As you know my last night in Istanbul was at Raffles Hotel. My time in Istanbul was magical and this turned out to be a great ending to my first introduction of Turkey.
We decided to have our final dinner at the Spanish restaurant called Arola inside of the hotel. All I have to say is that Pierre makes great decisions. As you know from the previous review of Raffles hotel it’s located inside the Zorlu luxury complex and it is quite the place to be. They boast a Michelin starred chef named Sergi Arola. I think I know where they got the name for the restaurant. Wink.
Let’s first start off by talking about the staff of the restaurant. Our waiter was very knowledgeable of Spanish cuisine along with Turkish wine. This helped his recommendations when it came to our feast. We warmed up with some champagne from neither Turkey or Spain but it was an awesome way to start the evening.
Once it was time to get into the real food are amazing waiter recommended a Turkish Merlot that happens a pair perfectly with the Spanish dishes.
First I like to say that Raffles brand in general does a great job with all of its presentation. Everything inside this hotel and outside actually was very visually stimulating and I really appreciated that part of it. This focus on appealing visuals extended right into the food. I love the creativity that went into the design and presentation of each dish.
They have really mastered the use of dry ice in a few of their dishes. Something is really cool when your food comes out with a big gas cloud. It makes everything mystical and magical.
Overall, I really liked that they were pushing the limits of Spanish cuisine in a very artistic way. Most of the dishes were pretty good especially the calamari, gazpacho and the fried ice cream at the end.
As you know my last night in Istanbul was at Raffles Hotel. My time in Istanbul was magical and this turned out to be a great ending to my first introduction of Turkey. We decided to have our final dinner at the Spanish restaurant called Arola inside of the hotel.…
My first trip to Turkey I got to experience a lot of things in a short amount of time and one of them was the spa at the Four Seasons hotel along the Bosphorus strait in Istanbul, Turkey. I have been looking at the pictures of the Turkish spas for some time so I knew what to expect. They take you into a room that looks like it might be kind of uncomfortable but once you lay down and they start the treatment it is the complete opposite. Pure bliss.
Upon arrival I was presented with a nice welcome drink and the staff was very friendly and attentive. My initial reaction to my first Turkish bath a.k.a. Turkish Hammam was that it felt like I was in a human car wash. Albeit a very relaxing and amazing car wash!
The Turkish Hammam basically consists of being washed down over and over with buckets of hot water along with a body scrub and then a massage. I also thought that the buckets of water wouldn’t be relaxing but I was quickly corrected because they were very relaxing.
Pierre likes to relax and he really enjoyed the atmosphere at the Four Seasons spa. You can tell that they put in a lot of effort into the design of the spa. I’ve seen quite a lot of spas that are kind of boring to be honest but this one really encompasses the feel of the traditional Turkish design. They also incorporate a lot of blue color because of the Bosphorus strait. Each treatment room is very visually appealing. This isn’t your average spa!
After the treatment you’re able to use their other facilities such as a dry sauna, steam room, relaxation room or you can go to the locker room and take a shower. Overall, everything is very well set up and very well organized and a really great way to relax. If you’ve never tried a Turkish Hammam I would definitely recommend that you go try one at the Four Seasons Hotel next time you’re in Turkey!
My first trip to Turkey I got to experience a lot of things in a short amount of time and one of them was the spa at the Four Seasons hotel along the Bosphorus strait in Istanbul, Turkey. I have been looking at the pictures of the Turkish spas for…
Four Seasons Turkish Hammam Review (Istanbul, Turkey)
Four Seasons Turkish Hammam Review (Istanbul, Turkey)
On my recent tour around Istanbul I stayed at the Raffles hotel to see what they’re all about. I rolled up to the front door of Raffles in a Rolls Royce sipping champagne. A fairly standard day for Pierre. I would never lie to my readers so believe me when I tell you the lobby of the Raffles Istanbul is quite impressive. Super high ceilings and a woman playing the harp was a nice touch. I sort of pranced up to the reception in a very masculine way don’t worry.
It’s located in a brand new luxury shopping center in Istanbul called the Zorlu center which is also connected to the subway which is a plus for exploring the city. After checking in it was time to check if Pierre’s expectations would be met in the hotel suite.
I opened the door and my jaw dropped and my tongue rolled out onto the floor like in the cartoons.
Santa maria! This place was impressive. It had a giant living room where of course they left a giant tray of sweets. I had to undo my belt to start packing away the sweets. There was a huge desk which I was too busy to use but looked like a nice place to get work done. The bedroom had a heavenly bed that will swallow you up when you lay on it. Throughout the entire suite there were lots of seating areas, just in case you invite over a hundred people or so.
The bathroom had a full wall of windows which let in a lot of natural light and was a nice touch in the evening. The bathroom also had almost two of everything so you and your partner won’t be bumping heads. One bathtub but you don’t want to be separated in the tub.
After a little pondering we figured out how to get the door of the balcony open which was the perfect place to relax before dinner. We had an exceptional dinner at their Arola restaurant with their Michelin-starred chef Sergi Arola which you can read in a separate article. Seriously amazing food. Stay tuned.
