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Sea Spa: Turkish Tradition at Istanbul’s Four Seasons on the Bosphorus

2 March 2020• Written by Olivia Michel

Where is the Four Seasons at the Bosphorus?

This lovingly restored, nineteenth century Ottoman palace on the river bank of the Bosphorus is a welcome reprieve from the frenetic energy of the city in which two continents collide. Set on the fringes of Istanbul’s old city, guests sip Turkish tea on the broad terrace or swim gentle lengths in the riverside pool, surrounded by candy-striped cabanas.

The Four Seasons hotel sits on the banks of the Bosphorus river in Istanbul.

What's it Like?

Compared to its sister hotel in the heart of Sultanahmet, the Bosphorus resort is all about slow-paced, riverside relaxation. There’s plenty of room to roam, with facilities encompassing an expansive outdoor swimming pool, a spacious 24-hour gym and the subterranean spa with its hot tubs and hammams. The spa’s dimmed lighting and trickling water features immediately helps guests unwind upon arrival, which is complemented by a slice of cranberry-studded Turkish Delight. Those staying at the Sultanahmet site are also invited to use the Bosphorus spa during their stay and can be transported across the river by the Four Seasons’ private boat.

The Hammam treatment room at the Four Seasons spa.

Treatments at Four Seasons at the Bosphorus

To sample some Ottoman culture without adding to the toll on your weary feet, opt for a traditional hammam. After a sauna session, lie on a marble slab and be soothed by the sound of running water and local folk music. Warm water is thrown over your body in preparation for a vigorous scrub that buffs every inch of your skin. This is followed by a cloud of soap bubbles – your therapist will perform a deep-tissue massage beneath the mountain of aromatic foam. Finally, a cooling coconut cream mask is applied from top to toe, your hair is conditioned before you are cleansed with a final torrent of warm water. For a truly authentic experience, ask to be tended to by Pinar, who has learnt the techniques from her maternal ancestors.

The dining terrace at the Four Seasons is one of the best spots to soak up the atmosphere.

Where to Eat at the Four Seasons at the Bosphorus?

Feeling fully buffed and puffed after your hammam, head back upstairs for some sustenance at the hotel’s waterfront eatery Anason 34. Indulge in Turkish Tavern dishes such as garlic butter shrimp or 'Paçanga Börek' – bites of cured beef and kashar cheese wrapped in flaky pastry – to leave you in ship shape and ready to hit the tourist trail again.

Best by Boat

Ataköy Marina is 30 minutes away and can accommodate superyachts up to 100 metres. Alternatively, moor up by the hotel’s private jetty.