Turkey is one of the world’s only destinations where so many hallmarks of luxury travel can be found in the one country. The world’s most luxurious hotel and resort brands are rapidly increasing development in Turkey to address the growth in U.S. and international travelers visiting the 6th most popular destination in the world.
Luxury experiences throughout the country make it even more compelling to choose Turkey. Where East meets West, Turkey is home to extravagant palace and cave hotels from the Bosphorus to Cappadocia; an opulent spa culture; deliciously varied food and superb wine; endless shopping; resort towns and relaxing cruises through the Mediterranean, Aegean and Black seas.
Some of the most recent luxury hotel openings and developments include:
- Jumeriah Bodrum Palace Hotel opened May 1. The 135-room property will provide suite-style accommodations, villas and a six-bedroom palace. In addition, the hotel will offer restaurants, lounges, bars, Talise Spa with 12 treatment rooms, high-end shopping and 57 swimming pools.
- SoHo House Istanbul opened its doors to members in April on the European side of Istanbul. The SoHo House Istanbul was constructed in a 19th-century mansion, Palazzo Corpi, which housed the U.S. Embassy for 100 years, and was originally built as a home for a wealthy shipbuilder.
- St. Regis Istanbul opened March 1 with 118 rooms and will feature the first overseas Spago restaurant by celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck. The luxury property will overlook the Bosphorus Strait and Maçka Park with floor to ceiling windows for a breathtaking view.
- Named after the historic underground chapel at its heart, Chapelle Cappadocia, The House Hotel will open its first phase in June 2015 featuring 29 rooms in a complex of ancient caves and traditional homes. All 45 rooms will be open when the second phase is completed in January 2016.
- The 210-room Fairmont Istanbul, slated to open in 2016+, will be part of the Quasar Istanbul complex, a new mixed-use development in the Sisli district. Two 41-story towers will include a Fairmont Hotel and Fairmont Residences as well as Quasar Residences and offices. The hotel will feature Fairmont Gold, the brand’s ‘hotel within a hotel’ and will offer a several lounges and restaurants, 2,000 square feet of function space and a Willow Stream Spa. There’s also a historic distillery repurposed as a culture, fashion and arts center for special events, and an urban park and recreation area.
Istanbul brings together the best of old world and contemporary luxury at historical landmarks like the Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace, plus cosmopolitan nightlife and five-star restaurants from the world’s top chefs.
Turkey is also the world’s bazaar, with some of the most luxurious and opulent shopping to be found in Istanbul. Ever since the days of the Silk Road, Turkey has been a magnet for an astonishing array of luxury and one-of-a-kind goods like silk garments; leather accessories; jewelry; brilliantly colored faience tiles, copper, brass, marble, meerschaum and alabaster works by master artisans; heirloom-quality kilim, and, of course, Turkish carpets. For trendy, upscale shopping, be sure to visit Nişantaşı on Istanbul’s European side and Bağdat Caddesi on the Asian side – similar to Fifth Avenue or Rodeo Drive. Stroll through the handsomely restored Akaretler row houses in Beşiktaş with their expensive homes, museums, art galleries and exclusive shops.
Home to one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Mausoleum of Mausolus, Bodrum is the St. Tropez of Turkey, offering luxurious accommodations in a setting that respects the area’s past as a simple fishing village and revels in its jetsetting present. It’s no wonder that Bodrum has been a vacation spot for A-List celebrities such as Tom Hanks, Beyonce, Sting, Elizabeth Hurley and Nicole Kidman. Yacht-lined marinas, casual-yet-sophisticated clubs and smartly-dressed visitors from Istanbul and other major European cities give Bodrum a French Riviera feel.
But the world’s best kept secret by luxury travelers is Çesme Alaçatı. Known as the Hamptons of Istanbul, it’s where locals go to escape for authentic local tastes and adventure experiences like kite surfing.
As a country that welcomes more first-time American travelers via cruise ports than it does via airports, there are numerous port towns like Bodrum and Çeşme-Alaçatı to visit on luxury and private yachts, including Kuşadası and Izmir, Istanbul, Marmaris, Antalya and the Black Sea region.
One of the best ways to see the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts is in a traditional Turkish gullet, a broad-beamed wooden skiff that cruises the Aegean’s coast and ancient harbors as part of the renowned “Blue Voyage,” a luxury experience like no other.
Turkey is home to luxury travel, whether traveling by land, sea, or hot air balloon over the fairy chimneys of Cappadocia, where luxury cave hotels are carved out of the soft volcanic stone to create a magical landscape of fairy chimneys and rose-hued valleys.