October 13, 2023
By Madhu Pradhan

Çırağan Palace Kempinski Istanbul, an iconic symbol of the city, has embarked on an extraordinary journey into a new era, harmoniously blending its rich historical heritage with modern elegance through a comprehensive redesign project in the hotel building.

Timeless Charming Architecture

Managed by Kempinski, Europe’s oldest luxury hotel group, the legendary Çırağan Palace Kempinski Istanbul is renowned for its noble past and peerless location. Distinguished travellers are now invited to embark upon an exciting voyage that bridges the past and the future. With every meticulous detail, from the regal entrance and opulent lobby to the luxurious rooms, suites, and two tantalising new restaurants, this grand redesign unveils captivating, all inspired by the palace’s illustrious history and architectural splendour.

Guided by the vision of esteemed Ottoman Art Expert Serdar Gülgün and Toner Architects, the entire hotel building has been transformed into a timeless masterpiece. Classic design elements, infused with innovative flair, transport guests to different eras, immortalising the momentous past within the hotel’s walls.

Inspired by the historical palace gardens, the greenery of the entrance area perfectly harmonises with nature and foliage. Lattice-clad covered columns, dome-shaped ceilings, specially designed flowerpots, chandeliers, striped curtains and podima pebble flooring are in perfect harmony with the marble fountain.

In the lobby's centre stands an octagonal seating unit, a common feature in palace halls that facilitates comfortable conversations for guests. Atop the seater sits a collection of turtle figurines carrying a globe, symbolising longevity and wisdom, with historical ties to the tulip festivities of the past held at Çırağan Palace. The reception and concierge areas showcase 16th- and 17th-century style Iznik ceramics, while the unique Venetian-style Murano-inspired chandeliers add a contemporary touch with their striped hats.

Embracing Ottoman Magnificence

In the elevator landing areas, guests are greeted by eye-catching octagonal seating units with preserved columns adorned in metal panels featuring intricate Ottoman patterns. Mirrored folding screens and specially designed lampshades add to the regal ambience of this palace hotel. The floor corridors seamlessly connect to the lobby, ensuring a harmonious and luxurious experience.

The redesigned rooms and suites exude the traditional magnificence of the Ottoman Empire, blending contemporary touches with the artistic expertise of Serdar Gülgün. The striped corridors’ design represents ostentatious Ottoman tents, with special headboards adorned with Çintemani, tulip and patterned fabrics used in Ottoman art, mother-of-pearl furniture, and marble bathrooms reflecting Turkish bath traditions, all paying homage to the unique noble past of Çırağan Palace.

The burgundy rooms include Çintemani patterned headboards, which represent the dynasty, wealth, and traditional traces of the Ottoman era. In navy blue rooms, tulip-patterned motifs adorn the headboards in a nod to the palace hotel’s history dating back to the tulip period. The geometrical pattern of the coffered ceilings is reminiscent of Ottoman palaces and the carpets mimic the straw pattern of those used in the palaces due to the humidity of the Bosphorus. The design of the elegant seats was inspired by the Ottoman art of Ebru, the ancient Turkish art of marbling. The Ottomans extensively used grey marble in Turkish baths, and they were skilled at inlaying different types of marble to create a pattern. With this in mind, the lavish marble bathrooms are designed with grey-on-grey inlaid marble walls.

The new signature Royal Ottoman Suite evokes emotions and tells a story. Expansively sized with two elegant bedrooms, an octagonal dining area and a living room, the suite offers the ultimate luxury, complete with three balconies. Decor inspiration comes from the Bosphorus itself, and the reflection of the water created the colour palette of pastel blues, greenish blues, and celadon accents. The magnificent four-poster bed in the master bedroom is made of bronze, which was found in ancient palaces and castles, with the headboard in an arched shape that resembles Ottoman architecture. The lampshades were a bespoke commission for this room, and the walls are covered with a unique moire wallpaper.

Specially crafted onyx marble bathrooms with a private Turkish hammam and a steam room create a spacious ambience for relaxation. 

