Review by Clare Mann, published 6th May 2014.
Visitors to Istanbul are spoilt for choice with a terrific range of hotels from the luxurious to simple family run guest houses, complete with pretty roof terraces, covered in jasmine and hibiscus and great views. The Marti Hotel fits the middle bracket: good value, supremely comfortable, friendly, efficient staff and away from the hoards of tourists and cruise ship visitors that can clog up the historical sites. Set back from Taksim Square, The Marti is only fifteen minutes by tram - the best and only way to travel in this bustling city - to the heart of the old city.
It was good to retreat, after an action packed day and the touristy hot spots, to the comforts of The Marti Hotel. We had inadvertently arrived on Labour day, 1st May, a day possibly to be avoided, due to demonstrations in Taksim Square. But all was well and we were whisked into a sanctuary of calm and order. The contemporary interior is striking, the work of the acclaimed Turkish interior designer Zeynep Fadillioglu: lofty rooms, custom designed furniture and fabrics; purples and blues are the domineering and signature colours. Guests staying in the grand Turkish Suites receive automatic entry to the top 11th Floor Lounge, which serves complimentary food and drinks throughout the day. The gorgeous 850m2 wellness centre has a hamam, Roman bath, an impressive range of beauty treatments, including Thai deep tissue and hot stone massage, Ayurvedic treatments, reflexology and aromatherapy. As one might expect there is a state of the art gym with magnificent views of the city. The roof terrace comes with plunge pool bar, smart sun loungers and panoramic views of an extraordinary city and skyline. The loud music might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but my twenty-year-old daughter loved the vibe.
We were rejuvenated at the end of the day with ice cold minty Mojitos (mouth watering cocktail list) listening to the piano player in the airy atrium, watching the guests come and go, taxis ordered and dispatched, visitors from around the globe. Two pretty little girls in matching dresses playing hide and seek behind the sofas.
The Gourmet Stop on the ground floor serves delectable pastries washed down with sweet strong Turkish Coffee. Breakfast is a lavish affair in the Quad Restaurant, buffet style, with a fabulous array of fruit, fresh pastries, homemade yogurts, cold meats and cheeses, Turkish fare with olives and feta cheese. Pick a window seat, and watch the city unfurl around you. There are two restaurants to choose from for dinner; the more informal Brass Brasserie on the ground floor with an outside terrace (try the sensational seafood linguine), or The Quad Restaurant offering sophisticated international and Ottoman cuisine, a culinary blend of Asian, Middle Eastern, Balkan and Mediterranean flavours. We loved the Yaprak (vine leaves), Dolma (vegetables stuffed with fragrant rice) and Taze Fasulye (sensational green bean and tomato dish), grilled fish with roasted vegetables spiked with lemon, garlic and coriander.
Our stay was a pleasure from every aspect, we felt cosseted and enriched. The Marti fits the bill for an all round family hotel, romantic break or business trip.