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Hotel Highlights

  • Private hotel boat for stylish Bosphorus travel
  • Stunning outdoor terrace – perfect for cocktails or Sunday brunch
  • Bedroom views from Asia across to Europe

Overview

A grand old mansion on the Bosphorus, the A’jia Hotel in Istanbul was once the impressive home of a Pasha. Today,the Ottoman-era exterior cleverly masks a sleek, spacious and modern interior. Fifteen large and comfortable rooms and suites offer various luxurious flourishes, but all include gorgeous bathrooms of creamy marble and tile. And, of course all guests can enjoy a drink or several on the expansive waterfront terrace.

Smith Extra

Here's what you get for booking A'jia Hotel with us:

Welcome cocktails and late check-out, whenever available

Facilities

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Need To Know

Rooms

15, including six deluxe suites.

Check–out

Midday, but some flexibility. Earliest check-in, 2pm.

Rates

Double rooms from $241.38 (€180), excluding tax at 8 per cent.

More details

Rates exclude breakfast.

At the hotel

Flatscreen TV/DVD, Thai massage by arrangement, concierge, butler service on request, wireless Internet throughout. The hotel's boat is available to take you back and forth across the Bosphorus and on private tours of Istanbul.

Our favourite rooms

Ask for a room with a view of the Bosphorus and/or a private balcony. Room 10 is a duplex with sitting room downstairs and bedroom upstairs, and a bathtub right next to the bed. Room 8 has a huge balcony that gives you the feeling you own the place… and beautiful views over the Bosphorus. Room 9 is spacious, with a sitting-room area and a bathtub beneath a sea-view window.

Packing tips

A scarf or hat to keep your hair nice during windy trips across the Bosphorus. A light jacket or jumper in case it's windy when you're lunching on the terrace.

Also

Non-smoking rooms are available. No pets. One room has wheelchair access. For a VIP arrival, the hotel can organise a boat ride from Atatürk Airport for around US$500 dollars one way.

Children

Children can be accommodated, but the hotel, with its terraces over the waterway, was not designed with them in mind.

Food & Drink

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Hotel Restaurant

A'jia's restaurant serves Mediterranean/Italian food, and the best Sunday brunch in town (10h–15h). Guest chefs, eg: the chef of Zuma in London, make occasional visits.

Hotel Bar

There's a long white bar on the waterfront terrace, and another bar inside in the restaurant area.

Smith Insider

Dress code

Hip and urban.

Top table

Number 30, a corner table inside, or any table on the river terrace.

Local Guide

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Eat, drink, see, do: local favourites and more…

Worth getting out of bed for

The hotel can organise a private boat trip around the Bosphorus and the Golden Horn; it's one of the best ways to see the sights of Istanbul.

Local restaurants

Körfez on Körfez Caddesi 78 (+90 (0)216 413 4314) is one of the city’s best seafood restaurants and can be reached by private launch from the European side of the Bosphorus which leaves from the wharf near Rumeli Hisari. Specialities included salt-baked fish and grouper cooked with spices. Changa at the Sakip Sabanci Museum (+90 (0)212 323 0901) is a stylish Mediterranean restaurant with a retro Scandinavian interior of light oak and copper-tone mirrors. The restaurant's terrace has wonderful views over the Bosphorus.

+ Enlarge
Banks of the Bosphorus

A'jia Hotel

27 Çubuklu Caddesi, Kanlica, Istanbul, (GMT+02:00) Athens, Istanbul, Minsk, 34812

Planes

From Atatürk International, expect the drive to take an hour and a quarter, following the E-5 Karayolu road and the O-1 motorway.

Trains

The city's metro system covers many major points.

Automobiles

The hotel is half an hour from the old city, but there’s plenty to do within walking distance. There’s free parking.

Reviews

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Anonymous review

By Mr & Mrs Smith.

Istanbul taxi drivers don’t do street names. They don’t need the Knowledge. Their method of pathfinding is an ancient one: they ask directions. Our driver nods as we ask for the A'jia Hotel, sucks on his cigarette, turns up his music and hits the gas. Istanbul streams past the window, ancient domes and minarets jostling shiny new apartment blocks, while carpet-sellers, shoeshine hawker…
Read more

A'jia Hotel

By Mr & Mrs Smith.

Istanbul taxi drivers don’t do street names. They don’t need the Knowledge. Their method of pathfinding is an ancient one: they ask directions. Our driver nods as we ask for the A'jia Hotel, sucks on his cigarette, turns up his music and hits the gas. Istanbul streams past the window, ancient domes and minarets jostling shiny new apartment blocks, while carpet-sellers, shoeshine hawkers and sharp-suited businessmen hang off buses and spill into the road. Through the window comes the smell of rosewater, spice and smoky kebabs. And every now and then our driver screeches to a halt to ask directions, and off he goes again, his evil-eye medallion swinging from the rearview mirror.

