Best of the Best 2012: Spas: Espa at the Istanbul Edition

Spread across three basement-level floors of a new 15-story, 78-room hotel, Espa at the Istanbul Edition (+90.212.317.7700, opened in March 2011 in the bustling residential district of Levent. Adorned with woven-horsehair wall coverings and bronze-and-leather flooring, the 20,000-square-foot spa includes an indoor swimming pool, 10 treatment rooms, a VIP suite, whirlpools, a snow cabin, […]

Espa Transforms the Turkish Spa Experience

The new three-floor Espa spa at the Istanbul Edition hotel, designed by London-based Hirsch Bedner Associates (HBA), fuses modern chic with the traditional Turkish spa. Design elements include embossed bronze floors and horsehair-upholstered walls in stylized rooms, yet it offers classic treatments like the Turkish Indulgence ($320) in a hammam. The two-and-a-half-hour session begins with […]

Pera Palace Hotel

Pera Palace Hotel served for decades as the glamorous final stop for Orient Express passengers following their three-day journey from Paris to Istanbul. The train stopped serving Istanbul in 1977, and the hotel gradually lost its luster, eventually closing in 2006. But last September, the 116-year-old Pera Palace reopened after a $29 million restoration that […]

Hôtel Les Ottomans

Ahu Aysal, owner of the new Hôtel Les Ottomans in Istanbul, Turkey, claims to have spent more than $80 million transforming this 18th-century pasha’s summer home on the Bosporus into a 10-suite retreat. Given her property’s limited number of rooms, Aysal may never recoup her investment. But for the owner (who lives in an additional […]

Turkish Indulgence

No Turkish experience is complete without visiting a traditional bath. While many luxury hotels attempt to provide the Turkish bath experience, the hammams at the Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at Bosphorus are the real thing. The 22,605 square-foot spa blends ancient bath traditions such as the use of attar (essences) of rose, pine, sandalwood, and […]

FrontRunners: Urbane Renewal

Istanbul’s Swissôtel The Bosphorus (, a 600-room hotel located on the European coast of the Bosporus strait, has spent about $20 million renovating its interior, including two presidential suites. The 1,990-square-foot, two-bedroom accommodations on the 18th floor have 220-square-foot terraces and are priced at about $7,300 per night. . . . In the Caribbean, the […]