September 25, 2016

Review: St. Regis Istanbul

Introduction Part Two
Planning & Booking
Sheraton JFK Airport
Lufthansa Business Class Lounge JFK
Turkish Airlines Business Class 777-300ER New York (JFK) to Istanbul
Turkish Airlines Istanbul Arrivals Lounge
St. Regis Istanbul
Turkish Airlines CIP Lounge Istanbul
Turkish Airlines Business Class A330-300 Istanbul to Male
Transfer from Male to Conrad Maldives
Conrad Maldives
Transfer from Conrad Maldives to Male
Singapore Airlines Business Class 777-200 Male to Singapore
Crowne Plaza Changi Airport Singapore
Singapore Airlines SilverKris Business Class Lounge to Singapore
Singapore Airlines Business Class 777-300ER Singapore to Tokyo (HND)
Andaz Tokyo
ANA Suite Lounge Tokyo (NRT)
ANA First Class 777-300ER Tokyo (NRT) to San Francisco

We exited the airport and hopped in a cab for the 30 minute ride to the St. Regis.  Our driver spoke broken English but I showed him the hotel address and location on my phone and he seemed to know where he was going.  The ride was gorgeous - the sun was still coming up, traffic was light, and we drove along the Sea of Marmara most of the way into town.  Istanbul is among our favorite cities in the world and the it felt so good to be back after all that's happened just enjoying the scenery.

St. Regis Istanbul views
We made it to the Nisanti area where the St. Regis is located and guided the driver to the hotel.  He was on the phone and blew past the entrance.

St. Regis Istanbul exterior
We were stuck at a stop sign trying to convince him to let us out vs. going around the block.  He finally relented and we walked half a block to the lobby entrance.  Cabs in Istanbul are ridiculous.

We made our way inside the lobby and were blown away.  The St. Regis Istanbul is designed in an "art deco" style with a super glossy upgrade.  Glossy everything everywhere.  But we didn't find any of the design to be overdone and it just seemed to work.

St. Regis Istanbul lobby
St. Regis Istanbul lobby
Tom Ford in the lobby
We had booked an Amex FHR rate and notified the hotel that we'd be arriving around 8AM.  They were ready for us and check-in formalities were processed quickly and we were soon on our way up to the room escorted by one of the hotel associates.

St. Regis Istanbul hallway art
St. Regis Istanbul hallway
St. Regis Istanbul wall paneling
The process of being escorted up to the room is annoying.  I could see this being helpful if you had a ton of baggage, kids, or needed help with something specific.  But in this case, we just wanted to get up to the room and get going.

We were shown to our room (509) which boasted an amazing room of the Bosphorus.

St. Regis Istanbul view
There was a super comfortable bed that we wouldn't be taking advantage of given our 2AM flight.

St. Regis Istanbul bed
A giant desk.

St. Regis Istanbul desk
Juliet balcony with a couple of sitting swivel chairs.

St. Regis Istanbul views
The high gloss continued in the bathroom.

St. Regis Istanbul bathroom
St. Regis Istanbul bathroom
And a walk in closet which we didn't snap a picture of.  I generally find the St. Regis brand to be a bit over the top without a ton of substance.  We've enjoyed our previous St. Regis stays in San Francisco and Bali but I'd choose a Park Hyatt over a St. Regis most days.

St. Regis Istanbul television
In this case, we wanted to try something knew given our previous stay at the Park Hyatt in Istanbul.  We found this St. Regis to be excellent.  There's definitely both style and substance to this outpost.

We unpacked a bit and headed out for a day in Istanbul.  We returned in the late afternoon to relax a bit and headed to the spa.  Beyond the spa and Turkish bath, the hotel has thee relaxation pool/rooms which we took full advantage of.

St. Regis Istanbul relaxation pool 1
St. Regis Istanbul relaxation pool 2 
St. Regis Istanbul relaxation pool 3
The spa was empty and the attendants were more than happy to show us to the large relaxation pool and close the door behind them so we could swim/relax without anyone bothering us.

After cleaning up a bit we headed to the rooftop Spago and burned our FHR credit on a few snacks and cocktails.  We had the place to ourselves and enjoyed the perfect weather and unreal views that make Istanbul so special.

St. Regis Istanbul Spago
St. Regis Istanbul views from the roof
St. Regis Istanbul Spago cocktails
After walking around the city a bit more and packing up, it was time to check-out and head back to the airport for our flight to the Maldives!

Final Thoughts:

We loved our 14 hour stay at the St. Regis Istanbul.  The hotel is beautiful inside and out and we found the service to be pretty good.  The location is removed from the hustle/bustle but close enough that you can get to all of the main tourist sites easily.  While we loved our previous stay at the Park Hyatt, if I had to choose, the St. Regis would win.

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