• modern lines, ottoman opulence: the grand tarabya

    March 13th, 2013

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    Today I had the chance to preview a hotel that I’ve been anticipating with a mixture of excitement and as well as apprehension. The Grand Tarabya is almost legend among a certain generation of Turks who once regularly visited it for afternoon tea. Although I have no history with the hotel, I am fascinated by it as its architecture and dimension are unique to a shoreline Bosphorus hotel. I am also now a resident of Tarabya, so its operation is of some importance to my neighbourhood’s wellbeing. Right now the marina and the shoreline are undergoing a huge transformation in which the Grand Tarabya is the focal point. This building’s curving, modern lines and height are something you’d be more likely to see along the Corniche in Beirut than on the shores of the Bosporus, where buildings generally don’t exceed a four-storey height limit. And at 12 floors, it makes quite a statement. There is simply nothing else quite like it along the European-Asian strait. While I have yet to sample the hotel’s full five-star service, the most standout aspects of this hotel are its views and its spa — which contains no less than 3 hamams in its 3000 metre footprint. While some of the decoration in the public areas might not be quite to my taste, the interior design is relatively restrained. The top three floors are not hotel, but residences with a much more understated, less Arabesque design flourish provided by local architectural practice, Tabanlioglu. All in all, I think the hotel’s opening is welcome progress for the neighbourhood and I look forward to experiencing the coffee shop, which is still in the works, as well as many of its other amenities. The only thing I question is whether or not this part of the city needs yet another fish restaurant. I guess we’ll see. While the hotel is operational now, the grand opening is slated for April. It’s certainly worth a look.

    THE GRAND TARABYA

    Haydar Aliyev Caddesi No:154 Tarabya, Istanbul +90 212 363 33 00

  • Adahan Hotel

    February 4th, 2013

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    Today I had a chance to get a glimpse of a really interesting renovation in Beyoglu. While it might feel somewhat sparsely furnished with the cavernous ceilings, the ample light, and raw feel of the materials gives this place a real beauty. I’ve seen many Beyoglu buildings restored, but nothing quite like this. Its feel, and the amount of wood make this something special. The other feature which makes it special is the fact that its owners refused to use any concrete in the restoration process. Sedat Sırrı Aklan, who supervised the renovations, is adamantly opposed to the use of concrete on moral grounds, because it is both anti-artisan and only used for profit motives. One of the things I really appreciate is the light touch they’ve used, leaving some of the beautifully weathered surfaces exposed. Here’s a glimpse of this vastly different hotel. I’m eager to check out their rooftop eatery too which may well bear further investigation.

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