Istanbul’s riverside becomes the venue of the latest Six Senses hotel
“Pearls of Bosporus,” they were called— dreamy venues lined across the waterfront of the world-renowned strait, each of them shining in their own accord. Among them is a blushing wonder, situated at the edge of Sariyer, in the form of a grand mansion that once housed senior ministers of the Ottoman Empire.
It is the Kocatas, a sprawling wonder with front row seats to the grand array of the Bosphorus, capped with red brick roofs and ornate windows flung with a jovial welcome, freely inviting the breath of the ocean. At sunrise, the windows are glazed with sunlight, and at dusk, the quaint kiss of the pastel skies makes rosy its already bashful colour, setting a lovely glow upon its angles. Indoors, it is much more magnanimous, with the lavish embellishment of French couches and—unsurprisingly—cosy ottomans surrounding its highly refined lounge, and a sweeping pair of marble staircases that lead guests to their rooms.
One couldn’t have remembered how differently it looked before Six Senses, like a magical fairy godmother, waved its wand and transformed the property into a true Cinderella heading to the ball. Ottoman-Armenian architect Sarkis Balayan constructed the grand mansion by orders of an Ottoman king, but the impressive architecture submerged in the defeat of fire in the 19th-century.
The crumbling façade, however, is now replaced with a joyous metamorphosis, taking pages off its former blueprint to retain its original splendour. There is a trace of Ottoman in every corner, from the choice wooden furniture, the centre table that looked like a jewellery box, the symmetry and style, and the muted palettes chosen for the rooms that harmonise with the views of the sea.
The nautical terrain and the quaint charm brings healing; this Istanbul venue shall also incorporate the sensation of Thai herbal massages and luxurious coconut body scrubs in the months to come. To match the glamour of the once mighty empire, an unabashedly bohemian dining hall serves liberal offerings of Turkish delights, flaky pastries and the delicious views of the Bosporus in a royally gilded room. Like a true pearl, the Kocatas mansion is decadent in every turn, standing tallamongst the highly endowed necklace of luxury hotels strung along the popular Istanbul shoreline. www.sixsenses.com ◼
© This article was first published online in Nov 2019 – World Travel Magazine.