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Jumeirah's Pera Palace Hotel: A Step Back in Time with a Modern New Look

Photos/Video Credit: Jumeirah

When visiting the historic city of Istanbul, looming large on the Bosphorus Strait, one hotel stands out: Jumeirah's Pera Palace, centrally located in Istanbul’s historic Beyoglu neighborhood. The hotel made a grand entrance when it opened in 1895, and became the illustrious property to house passengers traveling on the distinguished Orient Express, while showcasing the epitome of comfort. The extravagant rail journey from Paris first began direct service to Istanbul in 1889, making ancient Constantinople the elevated train journey's final eastern-most conclusion.

Pera Palace

Pera Palace revealed a €23 million renovation in 2010, unveiling a chic and elegantly modern new look. That said, a stay at the property is still like taking a step back in time to when attention to every detail mattered. The original design by local resident and French-trained architect Alexander Vallaury, blends inspiration from Istanbul’s cultural diversity with neo-classical design, combined with Art Nouveau and Oriental themes.

Pera Palace

The first luxury property in the celebrated citadel the Pera Palace was also the first to offer electricity and hot running water in all rooms. The hotel calls back to those days by still boasting a classic electric elevator, that was the first in Istanbul; the same cast iron design and wood has been kept intact, the same as it was from its inception.

Pera Palace

Also harkening back to the past, the 115 opulent rooms (including 16 suites; 39 rooms with balconies overlooking the Golden Horn; 44 deluxe rooms overlook the surrounding Pera area and nine studios) come complete with original 19th-century fixtures, including white Carrara marble and exquisite Murano glass chandeliers. All rooms and suites are furnished with hand woven carpets, Turkish and Italian fabrics and artworks; the marble bathrooms were created to resemble a traditional hammam. The Piano Suite includes an August Fürster piano and two Presidential suites are named after King Edward VIII and Emperor Franz Joseph who frequented the property during their times. 

Pera Palace

Mired deep in Istanbul’s past as a destination for Istanbul’s salon society; Pera Palace is a place where guests have historically witnessed afternoon tea and raucous parties continuing late into the night. The storied property was further immortalized in Agatha Christie’s 1934 time-honored detective novel, Murder on the Orient Express. Christie stayed in room 411, where she supposedly wrote the fabled novel. Many rooms are named after the luminaries like Mata Hari, actress Greta Garbo, writer Ernest Hemmingway, Emperor Franz Joseph and King Edward VIII, who frequented the opulent bar with its large, colorful, elegant stain glassed windows.

Pera Palace

Today, guests of the hotel have the opportunity to mingle with the erudite enlightened society of modern day Istanbul. The aptly-named Agatha Restaurant remains one of Istanbul’s finest dining options and features a fusion of Turkish, French and Italian cuisine. Or cure your sweet tooth at the colorful belle-opaque style Patisserie de Pera, where guests will find Turkish coffee along with decadent eclairs, tarts, and cakes. The grandiose Kubbeli Lounge is the place for ostentatious gatherings for Istanbul residents socializing over after afternoon tea. 

Pera Palace

After a long day exploring the city, the Pera Spa by Spa Soul provides a much needed a quick recharge from the hurried streets of Istanbul. The spa offers a traditional Turkish steam bath or hammam, which first became fashionable during the Ottoman rule beginning in the 1400s. There is also a Jacuzzi and a traditional sauna, along with an indoor jet-steamed heated swimming pool available year round.

Pera Palace

The greatest hits of fairy tale Istanbul are all within walking distance from Pera Palace: the Bosphorus, Galata Tower and the infamous shopping street of Istiklal are a stone's throw away. Over the course of over 100 years, the hotel has remained mostly unchanged and its noble charm still stands head and shoulders above many other properties, in a unique destination that intertwines the flavors of both Europe and Asia. It's a fantastic location to call home during a stay in the iconic city.

Nicholas Kontis

Nicholas Kontis was born on one of the most breathtaking islands in the world, Santorini, Greece, and brought up in America's culture capital of San Francisco. Nick developed a passion for travel at a very young age, going back and forth between San Francisco and Athens, Greece during summer vacation. At age 12 he learned the meaning of travel by staying in various relatives homes, sleeping on cou...(Read More)

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