When a city’s as culturally loaded as Istanbul, soaking up its many wondrous charms shouldn’t end at the hotel door. Ajwa Hotel, a five-star boutique hotel in the heart of Sultanahmet, celebrates the wealth of the city’s heritage by ensuring it blends seamlessly with its beautiful location, inside and out.
On arrival, it’s a full-on immersion into a Seljuk and Ottoman-style palace; think intricate Islamic art, polished marble and warm, antique furnishings. You can expect a royal welcome with a selection of fresh juices, dates and nuts after check-in.
The hotel is medium-sized with just 61 rooms and suites and one restaurant, meaning you’ll enjoy a five-star experience - without the crowds.
It’s all about private luxury here, which is keenly reflected in the décor. Each space is decked with silk Tabriz rugs, carved wood and ambient lighting giving you a sense of staying in an antique Middle Eastern dollhouse. En suites are marble-clad with grand features inspired by mosques and fountains.
Our top pick? The Sultan Suite, a 120sqm space whose bathroom includes a jacuzzi, sauna, steam room and shower. Basically it’s your very own spa!
Ajwa takes that old saying of ‘breakfast like a king’ quite literally. Forget the now-standard breakfast buffet; the only way to start the day is with a breakfast banquet in the amber toned Zeferan Restaurant, which, on the top floor, offers Insta-worthy views over old Istanbul.
Once seated, an army of waiters bring fresh breads, Turkish meats, an entire tray dedicated to cheese, salads and jams and condiments to the table. You’ll never be satisfied by plain old toast again.
Try the Sah Pilav, similar to a lamb biryani. Made with rice, beef, dried fruits and nuts, it’s cooked in a pot with dough stretched over the lid. Once cooked, crack through the golden bread and enjoy the most tantalising scent.
Slip into spa mode
Relaxing on your honeymoon is about far more than enjoying cocktail hour. After months of often stressful wedding planning, now’s the perfect time to unwind and take care of body and mind. There’s no better place to recharge your batteries than in Ajwa Hotel’s Afiya Spa, one of Istanbul’s very best facilities dedicated to well-being. The spa offers a selection of reviving treatments including massage, wraps and facials.
Interiors: The theme of majestic decadence continues in the spa, named Afiya, which means “health and cleanliness”. Expect metres of gleaming marble and gorgeous mosaics and mirrors.
The Hammam was a revered routine in Ottoman times, and it’s still a key part of Turkish bridal beauty today. Try the Bridal Bath Ritual, which consists of a deep scrub and foam massage to cleanse body and spirit. We won’t tell them you’re already married!
Must try: The Umo 24-carat Gold Facial Care combines an innovative Asian technology with the efficient and natural healing properties of gold. It’s designed to shake off the effects of ageing with 24-carat gold leaves that are completely absorbed by the skin. How’s that for the ultimate in spa luxury?
Find out more and book:
As seen in Khush Wedding Winter 2017 KW17