INTRODUCTION

The Gezi Hotel Bosphorus is part of the Design Hotel brand, which is currently partnered with the Starwood Hotels and Resorts chain.  I am currently working on attaining platinum status in Starwood’s loyalty program SPG, so staying at this property made sense because the rate included breakfast and I have no meaningful status with SPG at the moment.

Officially, SPG elite members staying at Design Hotels receive no real benefits except receiving points and stay/night credits.  However, as I will discuss, this is not always the case.

The Gezi Hotel Bosphorus is centrally located in Istanbul, opposite Gezi Park and about a 3 minute walk from Taksim Square.  From there, one can easily access Istiklal Avenue for a spot of shopping or visit the nearby boutiques and attractions.  Transport is also convenient with the funcular and metro nearby.

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From the airport, the hotel is about a 30-75 minute drive, depending on traffic conditions.  Although in Istanbul, you always want to account for the worst, as congestion is often terrible at best.


CHECK IN

The lobby of the hotel is quite chic and the decor really brings out the boutique nature of the property.  Upbeat music quietly pulsates to add to the fun vibes, without being overwhelmed with bass.  Indeed the soundtrack reminds me a little of Aloft lobbies, but dialled down and slightly classier.

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Upon arrival, the concierge welcomed me and my partner, and escorted us to the big armchairs in front of reception, where we were served a refreshing fruity tea.

Check-in was efficient and we were informed that we had been upgraded to a Deluxe Bosphorus Room as we were SPG members.  Again, I had no meaningful status with SPG at the time and we had made an SPG best rate guarantee claim for the base room booked.  More details on the very well run SPG BRG program can be found here.  I am not sure if this upgrade was because of the hotel recently partnering with SPG, but the upgrade was nevertheless appreciated and a welcome surprise.

We were then led to our room, for which I did not feel a tip was expected, but I gave one anyway.


THE ROOM

The room itself was also very chic with nice views of the Bosphorus Strait over to the Asian side of Istanbul.  There was a small window for fresh air, which is quite useful as the room itself is quite small.

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The floor was layered with wood, which I think really complemented the rest of the room’s design.  A comfortable armchair and coffee table also sits next to the floor to ceiling windows, perfect for lounging around and enjoying the Bosphorus view.

Incidentally, my partner and I were celebrating an anniversary and a cake was brought up to us free of charge.  It was a rich chocolate cake with pistachios to boot.  Absolute divine.

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The minibar was quite well stocked, with a decent array of options.  The snacks in particular were quite impressive with selections not typically found elsewhere.  It reminded me of selections at W Hotels, which I think is a good model for what minibars should be like.  Prices were also very reasonable.

Complimentary tea, coffee and mineral water were also provided.


BATHROOM

The bathroom is quite compact but makes efficient use of space.  I’m glad they decided against a bathtub and shower combo, as there is nothing worse!  The fit out is in full marble, with a spacious shower cavern complete with a rainforest shower.  It is bathrooms like these that make it worthy of the Design Hotel branding.

For the naughty couples, blinds in the bathroom can be opened so that the bedroom is visible from the bathroom and vice versa.  However, for a bit more privacy, the blinds can be shut, but there would still be certain angles from which the inside of the bathroom can be seen.

Soft and fluffy branded bathrobes are also available.

The hotel uses the Aromatherapy Associates line of bathroom amenities, which is a Conrad hotel standard.  I love these amenities and could steal these all day every day!  Dental kits are a cute and compact in-house brand, but only available on request.

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FACILITIES

The hotel has a spa which in my opinion was quite overpriced.  I would have liked to try it, but would probably only do so if the price was halved.

The gym is also very basic and is located within the spa premises.  Unfortunately, when I visited, the gym was undergoing some sort of maintenance.  Nevertheless, there were only about 5 machines and not conducive to a good workout.DSC03237


BREAKFAST

A complimentary buffet breakfast was also included in the rate.  I wouldn’t classify it as a full hot buffet breakfast, but more of a continental plus variety.  It was still very satisfying however, with a decent spread of choices.

In keeping with the Turkish tradition, baked goods were also available, along with honeycomb and other condiments.  Fresh orange juice was also available.

The restaurant itself was gorgeous with an eye-catching combination of marble and timber.  You can also eat on the outdoor balcony, but I found it a little too cold to be sitting outside.

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The wait staff were also attentive with removing used plates and refilling tea/coffee.  All in all, the breakfast was delicious and a great experience.  I would definitely return if in Istanbul again.


OVERALL

The Gezi Hotel Bosphorus is well-situated in Istanbul in a quiet area, but a stone’s throw away from the hustle and bustle.  While the rooms are small, the hard product is on point and the service immaculate.

I paid around 100 USD per night here and coupled with an SPG promotion of staying three nights equalling a free night certificate (see here), I thought the value was unbeatable.

I really do hope that the hotel’s partnership with SPG brings it a solid influx of business as I really do think it punches above its weight.  Its boutique flare brings to the Starwood family a breath of fresh air in what can sometimes be a vanilla chain hotel experience.

Highly recommended.

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