Rixos Elysium Suites Taksim, Istanbul, Turkey
December 05, 2017
Location: Hidden away in a quiet sidestreet in Taksim, the heart of modern Istanbul.
Location: Hidden away in a quiet sidestreet in Taksim, the heart of modern Istanbul. It’s a five-minute walk to Taksim Square, a vibrant shopping and dining district which is also home to the historic Monument of the Republic, and the entrance to ever-busy Istiklal Caddesi, the city’s answer to Oxford Street.
First impressions: If ever proof were needed that size matters, this hotel would be it. Not so much in its neck-craning 20-storey exterior or grand lobby bedecked with black marble, but in its spacious suites. Each spreads across two floors with a stylish living area, kitchenette and WC downstairs, plus a bedroom, large bathroom and study on the mezzanine – not bad for a city centre hotel. I’m a sucker for a glass lift too – maybe just because you get to peer in at other floors as you swish your way to the top – but those without a head for heights might disagree.
The facts: The hotel is predominantly made up of suites – 130 of them – ranging from junior to grand king suites depending on the square footage, plus 68 rooms and two penthouses. There’s the usual restaurant and bar plus a spa offering Turkish baths, sauna, steam room and a gym. I didn’t get a chance to sample the evening cuisine, but if the breakfast is anything to go by, it’ll be pretty impressive. The gluttony-inducing spread has a mix of local foods – simit, a type of bread best eaten with thick clotted cream known as kaymak and honey fresh from the comb, plus traditional Turkish cheese pastries and much more – as well as foods more familiar to Western guests.
A good base for: Like any city centre hotel, it’s a great place to rest your head but you won’t want to spend your days there for fear of missing out on what Istanbul has to offer. You can wander through Taksim, take the nostalgic tram down Istiklal Caddesi and stop off at Cicek Pasaji for a tasty bite to eat, but you’ll have to head to Sultanahmet for heavy-duty sightseeing. There, you’ll find landmarks like the Hagia Sofia, Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace and the Hippodrome – pretty much anything you’ve ever seen on a postcard of Istanbul can be found in this historic quarter.
Wow: The glass-fronted building might look big from outside, but you don’t really get a sense of scale until you walk into the suite and find a jaw-dropping floor-to-ceiling window instead of a wall. Make sure you book a suite with good views over Istanbul (these are a bit hit and miss depending on which side of the hotel you’re on) because with a window this size, anything less would be a waste.
How much: A superior suite starts at €235 in low season, including buffet breakfast.