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Grand Opening of Pera Palace Hotel, Istanbul

November 12, 2010


The following article appears in Robb Report’s “Grand Openings” issue, January, 2011.

by Emilie C. Harting

Pera Palace, built in 1894 as a luxury hotel for travelers at the end point of the Orient Express, has reopened after a two and one half year, $29 million renovation. The hotel had fallen into disrepair in the last few decades.  

Every pipe and cable in the lavish Neoclassic, Oriental, Art Nouveau structure has been replaced. A new glass roof has been added to the high central dome room.  Marble has been refurbished and gold leaf decorations have been meticulously repainted by artists. A vintage bird cage wood and iron elevator now rises up and down without a sound.

Guests now relax in a modern spa, hamam (Turkish bath), swimming pool, and  bar.   German Chef  Max Thomae’s  restaurant Agatha, one of four eating places, serves a blend of Turkish, Italian, and French cuisine.  The 115 rooms, including six suites, have spacious bathrooms, antique furniture, and Oushak carpets.

Agatha Christie’s room, 411, can be rented for $600.  It’s rumored that she wrote Murder on the Orient Express here.  Ernest Hemingway, Jackie Onassis, Alfred Hitchcock, and a long list of  actresses, artists, kings, queens, and czars have also been guests.

Located in the Beyoglu section, the hotel has sweeping views of Istanbul’s historic sites, and is within walking distance of the Pera Museum, Galata Tower, Istanbul’s wide pedestrian street Istiklal, and many small streets with artisan’s shops and restaurants.

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