It was 2300hrs when I walked into Shangri-La Bosphorus on a breezy June night. It had been a long and hectic day. I was hungry, tired and wanted to sink into the sheets. As I walked in to the hotel lobby, I was greeted by warm smiles from the staff and my luggage was taken away to be deposited in the room. The only thought in my head was – How could they be smiling? Our group was more than 2 hours late (courtesy formalities at the airport & purchasing local SIM cards) and we were way past the dinner time.
As I walked towards IST TOO (Shangri-La Bosphorus restaurant serving a combination of Asian and Mediterranean cuisines) for dinner, I came upon the stunning sight of a Chandelier, three storey long, sparkling in all its glory. That was the moment I fell in love with Shangri-La.
The restaurant staff and chef’s were all waiting for us with a smile on their face; and the hustle bustle began in the now-closed restaurant. Stewards appeared from nowhere, dishes after dishes of authentic turkish delights were placed in front of us. At the end of the meal that last about 2 hours, the Chef (A Japanese gentleman) came out of the kitchen and introduced himself and thanked us for joining him that evening for a meal. He had a smile on his tired face at 2am. That is hospitality & service of gold standard.
We retired into our room for the night or what was left of it.
I woke up next morning to the view of Bosphorus! Wikipedia:The Bosphorus or Bosporus is a natural strait and internationally-significant waterway located in northwestern Turkey that forms part of the continental boundary between Europe and Asia, and separates Asian Turkey from European Turkey.
That’s when I noticed a tray beautifully plated with Macaroons and Baklava.
Breakfast was a lavish buffet laid out at IST TOO. I saw the restaurant clearly for the first time in the morning.
After a heart breakfast which comprised of almost everything under the sun, we left the hotel for sightseeing. The hotel concierge assisted us with booking taxi’s, gave us maps and some tips for sightseeing in Istanbul.
I stayed 2 nights in Shangri-La Bosphorus and the place is guaranteed to take your breath away. They also have a in-house Turkish Bath Hamam which I unfortunately did not have the time to use.
I I also took a tour of the fully equipped fitness centre and the indoor heated swimming pool. Ms. Figen Caglar, Director of Sales & Marketing at Shangri-La Bosphorus gave us a tour of the hotel on day two of our stay.
What I found most stunning, apart from the chandelier ofcourse, were the grand Shangri-La Ballrooms. The hotel has two magnificent ballrooms that can accommodate about 100 to 550 persons. I was lucky to have witnessed the ballroom getting decorated for a upcoming wedding during the tour. It was a scene straight out of ‘The Wedding Planner’.
On every nightstand in every room of the hotel is kept a copy of Lost Horizon by British author James Hilton. Hilton describes Shangri-La as a mystical, harmonious valley and ever since Shangri-La has become synonymous with any earthly paradise.
Shangri-La Bosphorous is aptly called so, for its a earthly paradise for us mere mortals.
I visited Istanbul, Turkey as part of a FAM Trip organized by BAQAA Glamour Weddings & Events in collaboration with AIR ARABIA and Shangri-La Bosphorus. Mercury Travels along with other well known brands were invited to be a part of this FAM trip. The thoughts and views are my own.