Istanbul straddles the magnificent Bosphorus Straits, a body of water that separates Asia and Europe. The city's palaces and mosques stud the skyline on both shores. This is where crusaders marched, Romans orgied and sultans ruled, and its heady mix of modern glamour and ancient exoticism make it one of the world's most romantic cities for sensual delights. Well that’s what we’re hoping, in the steamy back of our speeding cab.

The A'jia Hotel is one of the new wave of boutique hotels in Istanbul and sits on the Asian shore, half an hour away from the mayhem of the centre. Slowly the crowds and chaos begin to give way to lush green gardens and waterside mansions, and we pull up at a discreet set of iron gates. It’s an ex-pasha’s mansion right on the magnificent Bosphorus, but its grand Ottoman exterior belies a contemporary interior of slick modern design. There’s not a kilim or belly-dancer’s tassel in sight, just chic white-on-white glamour. A vast foyer contains nothing but marble and golden sunlight and quietly attentive check-in staff. We soon discover the A'jia’s policy is to leave you to your own devices, unless of course there’s anything at all you might require.

The understated, modern luxury continues in the sparse, cool bedroom. A wall of windows makes it feel as though it’s floating above the Bosphorus before a distant shimmering shore. Geometrical white armchairs are arranged across rich dark wood floors but we’re most impressed with the centrepiece: an enormous bed with the crispest, coolest sheets of Egyptian cotton.

Almost as big as the room itself, the bathroom is a gorgeous Ottoman chamber of creamy marble and tile and I can’t decide between the enormous shower or the deep rectangular bath. Mr Smith decides for me. He runs me a bath and I slip under fragrant Molton Brown foam while he prepares himself a G&T on the balcony. With its platform of wood atop an arrangement of white pebbles, the balcony continues the minimal theme outside, and beyond it there’s nothing but the brilliant blue of the Bosphorus. Clean and damp and wrapped in fluffy white cotton, I come out to join him. The afternoon sun pours through floor-to-ceiling windows, bathing the bed in warm golden light so we slip in for a sun-warmed siesta before dinner.

Waking ravenous, we head to the hotel’s private pier. Wooden deckchairs face the water, and cosy tables for two flutter with white linen in the warm breeze. The restaurant and bar are run by the Istanbul Doors Group, who also run some of the city’s most glamorous bars, and the food is stylish Modern European. But we’re heading to Europe for dinner, so we step into the A'jia’s private boat and the captain starts the engine. It’s a short but magical journey. The muezzins’ call to prayer drifts from mosques on both shores; the ancient skyline hovers against a sultry sunset; and then, beside us, a family of dolphins breaks the surface and heads on upstream.

We step out on the European shore and take a taxi to Ortakoy, a gorgeous little waterside area filled with hip bars and cafes. We eat on the water at the House Café, one of a chain of five cosy café-bars created by Autoban, one of Istanbul’s hottest young design agencies and recent winner of the 100% Design newcomer award. Then we pop in to Angelique, next door, a super-slick summer bar where Turkey’s glitterati make their entrance on private boats. One passionfruit martini and we’re ready for bed.

We wake to a golden morning and the sound of water lapping below. Ukranian freighters pass our window on their way to the Black Sea. Outside, Mr Smith dons his sunglasses and devours his pancakes with peaches. I go for A'jia’s elegant take on the traditional Turkish breakfast, a gorgeous selection of titbits arranged like jewels on a tray: white cheese, olives, honey, cherry jam, cucumber and freshly baked bread.

The day brings a whirl of exotic sights – Topkapi Palace, Blue Mosque and Aga Sofia, the fragrant Spice Bazaar and the crazy colour of the Grand Bazaar – then a visit to the ancient Cemberlitas hammam, where naked masseuses with huge soapy breasts scrub and pummel as we lie steaming on the hot marble slab.

As exciting as Istanbul is, pretty soon we’re aching to get back to the A'jia. The relentless chaos and colour sets our heads awhirl, and returning to the luxurious simplicity of our romantic Ottoman mansion is deeply soothing. A little bit of simplicity goes a long way in Istanbul. This is not a quiet city, and a day spent trawling its teeming streets can send you a little barmy. A'jia, with its magnificent watery view, is the perfect place to get away from it all, together.

The Guestbook

Reviews of A'jia Hotel from Smith members

Whenever you book a stay through us, we’ll invite you to comment when you get back. Read the Guestbook entries below to see what real-life Mr & Mrs Smiths have said about this hotel…

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