From its convenient and panoramic location to a palatial hamam, here are all the reasons why CVK Park Bosphorus Hotel Istanbul is the most ideal temporary home for both leisure and business travelers.
1997. That was the first and the the previous time I visited Istanbul. A sixteen-year-old in high school, transitioning from Junior to Senior year. Many of my memories from the former Constantinople have evaporated with time, but I do remember learning about Eurasia and its undeniable beauty which uniquely fumes from opulent layers of multiculturalism.
A few weeks ago, CVK Park Bosphorus Hotel Istanbul became our momentary home, it snuggles next to the restless Taksim metro station, perched above the Bosphorus – an imperative, narrow strait separating Asia and Europe. For me, access to an intercontinental perspective was regained, it was just as formidable as a full circle moment conjured by the view of teal water sparkling underneath rays of summer, all these decades later.
It was a busy Saturday evening, upon my arrival at the grandiose premise. Granite finishings, marble staircase, sky blue velvet couches culminate a bustling ambiance of extravagance that winks at the drama of an Ottoman spirit. Comprised of 385 rooms and suites, CVK Park Bosphorus Hotel Istanbul was constructed in 2013 as the modern, luxurious replacement of the previous Park Hotel. The Ottoman-inspired interior décor pays tribute to tradition as each floor is named after one of the Queen mothers of Ottoman Sultans, who were remarkable leaders during one of the most powerful and prosperous empires in history. Throughout the hotel’s shiny lobby, there are beautiful replicas of their prestigious clothing from the past that symbolize the richness of this era’s design and style.
Each of the room can range from 35 to 115 square meters, and features both traditional and modern motifs. Crystal chandeliers that royally hang from hand-painted ceilings with intricate designs are accompanied by ultra-modern bathroom amenities accentuated by ivory marbled floors and walls. Some rooms even include mini hamams and pearly tubs that welcome the ultimate relaxation. My glamorous nest was even more sumptuous with king-size bed and a panoramic view of the Bosphorus. Colossal cruise ships on the right, rustic skyline topped with crimson roofs on the left. I couldn’t have imagined a better view to start and end every spectacular day.
It goes without saying that any five-star hotel in Istanbul comes with state-of-the-art hamam, or Turkish bath. The first time I experienced a Turkish bath was in Morocco, in some middle-of-nowhere town, edging the Sahara Desert. Since then, I have embarked on more trips to Morocco, indulged in more soporific hamams, looked for more similar establishments in my own neighborhoods. In Paris, Les Bains du Marais is the supreme go-to, so much so that even Gwyneth Paltrow has modeled the spa in her own home after it.
In Turkey, the culture of public baths commenced during Ancient Greek and Roman periods, but most of its existing hamams dotted throughout the cities today were constructed during the Ottoman era, typically tied to mosques or religious institutions. At times, hamams are sites of celebrating milestones or the female beauty, with food and dancing. A typical Turkish bath consists of a 45-minute body scrub by an onsite therapist with a handwoven washcloth, or kese.
At CVK Park Bosphorus Hotel, its plush Turkish bath affair is deserving of an all-day excursion. In an expansive space of 8,500 square meter, the Safira Spa and Fitness is the biggest facility in any hotel in Istanbul. Its porcelain-colored marbles throughout the entire premise exudes an utmost sense of serenity. As I laid there for thirty minutes, in the central circular warm marble slab, or gobektasi, and stared into the twinkle lights scattered throughout an elevated ceiling, I was transcended to a space of tranquility. Reeled back to all the soothing times that I felt the exact same sense of calm stillness, in all the beautiful yet sacred hamams throughout the world.
The Safira Spa was one of the first to introduce a VIP service in Istanbul by offering 10 treatment rooms, with each providing a different healing concept. It spans from Bali Massage, Four Hands Massage, Classic Swedish Massage, Anti-Stress Massage, Shiatsu Massage, Thai Massage, Aromatherapy Massage, Volcanic Hot Stone Massage, Bali Foot Massage to Cellulite Massage. In addition, the facility also features a sauna, an off-white steam room, a jacuzzi, a gorgeous resting area, an indoor pool paired with a retractable glass rooftop. Every morning, its impressive gym became my sanctuary after breakfast. The multi-room fitness center not only encompasses one of the most extensive equipments that I’ve ever personally witnessed in a hotel; it’s also open for spinning, pilates (a personal favorite,) CrossFit and personal trainer lessons.
With six upscale restaurants and an expansive breakfast buffet inside the hotel, both the rooftop terrace bar and the Sisha Lounge provided unforgettable experiences. The Izaka Terrace was where we discovered fantastic Turkish wines particularly from the Marmara, Manisa and Izmir regions. Although we spent evenings admiring the birds-eye view of Istanbul’s night sky from Izaka’s rooftop terrace, the restaurant’s menu is equally popular with worldwide cuisines that spans from Mezze Mave to Hitode Sushi Bar. During the day, we strolled through the hotel’s unique sky walk from the lobby and made our peppy way to the Hezarfen Sisha Lounge. If there was one lasting vista of the glorious Bosphorus from high above, this would top any list.