As its name indicates, the Sumahan on the Water is a little world on the water. Inside, it displays a balance of lines and shapes that create a modern style and is never cold. This is a bit of a surprise given the exterior aspect of the building, which management wanted to keep as nondescript as possible.
This effort to go unnoticed speaks of the attention afforded to the guests, in terms of welcome, service, and cuisine. The Sumahan blends luxury and attention to detail together with know-how, efficiency, good taste, and quality.
It also commands one of the finest views of the Bosphorus there is. It really is in a league of its own.
The hotel is located on the Asia-side of the river, which you get to by crossing the spectacular bridge that connects the two banks. The hotel stands on a road with little traffic that runs through a couple of central neighbourhoods before continuing on towards Cengelkoy (5 minutes away from the establishment).
It is in a highly residential neighbourhood with a lot of greenery and a suburban look about it. The nearby centre of Cengelkoy is home to a colourful market, whereas the port from which you can catch a boat to the other bank is only 20 minutes away by public transport.
This hotel occupies a former Raki distillery that was in operation in the 19th century but has since been renovated.
It was designed and renovated by the Butlers, a famous family of architects in Istanbul, and it has rapidly become a reference among the capital's luxury hotels
The Sumahan offers a mix of architectural and esthetic qualities but never becomes too conceptual.
The hotel's new look is the work of the Butler family (one of the most famous family of architects in Istanbul): it's a marvellous 5 star hotel that boasts a harmonious organisation of its different spaces and superb renovations.
This former 19th century Raki distillery overlooking the Bosphorus is a fine example of post-industrial architecture and an interesting model of renovation.
We were impressed by this ability to let emotions be expressed through architecture. The materials (wood and marble, steel and bricks, linen and embroidery) and the colours (green, grey, and blue), blend in with the pure lines that cut through the space and point upwards, offering a modern interpretation of traditional architecture.
The heart of the Sumahan is the central area next to reception, a place to relaxation and to read (with a nice bookshelf with numerous works on architecture) where you can enjoy the warmth of the fireplace in winter. It's a calm, well-lit, and simple area.
The same simplicity marks the corridors in the brick walls leading to the rooms. Outside (Bosphorus-side), their style is a little more classic: this is where the hotel's private ferry is moored. It does two crossings to the European bank per day.
Spacious and peaceful, the guest rooms at the Sumahan consist of two categories: deluxe rooms and suites (the latter come as junior, loft, family loft or executive): they offer all sorts of amenities, without being overdone, and will make your stay at the Sumahan extremely enjoyable.
Just like the common areas, the interior decorating in the rooms features a mix of materials (in the one we visited there was mainly steel and marble) and clever perspectives.
Once again, the lines point upwards and converge towards a single point that divides the space and shapes the light as it sifts through the large windows. The splashing sound of water is also an added pleasure for guests. You just need just choose if you'd rather sleep in a ground floor room (with a small private terrace) or one on the upper level.
Most of them also come with a fireplace and a Turkish-style bathtub.
This hotel is beyond reproach. The restaurant is decorated in light colour shades and offers a spectacular sea view. The food served is a rather elaborate nouvelle cuisine, but it's not overdone and the helpings are tasty and copious.
The room is located on the ground floor (next to reception, the stairs, and the lift) and looks out directly onto the Bosphorus: through the bay window you can see the jetty where the ferry is moored, and where a few deckchairs and tables have been placed to create an extra relaxation area in the sun.
You won't be disappointed by the menu, nor by the service. We particularly liked the risotto, which is served with mushrooms or with herbs: in both cases, it's delicious and perfectly well cooked.
The wine list offers a large selection and includes some international bottles.
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