hotel. That made me feel good and made for more personal and less formal chitchat. I hate formalities!
Raffles Hotel Istanbul, Raffles, Luxury, travel, Turkey, tub
Throughout my stay, the kind, knowledgeable staff of the hotel attended to my every need immediately especially Emir. They all knew my name and wanted to help. Personal touches, friendly staff and the little things, make the stay and make loyal fans.
Raffles Hotel Istanbul, Raffles, Luxury, travel, Turkey, Rocca
But the most amazing thing that happened was when I was at breakfast and a wonderful staff member named Nazli presented me with a full color, bound book of the articles and pictures from my website since the beginning of 2013. The book is 2 inches thick! I was blown away-literally speechless and that never happens to me.
Raffles Hotel Istanbul, Raffles, Luxury, travel, Turkey, book for Lee Abbamonte
It was honestly one of the nicest gifts I’ve ever received in my life, let alone from a hotel or anything work related. I couldn’t believe the level of thoughtfulness and kindness to even think to do something like that. To this day, I am still forever grateful and will never forget that gesture from Nazli and the staff. That is the epitome of emotional luxury and now the Raffles Hotel Istanbul and the brand in general has a real fan for life in me!
Raffles Hotel Istanbul, Raffles, Luxury, travel, Turkey, Lee Abbamonte book
My friend Larry Pimentel, who is also CEO of Azamara Club Cruises, once said about the hospitality industry, “Win their hearts and you win their pocketbooks”. So true and never have I seen a better example by a hotel than by the Raffles Hotel Istanbul.
Raffles Hotel Istanbul, Raffles, Luxury, travel, Turkey, champagne bar
Of course, and as I mentioned the hotel offers just about everything you could want. It has only been open two months and has already become the hot spot in Istanbul. It is a part of the brand new Zorlu Center; which is the trendiest place in town.
Raffles Hotel Istanbul, Raffles, Luxury, travel, Turkey, Zorlu Center, Ferrari
It has everything from a very high-end shopping mall and a performing arts center, to internationally recognized restaurants like Eataly from New York City and of course 2 Starbucks. It also contains the most expensive apartment buildings in Istanbul and is a destination all by itself.
Raffles Hotel Istanbul, Raffles, Luxury, travel, Turkey, Eataly
I thought the location of the Raffles Hotel Istanbul was fantastic and a great alternative to the usual. If you’ve been to Istanbul before and seen the touristy sites and stayed in Sultanhamet or the Old Town-you kind of get it.
Raffles Hotel Istanbul, Raffles, Luxury, travel, Turkey, Bosphorus Bridge day view
So staying at the Zorlu Center was a refreshing change and being in a new area where locals actually hang out was really cool. Not to mention the proximity to the Bosphorus Bridge where Europe meets Asia. Day and night, the view was to die for from my balcony.
Raffles Hotel Istanbul, Raffles, Luxury, travel, Turkey, Bosphorus Bridge
The location may not be for everyone, especially first time tourists who want to see all the sites and be right there but if you’re looking for something different in the luxury category, try the Raffles Hotel Istanbul.
Raffles Hotel Istanbul, Raffles, Luxury, travel, Turkey, view of Apple store
Aside from a bunch of restaurants in the Zorlu Center complex, the Raffles Hotel Istanbul also boasts some excellent restaurants including the top and really the only Spanish restaurant in Istanbul.
Raffles Hotel Istanbul, Raffles, Luxury, travel, Turkey, Arola, paella
Arola is a Spanish style restaurant with some Turkish twists. It was fantastic and the ambience is great too. Locals are flocking there as they can’t get Spanish food anywhere else in the city-at least of this quality.
Raffles Hotel Istanbul, Raffles, Luxury, travel, Turkey, Rocca
The other restaurant is Rocca. I had both breakfast and lunch there and it was fantastic both meals. They offer buffet and a la carte style. Try the steak for lunch, it’s killer and tell the chef I said hi-he’s a great guy, very talented and likes the New York Yankees!
Raffles Hotel Istanbul, Raffles, Luxury, travel, Turkey, Rocca, Steak
For drinks, there are plenty of options as well including the Long Bar; which is attached to Arola along with the champagne bar that has to be seen to be believed. The Writers bar is also incredibly designed and very pleasing to the eye.
Raffles Hotel Istanbul, Raffles, Luxury, travel, Turkey, Writers Bar
Oh and did I mention I had the best Modern Hammam massage of my life at the spa?! The spa also includes amazing workout facilities and a great indoor pool that lets the sunlight in from above. Makes for great photos too!
Raffles Hotel Istanbul, Raffles, Luxury, travel, Turkey, spa, pool
So I think I’m done gushing about the Raffles Hotel Istanbul and in 8+ years of writing my blog; this is only the 4th hotel I’ve ever done a whole feature on. I liked it that much and cannot wait to return! I couldn’t recommend a hotel more.

Disclaimer: I was hosted by Raffles Istanbul for my stay but my opinions expressed are purely my own based on my own experience.

Comments

  1. Very high praise. Sounds incredible, good read.

  2. This hotel looks amazing! I am heading to Istanbul for work in January and this hotel seems to be right by my office so I will 100% be staying here! Thanks for the rec!

  3. Were you comped to stay at the Raffles?

  4. Amazing photos. I’ve only stayed in the old town because I could walk everywhere but it’s very touristy as you said.

  5. Do you like it better than the Four Seasons in Istanbul? Have you stayed there too?

  6. Write a book

  7. You got me at the Paella – Spanish food does it for me!

  8. Nice info and gallery!

    Keep writing and goodluck. 🙂

  9. I stayed for a short time, just for days. Do not wait another chance to travel to this city. Awesome, unique, brilliantly. The most important thing is that it is different than in Europe.

  10. Not only this hotel Turkey has done much to equip the hotel, taxi, car rental agencies, services, etc …

  11. Fahad Amir says

    Totally amazing and finest hotel with all essential services. These all services are the desire of each single travel because comfort come first for tension free sleep. All areas are niose free and seem durable for everyone. Istanbul, Turkey is known best place for the travelers with all luxury facilities that you have discussed above. Finally, if a person first satisfied from one place than he go again and again to enjoy the unforgettable spa.

  12. Very nice hotel really liked.

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