Renaissance Istanbul is a modern, no-fuss option for travellers who prefer the reliability and ease of a chain hotel. From the sleek, towering facade to the refined common areas and rooms, the Renaissance is polished and inviting. Its setting, on the European side of Istanbul, is close to both the airport and the key sights of the Old City, making it ideal for quick layovers as well as longer stays. It attracts a mix of business and leisure travellers, most of whom make their way up to the restaurant and bar on the top floor in the evening to watch the sun set over Istanbul.
Rooms here are bright and business-like, decorated with warm woods, frosted glass and teal accents. Comfy beds fitted with crisp, white linens (and pillows of various firmness levels) are blissful after a lengthy flight or a day spent hoofing it around the city. Floor-to-ceiling windows offer sweeping views, particularly in the higher-floor rooms.
Long work desks with ergonomic chairs do double duty as mini-bar stations, with snacks, a mini-fridge and coffee-and-tea making facilities tucked in the lower shelves. Desks come with outlets for different plug types (handy for those of us who always forget to pack an adapter), along with flat-screen TVs, which are mounted to the wall above. Big, marble bathrooms have roomy vanities, along with separate showers and WCs.
The hotel’s piece de resistance is 212 restaurant and bar, set on the top floor, which offers magical views over the city and Bosphorus strait, plus great cocktails. It includes an outdoor patio that’s particularly lovely in the warmer months – it’s also heated for those who want to enjoy the view outside even when the temperatures drop. In addition to 212, there’s another elegant restaurant above the lobby, as well as a bistro.
The bright fitness centre has modern LifeFitness equipment and there’s also a spa with a sauna, steam room and – for those who don’t want to venture far to experience the local tradition – a Turkish bath. The heated indoor pool is overlooked by a triangular glass ceiling that lets in plenty of natural light, and includes a small whirlpool.
Located on the European side of Istanbul, the hotel is about a 15-minute drive from the hip restaurants and shops of the Beyoglu neighbourhood. It’s also a short drive away from shopping centres like Istinye Park Shopping Center and Kanyon. The attractions of the Old City, including Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace, can be reached in less than 25 minutes by car and it’s about a 30-minute drive to the airport.
Rooms start from $115 per night
Gayrettepe Mahallesi, Barbaros Blv. No: 145, 34349 Beşiktaş/İstanbul, Turkey, marriott.com/istbo-renaissance-istanbul-polat-bosphorus-hotel/