When it opens on September 1st this year, Raffles Istanbul will be the perfect embodiment of the ‘new’ face of Istanbul: cutting-edge, eclectic and energetic.
The hotel is at the heart of the Zorlu Center, a new hub for fashion, food and the arts on the European shore in Beşiktaş - overlooking the Bosphorus, the Princess Islands and the historic peninsula.
This is a next-generation bazaar, where fashion, performance and art converge.
Like those of its stylish sister, Le Royal Monceau – Raffles Paris, the sleek modern interiors at Raffles Istanbul will be embellished with an impressive collection of artwork, specially commissioned from local artists, a mix of paintings, sculpture, photography and video installations.
These will all come together under the common influence of Turkish culture and heritage, giving the hotel a strong sense of place.
And as in Paris, Raffles Istanbul will have an Art Concierge, to steer clients through the city’s exciting new art scene which, over the last few years, has shifted from heavily traditional to a reinvigorated one, energetically celebrating its new generation of artists.
The Istanbul Museum of Modern Art, Turkey’s first private museum to stage modern and contemporary art exhibitions, was founded in 2004 on the shores of the Bosphorus, and in 2012 the contemporary art space SALT opened.
Last year a number of Istanbul art galleries attended Frieze London, as well as Art Basel in Basel and Hong Kong.
Art lovers are not the only ones beating a path to Istanbul: fashionistas have it in their sights too.
From cutting-edge to haute-couture, Turkish fashion designers are the ones to watch. Istanbul is full of one-of-a-kind boutiques and edgy concept stores, filled with home-grown talent alongside international names.
As well as having designer shops on its doorstep, Raffles Istanbul will offer its guests a personal shopping and styling service, to take them on a fashion trail through the city.
Peter French, president, Raffles Hotels & Resorts, explained: “Turkey is a rising star of the global economy and Istanbul is a rising star of global tourism.
“It is a meeting place between East and West, between Asia and Europe. A city on which, over many centuries, great civilisations and cultures have left their mark.
“Travellers have come to Istanbul for thousands of years: it is a place where people meet, exchange ideas, tell stories, rest, refresh and set out again on their journeys. And it is this tradition of bringing people together – which is very much part of the Raffles philosophy – that is an essential feature of the story of Raffles in Istanbul.
“The Zorlu Center is a new destination for the city of Istanbul and for people from all around the world.
“A new icon, both in function and design – very much like our hotels, wherever they are.”