As a member of the Leading Hotels of the World, this small luxury hotel has been a gateway to the ages-old culture of living by the Bosphorus, since its opening in 2005. The 30-km long natural strait dividing Asia from Europe has fed the heart and spirit of the city since mythological times. The Ottomans made most out of the Bosphorus, though, with exquisite summer mansions -yalis- they built on both banks, of which only 600 survives today.
Sumahan occupies a 19th-century Ottoman distillery dedicated to the production of “suma” –the base alcohol used to make the strong Turkish spirit called “rakı”. The family who owned the factory for generations has decided to transform it into a sophisticated haven for visitors, reflecting their personal gusto as professional architects and designers.
The result is 13 elegant rooms and suites, all with clean modernist design, log burning fireplaces and unmatched panoramic Bosphorus views. Some even have private en-suite marble Turkish baths, while rooms on the lower floor open onto a shared garden through French doors.The hotel’s private boat is ready to transport visitors anywhere in the city with an extra fee as well. So, it doesn’t get better than this, if you’d like to stay away from the hustle and bustle of the city, and understand what Istanbul is all about!
The hotel’s in-house Waterfront Restaurant offers an all-day Mediterranean-inspired menu to the visitors coming from outside the hotel for business lunch, or a romantic occasion. The location and elegance of the hotel also make it one of the top spots for boutique weddings in the city.
On the southern corner of the property stands a small -still functioning- lighthouse painted in red and white stripes. Being one of the nineteen lighthouses found on the shores of the Bosphorus, it sends red light signals guiding the freighters, ferryboats and local fishermen.
The Asian side of the Bosphorus is usually regarded as off the beaten tourist path, but you might enjoy doing the following: Visit Beylerbeyi Palace, have breakfast at Çınaraltı Cafe in Çengelköy, eat yogurt at Kanlıca, visit the centuries-old castle of Anadolu Hisarı by Göksu River, which was one of the most popular recreation spots of the city in Ottoman times.