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Review: the impressive St Regis Istanbul hotel

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This is my review of the St Regis Istanbul hotel.

Yesterday I reviewed my Turkish Airlines business class flight to Istanbul.  I was in the city for two nights and stayed at the new St Regis Istanbul hotel which I will review today.

The good news – after my bad experience at the St Regis in Doha – is that the St Regis Istanbul is fantastic.

Review St Regis Istanbul hotel

This hotel was designed with the St Regis brand and heritage in mind – Doha, on the other hand, is a very badly designed luxury hotel which could belong to any brand. 

The architect and designer of the Istanbul hotel went back to the art deco heritage of the original New York property and have created a beautiful modern take on art deco style.  If you are a fan of the design of the period then you will feel very much at home here.

The hotel is in the Nişantaşı district.  It is surrounded by luxury boutiques – a number of them occupy the ground floor of the hotel (the Tom Ford store has an entrance inside the lobby as well).  Your neighbours are Ferragamo, Tods, Lanvin and Alexander McQueen.

Wherever you stay in Istanbul, you will be reliant on taxis to get between the various main tourist sites so location is not so key.  Four Seasons Sultanahmet is the best luxury option for anyone who wants to walk to the Blue Mosque and other Old City destinations but you are in the middle of the main tourist hub.

I took the metro to the St Regis and regretted it – although, given that I landed at rush hour, a taxi may have been even more painful.  The odd layout of the metro lines means that the trip to the hotel is substantially longer than necessary and involves a change of train, and you still have to walk for 15 minutes.  Do yourself a favour and drive, especially if you have luggage.

The rooms at St Regis Istanbul

The St Regis Istanbul rooms are classy.  Very classy.  A lot of money has gone into original artworks:

Review St Regis Istanbul hotel

and (note there is a Nespresso machine on the shelf):

Review St Regis Istanbul hotel


Review St Regis Istanbul hotel


Review St Regis Istanbul hotel

one of the art deco touches:

Review St Regis Istanbul hotel

with very large bathrooms:

Review St Regis Istanbul hotel

and a separate dressing room:

Review St Regis Istanbul hotel

Even the lift lobby outside my room had impressive artwork:

Review St Regis Istanbul hotel

The public areas

You can see where the money went when the St Regis Istanbul was built.  Here is the double height lobby filled with display cabinets:

Review St Regis Istanbul hotel

As with most modern hotels, public space is relatively limited. Does anyone still build hotels like Claridges or the Savoy these days where you could literally sit around all day in a huge lobby?  There is an additional public area on a mezzanine floor overlooking the entrance but it is not a ‘people watching space’.

Every Wednesday night, the lobby is the home of ‘The St. Regis Champagne Ritual’.  As I was there on a Wednesday, it seemed rude not to pop down at 7pm.  Rui Reis, the General Manager and one of his colleagues each showed off their sabrage skills, slicing the neck off a bottle of champagne using a ceremonial knife! The champagne was then shared between the gathered guests.

Review St Regis Istanbul hotel

Breakfast is served in the ground floor restaurant which, again, is a great piece of design:

Review St Regis Istanbul hotel

There is not a huge amount of choice but that reflects the relatively small number of rooms (118) and potentially low season occupancy levels.  There is a decent list of additional hot items which can be cooked to order.

Review St Regis Istanbul hotel

It is worth adding at this point that the staff, to a fault, were excellent.  I was addressed by name throughout and, when I turned up for breakfast on the 2nd day with a cough and a sore throat, a glass of warm water with honey was brought to my table without asking.

On the top floor of the St Regis Istanbul is Spago, a rooftop restaurant overseen by Wolfgang Puck.  I don’t do restaurant reviews on HfP but, in general, I was not completely won over by it.  The fact that it was relatively empty on a Wednesday night made me feel that the opinion is shared.  The view is good:

Review St Regis Istanbul hotel Spago

but offering a Yorkshireman this as an amuse bouche is potentially a step too far 🙂

Review St Regis Istanbul hotel Spago

Finally, the spa.  I am not ‘a spa person’ so I will skip over that, suffice it to say that it looks lovely.  Like many hotel spas, it is below ground so has no natural light.  The one thing I did not like was the swimming pool which is very small and is reliant on a wave machine to produce a current you can swim against.


I hope I’ve shown you from my review of the St Regis Istanbul that it is a very accomplished new hotel, one which clearly cost a lot of money to build but shows it at every turn.  It is big enough to have good facilities but small enough so that you are not overrun, with some very classy rooms.

If you are planning a longer stay in Istanbul, perhaps four nights, it might be worth mixing this in with one of the Bosphorus hotels, possibly Four Seasons Hotel on the Bosphorus, to allow you to see different parts of the city.

Hotel rates in Istanbul are very low at the moment.  You can get the St Regis for under €300 on some nights.  ‘Second tier’ five star hotels such as the InterContinental are as low as €80.  Because of the recent security issues, I’m sure everyone involved in the tourism business in Istanbul would be pleased to see you.

You can find out more about the hotel, and book, on this page of the Starwood (now Marriott) website.

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Comments (12)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Nathan says:

    Back off to Istanbul again in May to visit the family in-laws and we tend to stay at the Conrad but it’s a bit out the way and as you’ve said, you become trapped by taxis and istanbuls infamous traffic.
    The crowne plaza looks particularly nice so might check that out at some point as sadly I have no status with SPG.. Although this article would have been a good opportunity to drop in propeller travel as they have some perks with SPG don’t they?

  • ringingup says:

    Raffles, it’s a suggestion and not a piece of criticism. Your photos, compared to photos on other travel blogs, are often sub-standard. I think it’s both a combination of the camera you use (?) but most of all their size, which is far too small in my opinion. What do you think? Maybe I’m just selfish and I would like to see more! 🙂

    • Raffles says:


      • Alan says:

        From looking at the softness and slight flare around the lights in the shots I think it might also be worth giving the lens (I’m guessing of your phone) a wee quick polish too? I know I’ve found that always having a camera on me is great, having the phone in your pocket does mean it can collect a bit of dirt.

    • Sven Luckermans says:

      I can guarantee you, ringingup that making your pictures look good takes (too) much time 😉

  • Daz says:

    The St Regis Istanbul looks nice.
    I know what you mean about the St Regis in Doha and that’s why I won’t be paying my Qatar visa fee again. It had the panache of dog poo!

  • Genghis says:

    I still don’t understand large plates with tiny bits of food on them.

    Looks like a decent hotel. Shame I’ve booked my hotel for IST next month already.

    • harry says:

      well I wouldn’t say amuse bouche but amuse gueule

      bit more vulgar but true

      they are just tasters

      best on a small white plate, you’re right

      shows the people concerned are numpties

  • Danksy says:

    I’m in moscow during May and have a 2 nights where I haven’t yet booked… I do really fancy the St. Regis there… has anyone been?

  • Oz says:

    Raffles, I’,m guessing you went to the hotel restaurant for the purpose of reviewing it or maybe were invited, but thinking about the tourists who stay there, who would travel all the way to Istanbul and then go to a restaurant where Californian food is served? Especially in a country where you can have many different types of food or try regional dishes where there is a huge variety between them.

    I have just checked the menu and I can see they’ve ignored local dishes completely and are offering food that can only be made using frozen ingredients imported from thousands of miles away. Quite a few internationally known restaurants opened up branches in Istanbul in the last 5 years with the same approach, and they all closed within a year or two.

    I hope you had time to try something better 🙂

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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