BREATHTAKING BEAUTY BESIDE THE BOSPHORUS

Travelling on one of the very finest airlines, to the only city in the world to sit on two continents and staying at a five-star hotel named after a mystical paradise is all in a few days’ work for OHLALA.

OHLALA experienced the enchanting city of Istanbul thanks to a first-class collaboration between Turkish Airlines and the five-star Shangri-La Bosphorus, Istanbul.

A magical three-day and two-night experience is what awaited us, along with all the fine dining and exotic urban adventure we could have hoped for.

TURKISH AIRLINES

Travelling business class with the renowned Turkish Airlines proved nothing less than exceptional. Along with the professional and hassle-free nature of the check-in and boarding experiences, the flight itself was exactly as we would want it to be. We took full advantage of the option to screen off our space and settle down on the lie-flat seats – they open into a 188cm bed, with pillow and blanket provided – and with lip balm, ear plugs, eye mask and fluffy socks from the amenity kit, we were soon snoozing gently.

We awoke to be presented with a delicious meal, flying chefs ensure Turkish Airlines’ Business Class passengers enjoy the finest quality international cuisines and beverages, all served on posh tableware. It’s as if your holiday starts in the sky.

For the rest of the journey, we made the most of the comprehensive inflight entertainment options to catch up with the latest films before our smooth landing in Istanbul.

OUR ARRIVAL

Collected from the airport by the hotel’s concierge service, we meandered our way through the bustling streets of Istanbul, catching glimpses of the city’s grand architecture en route. From mosques to museums, from boutiques to bazaars, this enthralling destination has it all. The captivating combination of the sights, sounds and smells emanating from this vibrant location beckoned us to explore this historic metropolis and all the treasures held within.

THE SHANGRI-LA BOSPHORUS, ISTANBUL

As soon as our feet touched the ground beneath the multi-award-winning hotel’s portico, we were welcomed by the smiling faces of staff who ensured, from that moment, we wanted for nothing throughout our stay.

The quick and cheerful booking process meant we were escorted to our rooms within five minutes of entering the lobby. En route, we took in the impressive makeup of this grand hotel, the design and layout of which was inspired by its Asian roots. From exquisite marble floors and walls to grand chandeliers and lavish decorative touches, we often felt we were in the fictional Shangri-La kingdom itself.

THE ROOMS

The hotel generously provided us with one of their Premier Bosphorus Rooms. As soon as the door opened, we knew we would be more than comfortable for the duration of the visit. What we noticed first about the 60sq/m room was the stunning views of the city and the Bosphorus Strait, compliments of the floor-to-ceiling windows.

Shifting our attention to the room’s amenities, we were impressed by the spacious nature of the layout. All furnishings were modern and of superb quality, accentuated by soothing colour tones and plush fabrics. Most impressive was the marble-clad master bathroom, complete with a rain shower, heated floors and a mirror-embedded television.

Perhaps the most important feature was the generously sized bed that proved to be both supportive and comfortable. We had absolutely no problem nodding off to sleep during our stay.

After settling in, we were given a private tour of the hotel, including a glimpse of the various other rooms on offer. Consisting of 163 guest rooms and 23 suites, the property provides luxurious accommodations to suit all guests’ preferences, with all options sure to impress even the most discerning hotel critics.

FINE DINING

The Shangri-La Bosphorus, Istanbul houses a few high-end culinary venues. Over the course of our stay, we got to dine at these various spots, savouring every minute of our experience.

IST TOO

During our three days at the hotel, we feasted several times at IST TOO, a venue offering an array of international dishes. Lucky enough to sample both breakfast and lunchtime menus, we were hugely impressed by the assortment of Mediterranean, Southeast Asian, Turkish and Japanese dishes on offer. We partook in the Turkish breakfast and the comprehensive à la carte lunch menu. From the caviar to the extensive meat, seafood and sushi options, we loved it all and almost certainly gained a pound or two.

SHANG PALACE

The Shang Palace is an exceptional dining venue serving authentic ChineseCantonese dishes. Headed up by Michelin-starred Chef Gordon Leung, we were fortunate to enjoy not one but two unforgettable dining occasions. First was the 10th-anniversary menu created and prepared by the great Gordon himself. Comprising of several East Asian-inspired courses, we banqueted for several joyful hours before rolling back to our rooms.

The second experience came in two parts. It began with a morning tour of the Beşiktaş Bazaar Fish Market, led by the Executive Chef. All present selected several items, including whole fresh fish and various types of seafood. The hotel took care of our selections and, at lunchtime, Chef Gordon prepared these purchases to perfection, complementing them with several mouth-watering sides.

QUICK MUST MENTIONS

In addition to all the exceptional meals at the hotel, we also savoured sunset drinks on the Shangri-La suite terrace, enjoyed a Pinktober Afternoon Tea Experience at the Lobby Lounge, and were fortunate enough to partake in a Sunset Yacht Cruise along the Bosphorus, with scrumptious pass-around delicacies on board.

HOTEL AMENITIES

Our before-mentioned private tour also revealed the numerous first-class amenities within the hotel. Along with the two impressive ballrooms and nine versatile conference and function rooms is the Health Club. This venue offers a full range of exercise and recreation facilities that include an indoor heated swimming pool, a hot whirlpool and a state-of-the-art gymnasium.

CHI, THE SPA

One of the most memorable moments of our stay was the pampering we received at Chi, Shangri-La’s in-house spa. In this tranquil environment, patrons receive treatments designed to “indulge the senses, soothe the body, and revitalise the spirit”.

I opted for the Turkish Hamman treatment that included the ritual of a Turkish bath and a traditional stimulating body scrub. A stress-relieving full-body foam massage, along with refreshing water therapy, a hair wash and a body moisturisation with milk and honey, were also part of this sublime experience.

IDEAL LOCATION

Thanks to the hotel’s perfect location, we could easily access the most sought-after destinations in Istanbul. Amongst our many mini-city adventures was a ferry ride to the Asian side of the city. Positioned across from the hotel, the ferry station offered direct passage to the east of Istanbul, where we gratefully explored all the historical, recreational and shopping locations.

PARTING IS SUCH SWEET SORROW

All too soon, it was time to head home. Taking the sting out of leaving this hotel paradise was another business class experience on our now favourite, Turkish Airlines – a perfect opportunity for us to reflect on the magnificence of our Shangri-La Bosphorus, Istanbul adventure.

SPECIAL THANKS

We want to thank Turkish Airlines and the Shangri-La Bosphorus, Istanbul for their outstanding service and hospitality throughout our journey.

For more information or to make a reservation, please visit
www.shangri-la.com/en/istanbul/shangrila/ or

email slib@shangri-la.com
@shangrilahotels

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