YellAli was delighted to get the opportunity to Exclusively interview the famous Pera Palace Hotel in Istanbul. One of the most prestigious hotels in Turkey with a vibrant history spanning over centuries.
The Pera Palace Hotel has hosted a multitude of famous guests including Agatha Christie, Mustafa Kemel Ataturk, King VIII. Edward, Queen II. Elizabeth and many more. It has been the subject of many publications.
The General Manager Murat Eti kindly filled us in on the hotels rich history...
When was the Pera Palace Hotel built and by whom? Who was the hotel built to cater for? What was its purpose?
Building of the hotel began in 1892. The Pera Palace Hotel began its journey in 1895, for the purpose of hosting the passengers of the Orient Express, a long-distance passenger train service created in 1883 by Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits. Under the guidance of renowned architect Alexander Vallaury, an exceptional neo-classical exterior façade and oriental interior ballroom designed with perfect harmony.
Has the hotel changed much over the years? Do you preserve the original features and fittings?
The hotel has witnessed both the Ottoman Empire period and the foundation of republic. The two world wars had occurred during the same period. Thus, the hotel went through many renovations in which the original DNA of the architecture was mostly protected.
How many rooms does the hotel have? How many personnel work at the hotel?
126 personnels + 115 rooms
You have hosted many famous guests over the years, can you tell us a little bit about who has stayed in the hotel? Any stories for YellAli readers?
Among the Pera Palace Hotel's famous guests was a creator of detective novel, Agatha Christie, a frequent visitor from 1926-1932. Her favored room, 411, is now the Agatha Christie Room. It is also rumored that she also wrote her famous novel The Murder on the Orient Express in her room at the Hotel, and during her lost 11 days, which has not yet been solved, is thought to be that she had been staying at Pera Palace Hotel. Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the father of modern Turkey, resided in Suite 101, which is now a museum devoted to him. Ernest Hemingway was a resident of the hotel after World War One, when he was a reporter. Other notable names stayed at the hotel are including Ismet Inonu, Celal Bayar, King VIII. Edward, Queen II. Elizabeth, Austro-Hungarian Emperor Franz Joseph, Shah Reza Pahlavi, President of Yugoslavia Josip Broz Tito, General Franz von Papen, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Greta Garbo, Sarah Bernhardt, Alfred Hitchcock, Pierre Loti, Jacqueline Kennedy, Ninette de Valois, Mata Hari, Cicero and Mikis Theodorakis.
Agatha Christie famously frequented the Pera Palace Hotel and is said to have written her novel Murder on the Orient Express there. Is it possible for guests to see her room?
The story of Agatha Christie and her missing key is still a mystery and thanks to the story, the hotel is hosting a lot of people around the world. The room is still available for accommodation.
Mustafa Kemal Atatürk also frequented the hotel, which room did he stay in? Is this open to guests?
We may consider his stays in two periods. Before the foundation of the republic, we cannot mention about a specific room. However, after 1927, he mostly stayed in room 101 which then turned into a museum room in 1981 so as to celebrate 100th birthday. The museum can be visited every day between 10:00 – 11:00 and 15:00 – 16:00.
Do you still get many famous guests staying in the hotel?
We are still hosting famous guests around the world.
Are many of your customers foreign?
In general, the guest profile is a mixture of European countries and US. However, in 2018 we have seen a remarkable increase in Chinese and Asian guests.
Do your personnel speak other languages?
All of our frontline personnel speak fluent English. Apart from that we have French and Arabic speaking associates. In our environment, speaking English is totally sufficient to give an excellent service.
What style menu do you offer? Could you give our readers an example?
Inspired by the route of Orient Express, the cuisine of Pera Palace is a combination of French, Italian and Turkish items. You may either enjoy a delicious Italian risotto or a delicately presented sea bass from Marmara Sea.
Do you hold events and functions in the hotel? What is available?
The hotel’s first-class venues have been part of many historical events in Istanbul and the world. For weddings and events, the hotel has one of the most historical meeting rooms in the city. Grand Pera Ballroom where the first new year ball was organised, offers a luxurious and romantic setting with its high, embellished ceilings and breath-taking sunset views. Paşa Room, Aynalı Room and Galata Ballroom are the other outlets of the hotel which offer matchless experiences with the most exceptional meeting & event services and catering alternatives.
Throughout its history, Pera Palace has never been positioned as just a hotel. It’s always been an art & culture center. Today, we are organising classical music concerts, jazz sessions, literature gatherings with famous authors, an annual crime fiction literature festival named Black Week, a theatre play called Red Speedo and daily tea time ceremonies with live music.
What experience do you feel the hotel offers its customers? How are you different to other hotels?
The most unique point about Pera Palace Hotel is that you definitely feel yourself in a time machine where you are transported to the 30s and 40s. The Belle Epoqué period has always been the most elegant years of the city’s remarkable history. Pera Palace is simply the best place to enviven the memories of that period.
How should our readers contact you and make reservations?
The readers may kindly visit www.perapalace.com or call 00902123774000 to contact us or to make their reservations.
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