Mr Baiocchi, could you provide us with a brief overview of your personal background?
After being raised in Africa I began studying political science in Rome and shortly thereafter, to the surprise of my parents, I decided to join l’Ecole hôtelière in Switzerland. I then joined Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts (‘Four Seasons’) in 1993, which was a smaller organization with 34 hotels situated mainly in Northern America and one international hotel in London. In 1993 Four Seasons then opened its doors in Milan as the first non-English speaking international hotel for this organization. In Milan, the American attitude towards servicing was imported; smoking and non-smoking areas were introduced within the restaurant area and calls at reception were answered by addressing our clients’ by surname. Following other international experiences with Four Seasons, I was then appointed as General Manager in Turkey from where I am currently overseeing Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at the Bosphorus. Four Seasons in Istanbul also has a hotel in Sultanahmet’s historical district that provides you with the true essence of Istanbul’s rich and varied history. At Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at the Bosphorus instead you can experience the new face of Istanbul’s modern vibrant city. It is worth pointing this out because currently the only places offering two Four Seasons within the same city are Los Angeles, Singapore, Chicago, London and now, Istanbul
We are in a converted nineteenth century Ottoman palace. What more can you tell us about these premises?
The property consists of three buildings, one historical building facing the Bosphorus and two modern side wings. The central building, or Atik Pasha, is an Ottoman restored and stately central property. The east facing rooms in the Pasha’s mansion benefit from spectacular head on views of the Strait of Bosphorus while the outdoor pool sits adjacent to the seafront and the fact that we sit on prime real estate land coupled to the established presence on the local market of the Four Seasons in Sultanahmet certainly contributed to making the opening the success that it was. Nonetheless – despite our incredible location what really matters to us is how our guests feel. The environment is friendly and professional and we work round the clock to deliver a service that makes our guests leave and remember about their experience at Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at the Bosphorus for some time to come.
Please provide an insight on Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at the Bosphorus facilities, including its accommodations and the acclaimed Aqua restaurant.
Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at the Bosphorus has 170 rooms averaging 50 sq. meters and 25 suites ranging between 65 and 380 sq. meters. Most of the suites have a view over the Strait of Bosphorus while the Aqua restaurant offers Italian cuisine and has an indoor and outdoor area. The outdoor pool with its infinity edge over the Bosphorus is definitely the place where our guests want to be after a day sightseeing the city and we also offer an indoor pool for the winter days. The hotel is at its best during the city’s vibrant summer days – we thrive on our multicultural environment and are currently investing substantially on both the Chinese and Middle Eastern markets. We also offer a convention center for governmental and corporate meetings and are a popular venue for both local and international weddings.
Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at the Bosphorus was nominated as best hotel Spa in Europe in 2013. What in your opinion differentiates this hotel’s Spa from others in Europe and elsewhere in Istanbul?
The Spa at Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at the Bosphorus is one of the hotel’s highlights. It offers a wide array of treatments in addition to a traditional Turkish hammam experience and we can count on a knowledgeable and passionate director of Spa that always tries to exceed on our customers’ expectations. Our concept evolves around engaging the senses in one blissfully perfect experience – from the moment in which our guests approach the Spa they are already experiencing a different atmosphere and beginning a journey into relaxation and meditation. We resort to both local therapists’ and therapists coming from other countries such as Bali and Thailand and offer a diversified chemical free menu and organic focused Spa treatments. Our Spa always receives fantastic feedback from our guests and our gym is also a great facility where we keep investing by upgrading our equipment. It is also worth mentioning that the Spa is opened to the public but our guests enjoy priority – we operate a selective membership programme for a limited number of external guests while the outdoor pool is confined to our hotel guests only.
Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at the Bosphorus is located in Besiktas. What more can you tell us about this district?
The district of Besiktas is the commercial hub of Istanbul – the fashionable district of Ortakoy is also just short ride north along the Bosphorus shore and there are therefore several restaurants and bars in the area. Besiktas is a good area for younger crowds or people that already know the city. For the people that come to Istanbul for the first time, couples and those that can only spare a couple of days I would however recommend the experience at Four Seasons in Sultanahmet – it really offers a sense of what Istanbul and Turkey are all about.
Have you got a final message for our international readership?
Istanbul is an incredible city – a city of contrasts where eastern traditions meet western ones and ancient sites collide with modern ones. However, there is more to Turkey than just Istanbul. The site of Ephesus, an important Greco – Roman site, is one of the best preserved ancient sites in the world and the landscapes of Cappadocia are also incredibly beautiful as is the Aegean coast line from Cesme to Bodrum. Start out in Istanbul and come and explore Turkey – we are waiting for you.