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Sumahan on the Water

Listed under Small Hotels in Istanbul, Turkey.

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Converted Ottoman distillery on the Bosphorus with industrial-chic loft suites, excellent fish restaurant and a magical waterfront location This was once an alcohol factory which, from the 1870s, had produced suma, the fig-syrup spirit used to make raki. When it was bequeathed, derelict, to Turkish-American architects Nedret and Mark Butler, they must have been tempted to pull the place down: waterfront plots are like hen’s teeth in Istanbul. Instead, they decided to restore their unusual legacy – and this faded relic of industrial heritage found a new lease of life as a sassy waterfront hotel. Part sympathetic modern extension, part salvaged original, its opening in 2005 pioneered new interest in the city’s then undiscovered Asian shore. Exposed stonework, bare brick, steel joists and mezzanine floors celebrate the building’s past. The 20 rooms have warm wood / carpet floors and cool contemporary furniture; some have cosy fireplaces, all have views of the water. And what a view! Day and night, on the glittering Bosphorus, an endless procession of fishing boats, gin palaces, container ships and ferries drifts past. Watch from the terrace garden, from the restaurant, even from your bed.

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