The rebirth of Istanbul’s Bosphorus
Even if you are not staying in one of the elite hotels, take advantage of the unbeatable Bosphorus views with a laidback hotel restaurant lunch on the water. A more adventurous option, however, is to take the complimentary shuttle from Kabataş out to Sumahan on the Water, a raki distillery-turned-boutique hotel on the east shores of Çengelköy. With a glorious waterfront terrace, and some of the city’s finest modern seafood tapas at the in-house restaurant Tapasuma, the hotel is starting to change people’s perceptions of what has traditionally been known as “the other side”.
On the return journey from the hotel’s Beşiktaş launch point, the varnished-wood powerboat glides past the Ottoman-era Dolmabahçe Palace – built in 1865 when this was the city’s prime strip of real estate – and the waterfront Ortaköy mosque, arguably even more stunning than the Blue Mosque in Sultanahmet. The boat then passes the open-air summer nightclubs Reina, Sortie and Supperclub; the seafood restaurants on Galatasaray Islet, including an outpost of the perennially popular 360 brand, 360 Suada Club; and under the Bosphorus Bridge, a titanic span of engineering and steel.
Ultimately, a small journey such as this is a snapshot of Istanbul in microcosm – but if the Turkish government can pull it off, perhaps the greatest days in the life of the Bosphorus are yet to come.