Over the past decade Istanbul has made aggressive headway in the contemporary culture arena. With the opening of the Istanbul Modern and innovative galleries like Arter and Galerist, the city offers a rich spectrum of art and exploration. A new generation of filmmakers, fashion designers, musicians and artists are proudly claiming the city home, and now, the newly opened Le Méridien hotel in the chic Etiler neighborhood offers creative-minded visitors a place in the center of it all for a first-class Istanbul experience.
The 34-story building takes on the shape of stacked cubes, towering over the nearby Bosphorus building. Designed by Turkish architect Emre Arolat, the hotel features 259 comfortable guest rooms and 21 long-stay suites with floor-to-ceiling windows. Set at the point where east meets west, the building gets gradually transparent as it rises, providing mesmerizing views of both Europe and Asia.
Le Méridien's cultural curator, Jerome Sans (of Palais de Tokyo fame) helped lay the groundwork for building a hotel for the creative class in Istanbul. In addition to the city housing a new wave of artistic creation, Istanbul also has a nightlife to rival any major center. "It's a city that almost invented the rooftop bar," says Sans.
In keeping with the Le Méridien ethos, the Istanbul Etiler aims to provide guests with new experiences to enrich their minds if they so choose. The Unlock Art program features an artist-designed key card that opens not only your room, but also provides complimentary entry into cultural monuments in the city, including the Istanbul Modern. Sans chose :mentalKLINIK, an Istanbul duo who focus their art on modern habits and consumption, to design the first set of key cards for the hotel. The duo also designed an Illy set specifically for the hotel, a gold-adorned espresso cup and saucer that can be twisted and turned to form a variety of design combinations.
The interior design draws upon themes of cartography and Turkish heritage—the custom-made lobby rug weaves an interpretation of the Bosphorus, while the concierge desk reflects the lines of the Gallatin bridge. Another floor carpet maps out a grid of Istanbul, and lines running throughout the Latitude Bar bring to mind longitude and latitude. The coffee parlor features basket chairs, situated to encourage conversation among strangers and tables modeled after the shape of Turkish tea cups. The furniture throughout the hotel features mid-century modern pieces done in simple textiles.
At night the Latitude Bar turns into a boozy haven, welcoming in guests after a day of city exploration. The Boaz Bar, located on the 34th floor offers a 360° view of the Bosphorus. It has quickly become a sought-out destination on Istanbul's nightlife circuit.
Thankfully the expansive Explore Spa helps guest regenerate the next day. With a mix of classic European treatments and a Hamman, the Explore Spa offers signature treatments like a hot grape seed oil massage and a traditional Turkish bath on a heated marble bed. An open relaxation room encourages guests to meet and mingle after a dip in one of the indoor or outdoor pools.
Rooms at Le Méridien Istanbul Etiler start at 250€ per night.
Le Méridien Istanbul Etiler
Cengiz Topel Caddesi No. 39, 34337
Etiler, Istanbul, Turkey