Pera Palace Hotel – The heart of Pera (the historical name of Beyoğlu)

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Pera Palace Hotel – The heart of Pera (the historical name of Beyoğlu)

When my steps took me to Pera Palace Hotel for the first time, I wondered why our family's second grandma, Zeynep, wanted to show me a hotel. What interesting things we could find in a hotel when we had whole Istanbul in front of our eyes? I couldn't have been more wrong!

Pera Palace Hotel has its own particularly unique soul. It finally even seduced us to consider seriously staying at night though our home was nearby. I always say that our family’s unique cat, Altan, is not just a cat – in the same way, Pera Palace Hotel is not just a hotel.

Pera Palace Hotel in the evening light.

Pera Palace Hotel is more than just one of the Turkey’s most elegant hotels; it is a historic monument that represents the character, style and spirit of Istanbul. Pera Palace Hotel is elegantly displaying the historical sense of Istanbul. The hotel has welcomed its guests in Pera (Beyoğlu, on the European side) with its 127 years of experience, the customer service is especially friendly. The location is also great, within walking distance of Istiklal Street and Taksim Square.

The reception hall.

Pera Palace Hotel is preserved neo-classical icon dating back to the 19th century. It has a unique atmosphere with a remarkable history, comfort conditions of the modern world including Finnish sauna and Turkish hamam. Even though we are in the heart of historic Istanbul which is normally very populated with tourists, the view is surprisingly peaceful. The architecture is a blend of neo-classical, art nouveau and oriental style. The building was sketched with 115 rooms including 16 suites. Each one is distinctively designed to display unique details and to combine with more than hundred years of history. That provides the hotel its incomparable grace.

The architect of Pera Palace Hotel was Alexandre Vallaury. His handprint is visible in many iconic and remarkable buildings of Istanbul, including Istanbul Archaeological Museums, for instance.

The Kubbeli Lounge where the afternoon tea is served accompanied by gentle piano music.

Opened in 1895, the Pera Palace Hotel is one of the most brilliant buildings in Istanbul. It was the first building in the Ottoman Empire to be powered by electricity, other than the Ottoman Palaces. It was also the only place in the city to accommodate hot running water for its guests and was home to the first electric elevator in Istanbul. (The elevator is particularly beautiful and you can still see it in the hotel as a memento.)

Istanbul´s first electric elevator at Pera Palace Hotel.

Pera Palace Hotel has hosted many firsts in Istanbul throughout its history

The first art exhibition, the first New Year party… In the period which the hotel was built; the first art exhibition in Istanbul, which consists of works of Şeker Ahmet Paşa, was held here. On the New Year’s Eve of 1925, the first New Year ball in Istanbul was at Pera Palace Hotel too.

The kitchen of the hotel has similarly served many firsts to its guests. Pera Palace Hotel’s cookery was the first kitchen where curry spices were used in the Ottoman Empire. The first turtle soup was also cooked in this kitchen.

Turkish coffee served just for you.

Have you seen Hercule Poirot there?

The passengers of the Orient Express, the luxurious train that traveled from Paris to Istanbul after an 80-hour journey in 1888, were usually high-class bureaucrats, writers, and rich people. The hotel was built for luxurious accommodation for the Orient Express travellers. Amongst some famous people are King  Edward VIII, Queen  Elizabeth II, Austria-Hungary Emperor Franz Joseph, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Greta Garbo, Sarah Bernhardt, Alfred Hitchcock, Jacqueline Kennedy, Ernest Hemingway, Mata Hari and Cicero.

The historic and luxurious lobby made for the entertainment of the guests.

Pera Palace Hotel is recognized as a museum-hotel due to its rooms full of memories of famous guests. There you can also find the rooms that converted to museums. Did you know that Agatha Christie wrote her famous book “Murder on the Orient Express” at this hotel in 1934, in room 411 which she used to stay for a long time? Here you really can easily imagine to stumble upon Hercule Poirot. The room 101 is reserved as a museum for the memorial of  the founder of Turkish Republic Mustafa Kemal Atatürk who used to stay there for several years.

There is an attractive specialty that these museum rooms can also be booked. Do you want to stay in Agatha Christie’s or Atatürk’s room? Or maybe you´ll choose the room of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis or the suite of Alfred Hitchcock?

You can also see the memory of Orient Express at the hotel: the original sedan chair was used to carry passengers from the terminus of Orient Express (Sirkeci Train Station) to Pera Palace Hotel. The hotel will probably also surprise you: for example you will find there also the first washing machine of Miele; did you know it is made of wood?

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