Four Seasons Sultanahmet, Redesigned as a Secluded Sanctuary in the Hidden Gem of the Historical Peninsula

December 9, 2022,
Istanbul at Sultanahmet, Turkey

Brimming with character and local charm, and housed in one of most iconic buildings on the historical peninsula, Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at Sultanahmet continues to welcome its guests with its newly renovated design. The Hotel’s interiors have been impeccably re-imagined by multi award-winning design studio Goddard Littlefair. The studio has created a unique city oasis, a secluded sanctuary in which to relax, unwind and enjoy an authentic experience and be at one with its surroundings.

The newly renovated Four Seasons Sultanahmet, the only five-star property on the historical peninsula and a hidden gem in Sultanahmet, offers a unique and unforgettable experience to meet the expectations of international travellers, style enthusiasts, local families and professionals.

The Hotel is located adjacent to the Ottoman Dârülfünun University building and only steps away the iconic Hagia Sofia. A former prison, the Sultanahmet property is a well-known local landmark featuring a landscaped courtyard surrounded by stone walls and guard towers.

The Goddard Littlefair team created design solutions that reflected the beauty and history of the site and Old Istanbul, while keeping in step with a contemporary, residential design language that is synonymous with Four Seasons as a brand. The resultant Hotel interiors are layered and residential in style, with much of the furniture and lighting designed for the project. Rich embellishments, mosaic lined walls, and cabinetry inlaid with carved timbers and stitched leathers, sit alongside exquisite custom lighting concepts that play with the light and shadows of the sun-filled days. No stone has been left unturned to weave the rich history and vibrant culture of the locale into the design language of the hotel.

Details drawing from traditional Ottoman and Turkish motifs are seen in every corner of the Hotel. Hagia Sofia is the source of inspiration for the lighting features in the headboards of the beds, iron bars of prisons for the sides of the armchairs, Ottoman baskets for the part below the countertop of the bar unit in the courtyard, Whirling Dervish ideas for the tassel details of the floor lamps in the guest rooms, and Seljuk motifs for the elevator area. And the traditional bathroom basin, inspired by the dome of Hagia Sophia, welcomes the guests at Kurna Spa.

Martin Goddard, the co-founder of the studio, said, “Our designers researched styling, pattern and details from antiques, fabrics, architecture and distilled these influences through a contemporary filter to create designs that feel completely in tune with the building and setting.”

Upon arrival guests are met with an array of beautiful and tactile materials, lavish craftsmanship and attention to detail. Stepping through oversized old timber doors into a space where the original architecture expresses itself through a series of stone arches, the triple-height spaces have been animated by the introduction of patisserie and lounge. La Pistache Patisserie offers an array of hard candies, lokum, and chocolate.

Bespoke joinery, enhanced with antique mirrors and antique brass ground the space while custom-designed bronze and alabaster pendants drop like jewellery into each space. A formal reception and concierge desk are located towards the end of the arched corridor where the exposed plasterwork has been softened by draping soft, duck egg blue curtains over the architecture. The centre piece here is the work of artist Kenan Işık, who created an art piece spanning the area behind the reception desk, while a bookcased library area provides a space for local experiences. The effect of the open plaster in the corridor is softened by the hanging pastel aqua-green curtains, and the library section offers a pleasant space.

On arrival, the guests will glimpse the fresh, green space of the courtyard through old timber doors. It is here that the Hotel restaurant, Avlu, is situated at the heart of the property. The ceiling of the restaurant’s interiors is inspired by the magnificent Ottoman tents. A contemporary, glazed, hexagonal structure forms the base for an enclosed section of the Avlu restaurant, which can equally open up to the garden through folding metal doors. The ceiling has been re-clad with light stained timber clapperboard, a feature which echoes local architecture, while bespoke bronze lanterns hang from the ceiling, and white linen sheers soften the frame of the structure. A baking oven clad in copper metal provides the show stopping feature in the space with blackened cast iron pans and pots of herbs decorating the tiled walls to either side.

