Mandarin Oriental debuts a dazzling luxury hotel in Istanbul

There’s a new queen of the Bosphorus.

Along the stretch of road lining the Strait of Istanbul — between the 15 July Martyrs Bridge and Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge — lies the ultra-luxe Mandarin Oriental Bosphorus, which just opened in August.

Adjacent to Kuruçeşme and Bebek parks, with views of Beylerbeyi Palace and the Kuleli Military School landmarks, the hotel is the newest masterpiece to join a city known for architectural wonders.

Not only does it have 100 spacious and airy guest suites and rooms, but it’s quickly becoming a haven for locals who come nightly to share a shisha at the Bosphorus Lounge or nibble on sushi at Novikov — creating an international, upscale vibe that feels like it’s straight out of an Ottoman version of “Sex and the City.” 

Mandarin Oriental Istanbul.
The lounge at Istanbul’s new digs is popular among locals and visitors alike.
Mandarin Oriental Istanbul

Mandarin Oriental has created a seamless experience for both leisure and business travelers, cultivating an oasis of calm with a frisson of exhilaration. The hotel offers three glamorous swimming pools right on the strait, several outdoor event spaces and bars, as well as a world-class spa (where this writer received the best massage of her life).

Interior of a guest room inside the hotel.
The luxe lodging sports 100 spacious rooms and suites starting at $622 a night.
Mandarin Oriental Istanbul

Even better, the hotel is within walking distance of the Atatürk Cultural Center and the new Galataport, both feats of urban planning and vision. The cultural center in Taksim, once an abandoned architectural masterpiece from the 1960s, has been fully restored and turned into an opera house, art gallery, theater and restaurant.

Interior shot of the Mandarin Oriental Istanbul's pooled spa.
Luxuriate at the Mandarin Oriental’s pooled spa.

The Galataport, meanwhile — once a dilapidated eyesore full of warehouses and customs building — is set to become the new heart of Istanbul, with shops, restaurants and underground customs areas for the cruise ships and yachts pulling in and out, adding to the aura of excitement in this cross-continental city.