After all of the culinary excitement in the Spanish restaurant it was time to retire to Pierre’s handsome sleep. The next morning I’m sure you can guess what I did. Yes! Correct! I got my swole on in the well equipped gym. They have everything! Including a nice chin-up bar where I knocked out 17 in one go. Flexing.
To replenish the guns I hit the Rocca restaurant for breakfast. They kept the same design as the lobby which is beyond extravagant.
Lot’s of choices and the staff’s service was impeccable. Politeness level 100. All the food really was quite exceptional. The food tasted as good as the photos look trust me.
Sadly I stayed at Raffles my last night in Istanbul and after all this morning excitement it was time to depart to Budapest. I was seriously sad to leave this amazing city, people and hotels. I would love to visit again in the future!
In conclusion, if you want to live like a king or queen while you’re in Istanbul you should definitely add Raffles hotel to your list. Overall, it was a very great stay. I must say that this place will always have a warm place in my heart especially the breakfast! Get yourself in one of the Raffles hotel rooms as soon as possible and you can thank me later!
On my recent tour around Istanbul I stayed at the Raffles hotel to see what they're all about. I rolled up to the front door of Raffles in a Rolls Royce sipping champagne. A fairly standard day for Pierre. I would never lie to my readers so believe me when…
Extravagant. Simply extravagant. Walking into the lobby at the Shangri-La hotel in Istanbul is so breathtaking. All you see are shiny objects and that put Pierre into a trance for a moment. Stunned with the amount of gold and the number of chandeliers. My jaw dropped.
For myself, it definitely had the Asian feeling of hospitality that I had experienced so many times in the past. This hotel has roots in Hong Kong. Thus far, Asian hospitality has been the best that I have experienced. Sorry Westerners.
Not sure what the two would say about a comparison but the rooms at the Shangri-La had a very similar feel to the rooms at the Mandarin Oriental which as you all know is another favorite brand of mine. Both paying fine attention to every detail, both using very high-end furnishings but both having differences that set them apart.
Pierre can tell that they localized the room to fit the Bosphorus strait in Istanbul because he’s a hotel professional. They have used lots of blue and green colors to match the water. It has an overall very elegant feel that I appreciated and was relaxed by.
I swear every hotel I visit wants to see me get fat! The Shangri-La warmly welcomed me with a large plate of desserts. My pants hate your warm hearts! However, you can’t go wrong with Baklava! I skipped the colorful things that are full of vitamins that doctors recommend you to eat. I think they call them “fruit.”
Stepping into the bathroom was amazing. Once again using only the highest quality fixtures and products. They used Bvlgari brand products in the bathroom and I really liked the quality of the lotion. Noticing all of the simple things like how nicely the shower door closed is what Pierre pays attention to! Quickly, Shangri-La is becoming a favorite brand of mine. Marble and more marble all around! I can dig it.
When you look out of the window it appears at first that there isn’t anything between the building and the water because it’s so close! However, there is actually a ferry pier that is very popular for Turkish commuters. A great place for people watching indeed. Sadly, nobody looked my way when I flexed my guns for them in the window. Sad face.
The service was on point throughout the stay and they didn’t miss a beat on anything. I had to request a dental kit which arrived within 10 minutes at my door. It was only a one night stay but it was short and sweet. Also, I didn’t have a chance to hit the gym because I was too busy with eating but the gym was very well equipped! There was also a nice indoor pool with a beautiful painted ceiling.
In total I spent 4 nights in Istanbul and I’ve concluded that it’s a place I could live. Istanbul is at the point where East meets West and creates a very unique feel. Something that is brand new to me and fresh. Exactly the type of place I would like to explore more! Sorry I got a little excited thinking about Istanbul. Anyways, we had the dinner at their Shang Palace restaurant the first night then woke up the next morning for a breakfast at their IST restaurant.
Breakfast had such a large selection of local Turkish and international foods. I would recommend that you stick with the hot dishes. Some of the bakery items were good but some could use a slight improvement. All looked very pretty nonetheless.
Shortly after breakfast it was already time to move on to the next spot! Shangri-La hooked it up majorly at the checkout. We were handed glasses of champagne and whisked away in the Rolls Royce to be driven to our next destination. I’ll credit this to my boyish good looks and athletic physique. Wink wink.
In conclusion I can’t wait to visit again! Lucky for me Shangri-La has many locations worldwide and I can’t wait to see how their other properties compare. What sticks out most in my mind is their attention to every small detail. Their strong points for me are all of the flawless interior designs, food quality and very attentive staff. They were able to create a very personal experience. Some hotels feel soulless but Shangri-La made me really feel like I was staying with people I knew. I’ve stayed in lots of luxury hotels worldwide and typically even the finest hotels miss details here and there but Shangri-La truly did very well and is among the very best I’ve ever visited.
There is absolutely no reason you should not stay at the Shangri-La hotel next time you’re in Istanbul and want to live large and in charge!
