Architecture / Interior /

The 8 Luxurious Hotels of the Orient World

For many centuries, history has recorded that the Orient has consistently been among the most opulent parts of the world. From palaces to artisan works, the Oriental world continues this tradition in a way which is still relevant in the modern day. Over the last 10 months, I have been travelling to the ancient city of Byzantium (now is Istanbul), all the way up to 3,000 meter above sea level to another ancient city of Lijiang, down to the shore of the Lhaviyani Atolls in the Maldives, and finally to Singapore to find eight luxury hotels that still keep the spirit of Oriental world opulence.


Ciragan Palace Kempinski Istanbul:
The Novel Royal

The tale of this grand palace situated by the famous Bosphorus strait started nearly 400 years ago at the beginning of the 17th century when Damat Ibrahim Pasha of Neveshir built a summer mansion here for his wife. However, it was not until 1857 when Sultan Abdulmecid decided to build a new palace and demolished the existing structure. The palace was finally completed in 1871 by Sultan Abdulaziz and given its name “Ciragan” that means ‘light spreading’ in Persian.


Ciragan Palace has witnessed everything from lavish parties, historic love affairs, and even hosted a great ceremony for the Ottoman parliament after the announcement of the Constitutional Monarchy II, following the reign of Sultan Abdulhamit II. In 1910, the palace was badly damaged by fire and although, in 1930, there was a notion to turn the palace into a hotel, this never happened and the building remained abandoned. The hotel that we now know finally came to being in 1992 when a complete restoration and construction was undertaken to bring the palace back to its former glory. Further renovation was also done in 2007 to further enhance its character and elegant style.


Ciragan Palace is now a complex where the existing building has been augmented with additional modern buildings in order to increase the number of rooms. As a result, the entire establishment has 313 rooms, including 20 suites in the hotel and 11 suites in the historical palace. Design aficionados will find much to appreciate in this heritage hotel, as there are so many fine elements from the original architecture to the modern design that has been done with obvious respect to the history of the palace.


We can admire the Sultan Suite on the second floor of the historical palace that spans over 400 sqm and overlooks the Bosphorus. It is one of the largest suites in the world and comes equipped with state-of the-art technology and features a lavish living room, a dining room for 12 people, two large guestrooms, a kitchenette, and an outstanding master bedroom that would be perfect for a real-life king. Inside this master bedroom, for example, there is a marble hammam (Turkish bath) with a private steam room and rain shower. Everything in this suite is colossal, including the imperial style furniture with Ottoman motifs and accessories that date back to the 19th century. The palace itself boasts beautiful details and one gigantic feature known as the Grand Chandelier, dubbed the biggest Viennese Baroque example in the world. Designed by Mehmet Sevsevil and his company LUMEX between 1989 and 1991, this 2.7-tonne chandelier has 232 lamps featuring all hand cut and polished pieces. Prepare to have a genuine royal life when you stay at Ciragan Palace Kempinski Istanbul.

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