“It’s a place where you can learn and experience new things but still feel like a home where you are safe and welcome,” says Ural. A fair part of that warm environment is due to a dedicated staff always ready to send you off with a cup of steamy Turkish coffee and a list of must-dos.
Even the spa borrows from multiple epochs, cultures, schools of self-care, and design. Its centerpiece is a hammam modeled after the 16th-century traditional baths in Roxelana. But the glass-sided outdoor infinity pool, which allows you to simultaneously soak up the sun, swim laps, and watch ships float, gives it a run for its money. “The spa was the perfect way to unwind after a long flight. The hammam body treatments are a necessary addition to a tired traveler’s first-night experience,” says Lovette, adding that many amenities on offer at The Ritz-Carlton are well-equipped for easing time zone transitions. “We live in such a fast-paced and stimulating world,” Lovette says. "Every moment of blissful flow amidst the hurricane of life must be cherished and held with gratitude.”
Ural, a proud Istanbulite, can’t think of a better or more enjoyable way to get in step with the City on Seven Hills than experience it through the senses. She encourages travelers to head to the bar for a chance to drink the destination in.
“My style of mixology is to add local spices and natural ingredients to make a cocktail that tells a story about Istanbul. I want you to feel the same authenticity and energy as you do when you walk on the narrow cobblestone streets, smell the air in the Grand Bazaar, sit in a café in old town, or share raki with friends after dark,” she says. For Ural’s Butterfly Effect cocktail, which changes from blue to purple, she draws upon the dramatic hues surrounding the Dolmabahçe Palace at twilight. In another creation, she uses bay leaves, a signature ingredient of Turkish cuisine, to infuse a sense of local authenticity. “Every color or ingredient I use is inspired by things I love here,” says Ural.