Extravagant. Simply extravagant. Walking into the lobby at the Shangri-La hotel in Istanbul is so breathtaking. All you see are shiny objects and that put Pierre into a trance for a moment. Stunned with the amount of gold and the number of chandeliers. My jaw dropped. Click HERE to…
Just before I left Korea this past time I was treated to a dinner at Jungsik restaurant. Jungsik is tucked away in the Cheongdam ward of Gangnam in Seoul. I was told that they’re supposedly one of Seoul’s best restaurants and a must try. Don’t mind if I do. I had no idea what to expect but must say I was very pleasantly surprised.
Let me first say that it was one of those meals where every single thing I ate, I loved. This doesn’t happen all that often so it’s important to note when all of the stars align and Pierre’s treated to a truly magical meal. Everything from the tiny little starters to the sea bass to the duck was absolutely phenomenal. It’s clear to see that they put lots of heart into every dish that they serve and these are the types of meals I enjoy the most! Not to mention everything was very well presented and arranged.
The dessert that I ordered was a green tea mousse which turned out to be amazing. The design made me chuckle. I know it’s modeled after a statue on Jeju island but to me it resembled something else. Use your imagination. Anyways, no matter what is was suppose to be it tasted great!
At the end of the day the design of the dining room was nice. I could easily do without the purple colored table cloths but this was the least of my worries when the food was so good. Another small detail I noticed was the cutlery which was very stylish. Pierre approves.
The service turned out to be quite good and all the staff was a pleasure to speak with. There was lots of smile exchanges going on throughout the meal. I felt loved.
If you’re looking for a fine dining experience which is quite possibly the best in Seoul you definitely need to visit Jungsik restaurant. I’m already looking forward to returning next time! If you want the cream of the crop food in Seoul then you must pay Jungsik a visit now!
Just before I left Korea this past time I was treated to a dinner at Jungsik restaurant. Jungsik is tucked away in the Cheongdam ward of Gangnam in Seoul. I was told that they're supposedly one of Seoul's best restaurants and a must try. Don't mind if I do. I had…
I’ve been wanting to travel to Istanbul, Turkey for such a long time. This September I finally got the opportunity and had a really great time! Normally, it’s bad to get your expectations too high but this time I lucked out because all were met or exceeded!
I arrived early in the morning after a long flight from Seoul. My first impression of Turkish people was amazing because they charged me the right amount in the first taxi I took which made Pierre very happy! The first two nights I stayed at the Park Hyatt Macka Palas which wasn’t too far of a drive from the airport. I arrived late at night so the roads were empty.
My only major plan in Turkey was to eat good food and catch up with my friends. I was able to eat some amazing food, stay at some phenomenal hotels and do some sightseeing along the way also!
Anyways, let’s get focused and get to the Park Hyatt Istanbul. Pierre prefers the finer things in life so he secured an upgraded spa room. He was not disappointed. The room was huge and it included a private steam room, giant bath tub, Turkish bath area, private bar and a view of the pool.
The staff hooked me up majorly too and surprised me with a bottle of Turkish wine, Turkish candies, olives and cheese and some Turkish beers to make sure I was feeling loved. I ate the candies throughout the stay which made me feel happy and fuzzy. I felt like they were training me to like them with candy similar to how you train a dog. That’s fine because it worked! Note to others, reward animals and Pierre with candy to teach quickly. Wink.
During the stay every single member of the hotel staff was on top behavior at every interaction from the moment I walked in the door to the moment I left two days later. This is definitely something to note because normally I will meet at least one person who is not all smiles but that wasn’t the case at the Park Hyatt Istanbul. There was one women who never wiped the smile off of her face for every time I saw her!
The time difference from South Korea was five or six hours so I was a bit groggy and had to sleep it off. However, first I was so excited to try my private steam room out I took a quick schvitz before hitting the sheets the first night. Once you press the on button the steam starts to fill up the room in about 10-15 minutes. It was super fast and convenient to get hot and sweaty. The steam room was a perfect lullaby. Before I knew it I was counting sheep!
After a few hours I awoke and hit the gym to compensate for the food I wanted to get in me later that day. The gym had quality equipment but is on the smaller side. Don’t fret! It’s still completely possible to get your full swole on. Work smart not hard.
After finding my happy place at the gym I headed back to the room to get a shower and another steam before breakfast. The dining area for breakfast is super nice and I really enjoyed the design. They have a glass ceiling which lets a lot of light in to make it feel like you’re sitting outdoors on a patio. Well played Park Hyatt. Well played.
The breakfast buffet is on the smaller side also but everything I ate had a great taste. Quality over quantity. They have an à la carte menu which is really what you should focus on and I was able to try my first Turkish meneman and some waffles. Both were amazing. For the people who don’t know, meneman is basically the Turkish version of scrambled eggs which included some nice herbs and spices. It was divine and exactly the type of protein I needed after working my guns in the gym.
What I realized about the Park Hyatt Istanbul is that overall they really focus on quality over quantity. You can see this everyone from the rooms themselves to the food to the quality of service which they do all exceptionally well. If you want a very comfortable hotel with great people, food and service then you should stay at the Park Hyatt in Istanbul! Two thumbs up!
I've been wanting to travel to Istanbul, Turkey for such a long time. This September I finally got the opportunity and had a really great time! Normally, it's bad to get your expectations too high but this time I lucked out because all were met or exceeded! Click HERE…