Hotel Pera Palace


Hotel Pera Palace

Hotel Pera Palace ( _tr. Pera Palas Oteli) is a historical four-star hotel located in the Tepebaşı neighborhood of Beyoğlu (Pera) district in Istanbul, Turkey. It was built in 1892 for the purpose of hosting the passengers of the Orient Express and was named after the place it is located. It holds the title of "the oldest European hotel of Turkey".

The hotel is situated very close to Istiklal Avenue, Taksim Square and some foreign consulates such as of British, Swedish, Russian, Dutch, Italian, French and German.

The hotel has been closed from 2006, undergoing a major renovation and restoration project and is expected to reopen in late 2009. [http://www.perapalas.com/ Pera Palas official website]

History

The Pera Palas was designed by the French-Turkish architect Alexander Vallaury (1850-1921) in rococo style, the founder and first instructor of the Architectural Department at the Academy of Fine Arts in Istanbul. The construction started in May 1881, and the hotel was opened in October 1891. The "Compagnie Internationale dés Wagons et des Grands Express Européens" built the hotel to accommodate guests arriving in Sirkeci Terminal from Paris on the Orient Express. The symbols of the Pera Palas and the Orient Express are the same.

The Pera Palas lived through the Ottoman decline, the founding of the Republic, two world wars and changing political, social and economic conditions.

After World War I, occupying forces used the Pera Palas as their headquarters. Following the liberation of Istanbul by the Turkish nationalist movement under Mustafa Kemal Atatürk in 1922, the British gave "the key to Istanbul" back to Celal Bayar in this hotel, where İsmet İnönü stayed during the armistice talks.

The hotel

This traditional building overlooking the Golden Horn is just off the main road but with access from a small side road. The exterior colour is champagne-yellow with the appearance of an old palace.

The flooring is marble with attractive decoration. The small lobby is traditionally decorated up a few stairs. Its lobby and halls are cluttered with 19th century furniture. By the end of the 19th century, the hotel had the first electric elevator in Istanbul.

The hotel on 6 floors with 145 guest rooms including 6 suites has 273 beds equipped with all the modern comforts. The medium sized rooms and the bathrooms have not been changed for many years and are very traditional. Most of the beds are iron and brass with deep mattresses.

Facilities of the Pera Palace include meeting, seminar and ball rooms of 400 persons capacity in addition to Pera Restaurant, Orient Express Bar, Pera Patisserie.

The main restaurant, where an excellent selection of local and Turkish cuisine is served, is located on the ground floor and is elegantly appointed.

Ownership

In 1915, Petros Bodosaki, a windmill owner of Greek ethnicity, visited the hotel. As he was turned away due to his poor appearance, he got angry enough to buy the hotel. Bodosaki turned over the management to his son Hadji Thoma Anastasiadis in October 1919. Due to his tax debt, the hotel was then auctioned and the state took up the management in 1923. The Pera Palas became functional again.

After 1923, Misbah Muhayyes, who gave much to Mustafa Kemal Atatürk during the Syrian campaign, received a letter of gratitude from Atatürk, who, upon Muhayyes’s wish, honored him with Turkish citizenship and also handed over the management of the hotel. Muhayyes' will determined that the income of the enterprise be divided between humanitarian foundations.

In 1963, trustees left the management entirely to these organizations after forming the Istanbul Hotel Management, Tourism and Trading Company.

Towards the end of 1977, a businessman from Gaziantep, Hasan Süzer, bought 60% of the hotel's shares and became the top executive. Shortly thereafter he purchased the remaining shares.

Pera Palas was renewed from top to bottom in 1974, but all the valuable and unique memorabilia remain in their original form.

Notable guests

The hotel has entertained many kings, queens, statesmen and artists from all over the world since its establishment. Famous guests stayed in the hotel including Agatha Christie, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, King George V of England, Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany, Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria-Hungary and Czar Nicholas II of Russia.

Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the Turkish Republic and the first President of Turkey, was a guest at the Pera Palace several times. Room 101, where he stayed during his visits to Istanbul, is now kept as a veritable museum with the original furniture and memorabilia.

Agatha Christie was in fact one of the hotel's most ardent visitors. The "Agatha Christie Room", number 411, is now preserved in her honor. It is rumored that she wrote "Murder on the Orient Express" here. This seems likely since the hotel was originally founded in 1892 for the specific purpose of hosting passengers arriving on the Orient Express train and no doubt served as an inspiration to the "Queen of Crime".

Other prominent visitors of the Pera Palas were: Ismet Inönü, Celal Bayar, Adnan Menderes, Fahri Korutürk, King Zog I of Albania, Shah Reza Pahlavi of Iran, King Edward VIII of England, King Ferdinand I of Bulgaria, King Carol I of Romania, President Tito of Yugoslavia and President Giscard d’Estaing of France.

The long list of historically notable people includes Franz Von Papen, Mata Hari, Yehudi Menuhin, Jacqueline Kennedy, Rita Hayworth and Zsa Zsa Gabor.

References

External links

* [http://trhotels.com/HTL_info.asp?HTL_id=672 Hotels in Turkey]
* [http://www.allaboutturkey.com/perapalas.htm All about Turkey]
* [http://www.perapalas.com/en/index.php Pera Palas official website]


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