Secluded on a hilltop overlooking the Bosphorus on Istanbul’s European side, the Swissôtel’s location is more about exclusivity than convenience, though the upscale Nişantaşı shopping and business district is just a short walk away.
Tasteful almost to a fault, the 600 spacious rooms, suites, and apartments have subtly patterned carpets and other fabrics in unremarkable colours – all the better, perhaps, to draw the eye to the views out the window of almost every room. With its chaise lounge looking out over the Bosphorus, I find even the lowest-end “Classic Room” hard to leave.
Amid Istanbul’s urban sprawl, the extensive gardens feel like one of the hotel’s biggest luxuries.
Eating and drinking
Whether you fancy fondue or sushi, there’s a restaurant catering to the craving, with Alpine classics on the menu at Chalet and Japanese the specialty at Miyako. Some restaurants and bars, including the rooftop Gaja Sky, are only open seasonally.
The award-winning Amrita Spa & Wellness Centre offers a variety of treatment rooms as well as a gym, indoor and outdoor pools, a sauna, and even an “ice grotto” for that bracing post-hammam dip.
The service is impeccable, though the staff can be more efficient than friendly.
Who stays there
Business travellers are well-catered-to, with plenty of meeting space and in-room business centres in the larger rooms, but the hotel draws plenty of leisure travellers as well.
At 12 Turkish Liras (6 euros) an hour or 38 liras (19 euros) a day, Internet access can add up quickly. Even use of the in-room Nespresso machine incurs an extra fee, which seems a bit miserly for such a high-end (and high-price) hotel.
- Business travellers
- People watching
Pros & Cons
- Luxurious rooms with views
- Excellent pool and spa
- Many restaurants, bars
- Rooms below rooftop bar loud until late
- Taxis required to get to most attractions
- Internet access expensive