Mystery of 'the Bosphorus box' solved

Turkish Airlines’ catering company Do&Co is working on the restoration of two Bosphorus waterfront mansions to build an exclusive seven-star hotel.

Turkey’s flagship carrier Turkish Airlines (THY) is renovating two waterfront Ottoman houses to establish a seven-star hotel along the Bosphorus to host its most distinguished passengers as part of efforts to consolidate Istanbul’s position as a flight hub.

The luxury hotel located at Istanbul’s tourist attraction spot Ortaköy is planned to serve VIP customers when it is completed next year.

Do&Co, a catering company, 50 percent of which is owned by THY, rented Fehime Sultan Yalısı and
Hatice Sultan Yalısı – two waterfront houses, called “yalı” in Turkish – for 25 years in return for 125 million Turkish Liras.

Since burning down in 2002, Fehime Sultan Yalısı, which served as aprimary school for 33 years, has been used as a car park, whereas Hatice Sultan Yalısı used to be a swimming facility for Istanbul Swimming Club. Do&Co began renting Hatice Sultan Yalısı in 2006.

Singapore-based company Amanresorts International has offered $150 million for two mansions, but the Culture and Tourism Ministry didn’t give OK to sale. The ministry only gave permission for restoration and rent out of the assets.

Delicate work

A total of 350 people, including architects, restaurateurs, stone dressers, carpenters and painters have been toward the renovation, which is estimated to reach upward to 100 million liras. The well-established Turkish restoration company Gürsoy Group is managing the work.

Customers who stay in the sultan rooms that have all of the privileges of King Suites will be transported to their hotels by boat from the airport.

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