If you search for the new luxury, then the story behind Six Senses is precisely what you are looking for. As welcoming and spacious as it gets-this hotel in the Sariyer district of Istanbul, being an intersection between traditional and contemporary, is yet reserved with down-to-earth staff and a cozy swimming pool.
As i skim through the petits books in one of the upper halls of the main mansion (there is also a Kocatas mansion next to it), new guests arrive with an exciting spirit that is contagious. What excites me here is that you walk through the walls decorated with the Mowlana motives by Ismail Acar.
It is also the Iftar painting in the small coffee bar that captures your attention. Somehow it is easy to comprehend but makes you want to stay next to it and enjoy the calm colour palette. Then, as you continue walking-you can see pieces of Islamic art blending in with flat Turkish seascapes.
The seascapes are never dramatic but rather regular and flat. As i get to explore more of Orhan Pamuk’s “Balkon” photo book, I come across a business card with a rare name Zuhal Sehli. The card says, “marketing and communications director at the Six Senses.” I was lucky to catch her in the office that very day.
One hour left till we leave for the airport. I need to ask as many questions about this secret balance in the hotel-style that is hidden in every corner of Six Senses. Zuhal appears to be very busy, but things seem to get into order once we sit down on the comfortable pink-buttoned armchairs and order our Turkish “orta-shekerli”. I start our conversation with questions about art pieces on the walls.
Zuhal mentions the Kaftan by Ismail Acar right in front of us. “We meet with artists at the exhibitions. And we get the pieces of art that we liked most.” I then switch my attention to the antique samovar (the iron teapot – a traditional item at the tea ceremonies in the Orient), the small old piano.
Zuhal mentions the famous Kapali Charshi – a vast covered market under the sky at the European side too. She says it was crucial to them to have a small library (the Six Senses concept) and a style that would reflect the ottoman spirit as well as the modern and eco-conscious approach. It’s a success, I say.
Because on the one side, you are surely in a place that responds to the standards (although it just opened a year ago and has some constantly ongoing work). On the other side – you get that spontaneous rhythm inside of the hotel. With guests from all over the world appreciating their time in the central fountain square with cute tables overseeing the Black Sea passages all day long. Zuhal also mentions the Six Senses Kaplankaya.
She recommends going there with family to have a different experience on the other side of the Bodrum area. She says different because there in Kaplankaya, a lot of attention is paid to quality over quantity. Purity, sustainability, art, and juicy snacks from Turkish lahmajoons to Peruvian cornbread with cheese.
One would say it’s too much contrast. But that is exactly where your mind relaxes and recharges. In a place where you can’t get too much of anything. But a little of everything. I thank Zuhal for her time and leave for the airport. Before saying goodbye to each other, we both get inspired by the fact that Atatutk himself had dinner in the exact same room, and guests came arriving to hear him speak from the balcony.
Let history continue happening here. In the walls of this newly established charismatic hotel close to the magical Belgrad forests.