Sumahan on the Water, Istanbul $$$$
Concierge.com's insider take:
One of Istanbul's most talked-about boutique hotels, the recently refurbished Sumahan on the Water hugs the Asian shore of the Bosphorus in the village of Çengelköy. The building was once a distillery for Raki (the traditional Ottoman ouzolike aperitif), and the meticulous renovations have managed to preserve its original industrial allure while modernizing the interiorwith polished wood floors, flat-screen TVs, and, in most rooms, glass-sheathed fireplacesand retaining a touch of the old Ottoman in the marble bathrooms with hammam-style basins. All 18 rooms have a stunning viewor in loft suites, access to a garden with a viewof the Bosphorus and the Istanbul skyline, framed by the famous suspension bridge joining Europe with Asia. What's the trade-off? It comes down to physics: The distance from town that allows such a great vantage point also means a $20, traffic-heavy cab ride each way, unless you rely on the infrequent public ferries (which don't run past early evening) or the hotel's private launch (five departures daily). For some, especially those visiting Istanbul for a longer period, the sense of seclusion might turn to one of isolation.
From the editors of Condé Nast Traveler:Istanbul's Asian coast, lined with wooden yali (waterside mansions where wealthy Turks spend their summers), has charming little neighborhoods, including bustling Çengelköy, now the site of one of the city's most luxurious boutique hotels. Meticulously created from a former factory that manufactured raki—the local anise-flavored drink.—the Sumahan sits near the soaring Bosphorus Bridge, at the edge of the water. Its 18 modernist, high-tech rooms overlook the twinkling lights of the European side. Lower-floor rooms have French doors that open onto a shared lawn. The reservations-only restaurant, Kordon, serves world-class Turkish cuisine. (Caveat: Seafood from the overfished Mediterranean is expensive, and a full dinner can run well over $100 a head.) A hotel boat is available to ferry visitors to places of interest along the Bosphorus. 2006 Hot List
When to go: April, May, June, September, and October, to avoid the summer crowds and humidity.
Which room to book: Executive Suites, for their marble bathrooms and exquisite views (doubles, $220).
Amenities: 24-hour Room Service, Gym, PoolSubscribe now to Condé Nast Traveler for just $1 an issue! ›