There is too much to know about Pera Place Hotel which is flying in the face of the history for about 120 years in the most beautiful corner of Istanbul. Here is some information that you will be astonished to discover about this remarkable place, has witnessed countless scenes where it stands for over a century.
The passengers of the Orient Express, a very luxurious train that traveled from Paris to Istanbul after an 80-hour journey in 1888, were usually high-class bureaucrats, writers, and rich people. The construction of the Pera Palace Hotel was decided since these people needed luxurious accommodation.
Opened in 1895 with an exceptional ball, the hotel was one of the most brilliant buildings in Istanbul. The hotel was the first building in the Ottoman Empire to be powered by electricity, other than the Ottoman Palaces. It was also the only place in the city to accommodate hot running water for its guests and was home to the first electric lift in Istanbul.
Mustafa Kemal Atatürk had stayed many times at the Pera Palace Hotel since 1917 and hosted his top-level guests.
The room number 101, where Atatürk made important decisions for the country and welcomed his guests after he returned from the front-line, was transformed into a museum room on his 100th birthday.
In 1981, room 101 was renovated with his favorite color just like the other museum houses in the name of Atatürk. Atatürk’s books, magazines, signed photographs, and medals, which were obtained from various auctions over the years, were decorated with personal belongings of Atatürk.
In the period when the hotel was built; The first art exhibition in Istanbul, which consists of works of Şeker Ahmet Pasha, was held here. On the New Year’s Eve of 1925, the first New Year ball in Istanbul was at Pera Palace Hotel too.
Pera Palace Hotel’s cookery was the first kitchen where curry spices were used in the Ottoman Empire. The first turtle soup was cooked in this kitchen.
The famous writer stayed here many times during her travels through 1926-1932. Her often preferred room 411 was converted into a museum after a while and is still being visited by her enthusiasts.
In 1926, the writer had disappeared for 11 days. According to claims, the author was staying at the Pera Palace Hotel during this time. After the death of the author, Tamara Rand, a famous psychic, claimed that the details of the time when the author disappeared were hidden in her room at the Pera Palace Hotel. Later, in the author’s room, a key was found to reveal the secret of her 11 lost days, at the spot described by the psychic. However, due to the disagreement between hotel management and Warner Bros. who desired to make a movie from this story, this mystery was never revealed.
Pera Palace Hotel has hosted many influential names such as the Shah of Iran Reza Pehlevi, King of Great Britain Edward VIII, King Pierre of Serbia, German Ambassador Von Papen, and American First Lady Jacquelin Kennedy.
The literary works that Pera Palace Hotel was included are as follows: Ernest Hemingway’s The Snows of Kilimanjaro, Graham Greene’s Travels With My Aunt, Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express.
In Pera Palace Hotel, apart from the rooms that converted to museum of Atatürk and Agatha Christie; The Greta Garbo suite, decorated with silks and smell of roses, the Ernest Hemingway suite filled with Hemingway books, the Pierre Loti suite overlooking the Golden Horn and Pierre Loti hill, allowing its visitors the opportunity to move between the pages of history.
Some of the commanders of the occupation forces were present in a visit to the Pera Palace Hotel by Atatürk during the occupation of Istanbul. The commanders of the occupation forces who noticed Atatürk wanted to invite him to their tables. Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, who was informed about this invite, declared the following sentences at Pera Palace Hotel: “Although it may seem like the holder of Istanbul are them, they will soon go. Therefore they are guests here. In our culture guests are always welcomed. So if they so desire, they can come to my table!”
The outside of the hotel is classical, orientalist lines in the ballroom and art nouveau lines in the other secondary venues. The hotel, designed for the comfortable accommodation of European nobles, was built with the most luxurious materials. Even today, in the hotel, the plumbing, and equipment used in that period are still being used.