Six Senses, Istanbul: A tribute to oriental bathing culture

Six Senses

Oriental bathing culture already existed in the seventh century. The stone house in Istanbul, where a new dream spa pampers guests, may only be 100 years old. But it adds an extraordinary retreat to the Six Senses Resort Kocataş Mansions, itself steeped in history.

The metropolis of Istanbul has a lot to offer. It is not for nothing that it is one of the most popular destinations for city travelers from all over the world. What makes it so appealing has a lot to do with its history. Those who want to stay in the Six Senses Resort Kocataş Mansions, which opens in 2019, will have the opportunity to do so. For this luxurious hotel on the banks of the Bosporus, two venerable 19th-century mansions have been carefully restored.

Historic walls, modern comfort

Historic architectural features were restored, salvaged artifacts were integrated into the design. In such a way that modern comfort and authenticity complement each other perfectly. The 45 guest rooms and suites give the feeling of experiencing the glory days of the former mansions first hand. Right down to an element of Turkish culture that has played a role in the Orient for centuries: The Hamam (also known as the “Turkish bath”). 

Six Senses
Luxury with wellness plus: The Six Senses Resort Kocataş Mansions in Istanbul.

Even in the bathrooms of the Six Senses Kocataş Mansions, exquisite tiles add a bit of hamam flair. But the extraordinary spa, which was built above the hotel, promises even more. An exquisite range of treatments awaits you there – in an equally exquisite interior.

Sustainably cultivated tradition

The new spa is located in a restored 100-year-old stone house. Nestled in the natural greenery of the complex, it offers a fascinating view of the Bosphorus. The Six Senses Group’s emphasis on sustainability and local traditions is also reflected here: the three-story wellness center was built using natural materials from the surrounding area. 

Six Senses
The 100-year-old stone house above the hotel has been mindfully restored for the new spa facility.

When it comes to environmental protection, there is also a conscious focus on detail during operations: even the spa team’s uniforms had to be made of 100 percent sustainable materials. To this end, Six Senses brought the Turkish design sisters Ezra and Tuba Çetin onto the team.

Homage to Istanbul

The new 1,500-square-meter wellness temple looks like a tribute to Istanbul’s past. After all, oriental bathing and body culture has been cultivated on the Bosporus for centuries. In the new Six Senses Spa, artifacts from Ottoman palace collections underscore the historic ambience. 

Six Senses
Experience of a special kind: in the three elegantly styled hamams, guests are looked after by local specialists.

There’s no question that guests at the Six Senses Kocataş Mansions spa can enjoy first-class hammams. The modern resort even has three of them. These are among the absolute highlights of the hotel, are supervised by local specialists, and promise wellness experiences of a special kind. Each offers a spacious lounge and a decorative glass wall that lets in some daylight and opens up a magnificent view of the strait.

Versatile relaxation oasis

In addition, the elegant oasis away from the urban hustle and bustle offers five treatment rooms, two steam baths and two saunas. The relaxation zone is complemented by an extensive relaxation area, boutique and anti-aging center. And it has a Pilates studio, an alchemy bar and a nail bar.

The Six Senses Group design team drew inspiration for the décor from Istanbul’s famous Blue Mosque: the walls of the treatment rooms are tiled in blue to celebrate Turkish culture. Red linear details give the walls a natural, authentic, and sleek finish.

Six Senses Luxury in Istanbul

“Six Senses Spa Kocataş Mansions, Istanbul, is a magical place for guests and members,” says a delighted Spa Director Sündüz Ediz Kibar. In spring 2022, the spa will be expanded to include an infinity pool, a bar with fresh juices, and a fitness center.

Those who retire to the room, restaurant or other premises of the Six Senses Kocataş Mansions hotel after enjoying the spa can also expect elite luxury. And that is surrounded by the breath of history of the two historic mansions that have been converted into a top hotel. After all, the walls of both have “seen” a lot in the 150 years of their existence.

The Turkish-Ottoman Kocataş Villa was inspired by the European art and architectural influences of its time. Behind the building is a place famous for its pure spring water, which is now considered one of the “pearls of the Bosphorus”.

This house bears the name of Necmeddin Molla Kocataş, who died in 1949. The former Minister of Justice acquired it in 1929. He discovered the purity of the spring on site and founded Kocataş Water. In 1997, the villa was severely damaged by fire, then acquired by Qatari businessman Omar Hussain Alfardan and restored to dignified splendor. 

Six Senses

The Six Senses Kocataş Mansions is located on a six-and-a-half-acre waterfront property. This is in Istanbul’s affluent Sarıyer district and was shared with the neighboring Sait Paşa Mansion.

The old seat of the grand vizier

The former master of this property, built in the style of a “Turkish house,” was also no stranger: Mehmet Sait Paşa was grand vizier for nine terms – seven times during the Abdulhamit II era and twice during the second phase of the constitutional monarchy. His home was later used first as a Sardinian embassy, then as an Austrian embassy.

With the resort in Istanbul, the Six Senses Group has added another showpiece to its list of sustainability-oriented properties. Other new hotel highlights include exciting destinations in the Negev desert in Israel and on the party island of Ibiza. 

Top location on the waterfront: the hotel offers relaxation away from the hustle and bustle of the dazzling metropolis.

Travelers with a penchant for Istanbul’s fascinating history and culture will take particular pleasure in the Kocataş Mansions resort. Not least of all the hammams and benefits of the spa, which combines today’s wellness with ancient bathing tradition in an exquisite ambience. 

Text: Elisabeth Schneyder
Photos: Six Senses / John Athimaritis, Serkan Eldeleklioglu