From breakfast to dinner, a different experience can be had throughout the day, as the lights from lanterns scattered around the garden take over from the bright light of the midday. Tranquillity and privacy provided space for contemplation in the verdant courtyard, while Süreyya on the roof terrace overlooking the magnificent Hagia Sofia offers a vibrant look-out post to enjoy the sunsets over ancient Istanbul.

In an outdoor terrace, guests can lounge on low sofas, screened from the sun with draped fabrics and lit with twinkling glass lanterns. A hammered metal bar serves drinks and small plates to guests in the relaxed al fresco space. Here, hues and textures reflect a rich intensity of colour with teal glazed coffee tables contrasting with zellige tiled surfaces while light textured linens sit on teak and metal furniture.

The Hotel bar sits back in the main heart of the building. A dual faced space knitted together by a wrap-around bar, one area in the body of the building again benefits from a triple height ceiling while the other has a glazed ceiling with a perimeter of timber clapperboard. Both spaces have been embellished with a carved wooden motif applied to a dado level on the walls while antique mirror baguettes provide a sparkle to the rooms. Low, upholstered banquettes inspired by pieces found in the Topkapı Palace feature in the rooms while soft ikat motif rugs soften the spaces.

An elevated private dining space sits adjacent to the Hotel bar, offering a light and bright space for private functions and meetings. Featuring a stone fireplace, parquet wood floor and coffer lit ceiling, the windows are softly framed with white linen sheers hung from contemporary metal poles. A cabinet has been designed to function as a bar when needed while furniture remains flexible to suit different occasions.

On the lower ground of the Hotel, the function spaces have been completely refurbished, including the Sedef ballroom, which will now benefit from enhanced acoustics and lighting, features embedded in the architecture as well as the decorative elements of the refurbishment. The spaces are spectacularly lit overhead by a cluster of hanging Ottoman-style glass lanterns. With exquisite architectural touches, Sedef promises the ideal venue for dream weddings and memorable receptions and events. Fresh, uplifting and neutral carpet designs run throughout the spaces including down the sweeping staircase that takes guests to the ballroom.

A bijou luxury spa has been created alongside a Turkish barber, beauty salon and well-appointed gymnasium at Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at Sultanahmet.

Perfectly proportioned, the softly lit, marble-lined Kurna Spa pays tribute to the local tradition of health and well-being through offering guests the opportunity to embrace the experience of a Turkish hammam. A treatment room covered with marble mosaics is at the heart of the space while a social relax room complete with wrap-around deep banquettes sits nearby. Warm, smoked tones of oak are accented with copper metalwork highlighting the ancient craftsmanship that the region is known for throughout the reception and changing areas while traditional marble basins perch on vanity tops.

All of the bedrooms have been refurbished with the same language and design intent that filters through the public areas. Of the 65 keys, there are very few identical spaces, which is to be expected when working with period buildings. With the calmness of a demure and elegant palette, light marbles and chic linens are complemented by warm timber tones, deep burgundy, soft blue-green tones and brass.

The guest rooms are illuminated with a more romantic, warm light. A fully upholstered headboard with full, hand-tufted rugs immediately creates a luxurious aesthetic, while individually designed pieces of furniture resonate of Turkish influence. Sofa sides are accented with a timber framework that echoes the metalwork patterns found on windows in Sultanahmet, while circular coffee tables and upholstered stools have been carefully designed to overlap together to symbolize the Chintamani pattern found in traditional Islamic design.

The one-bedroom suites offer an additional level of luxury with additional lounge areas to further enhance the sense of sanctuary created in the accommodation. Two presidential suites offer the ultimate experience in this elegant property with individual schemes and spaces that truly reflect the splendour of this significant building.

Nil Atila
Senior Director of Public Relations and Marketing Communications
Çırağan Cad. No. 28
Istanbul, 34349
Meriç Gürsoy
Digital Marketing Manager
Çırağan Cad. No. 28
Istanbul, 34349