Pera Palace Hotel – Istanbul

Pera Palace Hotel - Lobby


Pera Palace Hotel in the Tepebaşı district of Pera, İstanbul, right near Taksim Square, is a luxury boutique hotel which is steeped in history. It opened in 1895 and was a groundbreaking hotel for many reasons. Other than the Ottoman Palaces, it was the first building in Istanbul to be powered by electricity. It was also the only address in the city to provide hot running water for its guests and it is also home to the first electric, and thus the oldest electric elevator in Istanbul.

Pera Palace Hotel was borne out of a gap in the market for luxury hotels in Istanbul at the time. When the wealthy passengers aboard the Orient Express arrived in Istanbul, they similarly desired a hotel of equal stature to rest their heads. Thus the Pera Palace Hotel came to be. Designed by the French-Turkish architect Alexander Vallaury, the hotel is a beautiful blend of neo-classical, art nouveau and oriental styles.

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Sketch- Afternoon tea at The Parlour

Tea for 2 at The Parlour

Tea for 2

I love the odd spot of afternoon tea. There’s something so quintessentially English about this culinary art form, working your way through the sandwiches, the scones (with all that gorgeous clotted cream) and then the cakes, all washed down with tea. I remember up to about four or five years ago, some of the 5 star hotels in London would serve an opulent all-you-can-eat affair of unlimited quantities of sandwiches, scones and cakes. This doesn’t seem to be the norm anymore, which is probably better for my waist line, but is being sorely missed by my greedy little foodie disposition.

Having eaten at Sketch before, at both The Lecture Room and Library (the one star Michelin restaurant), and The Gallery (the less formal dining room), I thought it might be time to try out The Parlour, the third of the dining areas at Sketch. The patisserie on display look delectable, and there is a long list of amazing sounding concoctions on their cake menu such as the ‘Gariguette Tartlet’, (strawberry and black pepper cream tartlet, strawberry and tomato tartare, loukoum-rose water and strawberry icing); the ‘Red Pepper and Manjari Tart’, (manjari ganache with a flourless chocolate biscuit filled with preserved red peppers on a sweet dough base); and the ‘Hojicha éclair’ (pâte à choux filled with hojicha cream, hojicha fondant). All of these are priced at £5 each.

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