Sumahan on the Water – A Unique Istanbul Hotel That Has It All


While en route to Russia for the Sochi Olympics we had close to a 24-hour layover in Istanbul. Normally a layover of this duration would be welcomed as I treat them as ways to see more on my trips however since we were flying in and out of Sabiha Gokcen Airport (not the most conveniently located airport in the world…or Istanbul) we thought it would be best to stay put on Istanbul’s Asia side. This would avoid any headaches with heavy traffic crossing the Bosphorus river and allow us to relax a little.  Thank you rational side. Still, staying that close to some incredible sites made the explorer in me want more.  Thus, the internal struggle between the two began. Why do I always want it all?

What to do?

The solution came to me while searching for a Unique Istanbul Hotel on the city’s Asia side. Sumahan on the Water, the hotel that has it all.

What makes Sumahan on the Water Unique?

The fact that this boutique property is on the water is rare as Istanbul does not have many hotels with waves lapping their front yard. Impressive yes but this is not what drew me in. Nor was it the stunning views, the beautifully decorated river facing rooms, or the on-site Turkish bath. Sure those things are great but what really caught my eye was the fact that this historic building used to be – get this – a distillery. I had arrived. This place was meant for me.

History Well Preserved.

This quiet city retreat was once a busy factory producing raki, the country’s national drink. To keep thirsty Ottomans satisfied barges hauling figs used to frequent the shores of this Unique Istanbul Hotel which kept the building and it’s workers active. To pay homage to this industrial past much of the buildings character and charm has been preserved. Inside you will find exposed brick walls and an eye-pleasing mix of wood, steel, and marble.

Upon entering our unique Istanbul Hotel suite our jaws dropped. The loft style room features a comfortable living space, 2 bathrooms, 2 showers, a private fireplace, and direct access to the waterfront where 2 cozy lawn chairs await. The master bathroom is ridiculous – wall to wall marble and your own little Turkish bath. Relaxing here is not a problem.

Sumahan on the Water

From the moment we stepped out of our cab we felt like welcomed guests. The Staff was friendly, professional, and over the top helpful when it came to questions about the city we were guests in. Welcoming touches in our room like fresh fruit and a handwritten card took the hospitality to the next level. Before checking out the staff was kind enough to show me around the property as well as into some of the other rooms. I can say without hesitation that they are all incredible.

What Makes This Unique Istanbul Hotel Have It All?

The fact that this unique Istanbul hotel used to produce booze for Turkish Royalty caught my attention, and the fact that the rooms are incredibly cozy and tastefully decorated made me want to stay and relax – but what about my explorer side? The part of me that says “ you can sleep when your dead, let’s go.” Don’t worry Indian Shaun, Sumahan on the Water has you covered. Now because this awesome and unique Istanbul hotel is quietly tucked away on the east side of the Bosphorus you may think that it is more of a retreat destination than a place you can call home while seeing Istanbul’s greatest sights. Sure, you can curl up in front of your private fireplace with a glass of Cappadocia wine and a good book or enjoy the action on the Bosphorus while comfortably sitting on your patio chair. For those wanting to be part of that Bosphorus action, you can hop aboard the private water taxi which takes hotel guest to the hustle and bustle of downtown Istanbul. This feature made me realize that this unique Istanbul accommodation has the best of both worlds.

Having Breakfast in Asia, Lunch in Europe.

Our morning started with an incredible breakfast (included) which we enjoyed on the terrace. There is something peaceful and fulfilling having Turkish coffee while watching the ships come and go. Fully satisfied we were fueled up for our day of seeing Istanbul’s historic sites. From our breakfast table, we walked the garden path to the dock where our taxi boat waited to take us away.

The boat itself is gorgeous, vintage craftsmanship and a mahogany hull. It really makes for an intimate crossing. No need to book a busy Bosphorus tour or take a crowded public ferry here. How great is the ride? We saw dolphins playing in our boats wake while we enjoyed the sunshine. Dolphins!

The cruise takes about 30 minutes and drops you off at Kabatas , the perfect starting point for a day of seeing Istanbul.

Or Relax

For those looking to stay in and relax this unique Istanbul hotel is for you. The property features a gorgeous Turkish bath, onsite spa, and a library packed with literature. Getting work done or reading in peace is not an issue here. The library has plenty of comfortable seating and a fireplace, but, of course, there is also your own sanctuary in your room or front yard facing the river where you can read that book.

Sumahan on the Water
The Turkish Bath @ Sumahan on the Water

Best of Both Continents

Whether you are looking for a quiet retreat in an otherwise busy location or the perfect unique Istanbul hotel to jump off from for your day of seeing Istanbul’s highlights consider Sumahan on the Water. This historic building has character, charm, and convenience in a seemingly inconvenient setting. Getting away to Istanbul’s surging core is as easy as staying in and relaxing.

The choice is yours.

Sumahan on the Water on Facebook

Although I was provided a comfortable and complimentary nights sleep from Sumahan on the Water,
the experience, opinions, and words are my own.

Affiliate Disclosure: This page may contain affiliate links, which means that if you make a purchase, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Your support is highly valued and helps keep this site running! 🙏

How does this hotel rank?

10 Comfort
10 Character
8 Location
10 Value
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12 replies on “Sumahan on the Water – A Unique Istanbul Hotel That Has It All”
  1. Avatarsays: Harly Smith

    Looks like a great spot Shaun and sounds like you were able to see a lot of the city from there. Nice find!

    1. Avatarsays: shaun_robertson

      It turned out to be the perfect spot for us. We were able to rest up and see much of Istanbul at the same time. Win win Harly.

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