Sitting bang on the banks of the Bosphorus straits is the old 19th century Ottoman distillery, which in its new avatar as a boutique hotel, Sumahan-on-the-water has gone on to become the winner of the 2012 World Luxury Hotel Award in the Best Historical Hotel Award category, at the Awards Gala Ceremony held in Kuala Lumpur on 13 October, 2012.
This is no mean feat, but Sumahan has a lot to offer besides its 24 luxury rooms and suites, each unique, and each with a grand stand view of the watery expanse. Located on the Asian side of the Bosphorus Straits, which separate Europe from Asia and link the cold waters of the Black Sea to the warm waters of the Sea of Marmara and the Aegean beyond, Sumahan derives its name from the unadulterated spirit ‘suma’ that was produced in the distillery and used to make ‘raki’, the popular drink of the Ottomans. Its Turkish-American owner-architects Nedret and Mark Butler have used the burden of history to its advantage, harmoniously blending the new with the old, wood and marble, steel and brick, contemporary rooms with Turkish ‘hamams’, internet, LCD TV and an unhampered view of an ever-changing seascape of ferryboats, fishermen, ships silently sailing on the waters, the domes and minarets, Topkapi Palace, Kiz Kulesi or the Maiden’s Tower, a sense of witnessing the grand voyages from the comfortable seclusion of your room.
The waterfront restaurant Tapasuma serves Turkish and Mediterranean contemporary cuisine. Breakfast is served on the terrace. Sumahan’s Kordon restaurant is rated high for its expansive seafood offerings of fresh fish. An in house spa offers wellness treatments. There is also the state-of-the-art exercise room. Excellent service and a friendly staff are willing to go that extra mile.
Sumahan sits away from the hustle and bustle, a tad distant from the heart of the historic old Istanbul- Sutanahmet district with the Topkapi Palace, Ayasofya, the Blue Mosque, Byzantine Hippodrom, Yerebatan Saray or the Basilica Cistern, the Istanbul Archeological Museums and more. But the Hotel provides free scheduled ferry services. Also, the Çengelköy Jetty is barely a 5 minute walk, providing easy access by ferryboat to Istanbul’s European side.
Sumahan is also the recipient of the Condé Nast Johansens Readers’ Award 2010, and rates high in the tripadviser reviews.