Unique Gastronomic Experiences

Çırağan Palace Kempinski Istanbul's culinary scene has been elevated with the introduction of two exquisite restaurants.

The signature restaurant of the hotel, Akdeniz by Esra Muslu is a captivating realm where the culinary traditions of Türkiye are kept alive and masterfully reinterpreted with Mediterranean flair. Delights prepared for sharing come to life over a wood fire, bringing an authentic and local essence to every bite. These culinary treasures are meticulously sourced from farm-to-table, ensuring an unforgettable dining experience that pays homage to both Turkish heritage and Mediterranean sophistication. Influenced by historical libraries and dominated by green tones, the warm and cosy entrance area serves as a meeting point before heading to the table and the library concept highlights books on Istanbul and Turkish culture. The customised wallpaper on the folding screens shares the feeling of being in a Mediterranean garden and brings the garden inside. 

Here, guests step into a world of culinary delights where elegantly redesigned buffet areas offer a sophisticated touch of style. Flexible folding screens create an opulent buffet experience and transform into a transition area when not in use. The space is versatile, with areas that can be opened or closed based on the time of day and divided by screens, doors, and curtains to accommodate varying numbers of guests. Navy blue and white lines evoke the Mediterranean's nautical theme with a contemporary touch and the opening of the curtains gives the space both a theatrical and ceremonial feel. The restaurant's modular design evokes a sense of journey, while the lush gardens and Bosphorus views set the stage for an unforgettable dining experience. 

Gazebo, a waterfront restaurant, offers an enchanting first-row view of the Bosphorus while giving a nod to the palace's history. With a hint of modernity, this elegant space reinterprets Ottoman garden art.

Gazebo's blue-themed pathway gracefully connects the hotel lobby to the Bosphorus, setting the stage for an elegant and intimate space adorned with exquisite blue and white Ottoman Iznik style ceramic panels, comfortable divans and chauffeuse armchairs that beckon guests to unwind and indulge. With four symmetrical seating areas, a centrally-positioned ornamental fountain and Ottoman-style bird cages, Gazebo takes guests on a delightful journey through the captivating history of the Ottoman Empire. Each area draws inspiration from the concept of a quadrilateral garden, where the Ottomans divided the land into four parts using water canals, known as four gardens. Representing the art of four flowers – tulips, roses, carnations, and hyacinths – these quarters exude a calming effect with the green and blue hues enveloping guests in a serene garden-style atmosphere. The comfortable sofas, wicker armchairs, and faux-bamboo pieces invite guests to relax and unwind.

Gazebo menu offers a diverse selection of scrumptious sandwiches, à la carte breakfast options, flavourful salads, mouthwatering afternoon tea, and unique beverages. The ambiance exudes a harmonious blend of refined taste and comforting appeal in its brand-new setting, inviting guests to immerse themselves in a truly attentive experience from the dedicated team.

 

Ralph Radtke, General Manager of Çırağan Palace Kempinski Istanbul and Regional Director of Kempinski Residences Türkiye, expressed his excitement, saying, "We have stepped into a new era where we blend a sophisticated style with a unique harmony inspired by the history of the Çırağan Palace. At the palace hotel, which offers a unique and authentic luxury experience, guests will have the feeling of spending time in a real palace with our redesigned hotel rooms, suites, lobby, hotel entrance and restaurants. We are pleased to continue hosting our distinguished guests from all over the world by bringing together the most sophisticated form of Turkish hospitality with a unique luxury inspired by the history of Çırağan Palace. It is a renowned award-winning hotel that has always kept destination marketing a priority, promoting Turkish hospitality and specifically Istanbul in the best possible way. History has been made here. In this new era, we carry the traces of the past into the future and offer a service beyond luxury.”

 

Madhu Pradhan

Madhu started her career as a freelance content writer. With 4+ years of experience , she channeled her love for writing into becoming a full-time content writer. When she is not writing professionally, you’ll either find her gardening, reading or writing poetries.

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