Sumahan on the Water: A 19th Century Alcohol Factory Transformed

The family heirloom becomes a hotel

Transformed from a family heirloom — an alcohol factory owned by the mid-nineteenth century Ottoman family — Sumahan on the Water is a rare hotel on the very edge of the Bosphorus Straits in Istanbul. The Black Sea, the Sea of Marmara and the Aegean surround the family-owned property and offer picturesque landscapes to hotel guests.

Designed by Turkish-American owner-architects Nedret and Mark Butler, the hotel’s guestrooms were built to offer bedroom views of an ever-changing seascape of ferryboats, fisherman and ships sailing through the straits. Turkish history and storied myths tell tales of Odysseus, Jason and his Argonauts, and Soviet submarines passing through those very straits. While panorama views give guests a peek into the Bosphorus neighborhood below, the hotel boasts a location just far enough away for a truly quiet and secluded stay.

Whether choosing a suite or bedroom, the accommodations at Sumahan are sure to impress with each showing off its own unique personality. Many come with fireplaces and are designed with sleek marble, wood, steel and brick interiors paired with soft fabrics and crisp linens. Contemporary in nature, many of the bathrooms are furnished with their own Turkish-style bath and provide thick Turkish towels, a choice of traditional colognes and rich natural toiletries.

At Sumahan, you can do as the Turkish did and bathe in the deeply aesthetic private Hamam bath. Historically these baths were at the center of Turkey’s culture; this ritual has been recreated at the hotel for guests to enjoy. Stepping into the domed room at Sumahan Wellness, you are greeted with fresh fruits and nuts before slipping into the soft bath towel and wooden takunya sandals. After the Hamam, heat radiates from skylight under the dome and warms up the Marmara marble floor. After the Hamam wash you can dry off in a comfortable divan while sipping on cool water with fresh mint leaves. Taking a bath has never felt so luxurious.

As a boutique hotel, little touches and details make your stay a cut above the rest. Afternoon tea, a snack to greet you upon arrival or a guide to help you discover the best Byzantine mosaics in the area are offered to make your stay as pleasurable as possible.

Sumahan’s newest restaurant, Tapasuma, is unique dining experience with Executive Chef Gökay Çakýroðlu at the helm. Taking his own twist on modern Turkish and Mediterranean cuisines, Chef Çakýroðlu cooks up savory dishes using seasonal fishes. Just as striking as the food, the 26-foot-long marble bar displays innovative Turkish mezzes (small dishes) taking you through an unmatched culinary journey.

Sumahan’s charms paired with its distinctive and rare architectural structure create an Istanbul experience that is sure to be remembered. Elegant and private, the historic hotel is dedicated to providing the highest degree of service to its discerning travelers.


This post originally appeared on JustLuxe.