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Review: JW Marriott Istanbul Marmara Sea (2022) [Turkey]
I spent my last night in Turkey at the brand new JW Marriott Istanbul Marmara Sea after my stay at The Bodrum EDITION. I was curious about this new hotel as I was a little bit lukewarm from my stay at the other JW Marriott by the Bosphorus. I wanted to see if this new property can do better than its older sibling.
JW Marriott Istanbul Marmara Sea- Booking
I came across this new property while I was trying to look for hotels to my trip in Turkey, and Marriott released the listing for this hotel. This good timing allowed me to book this hotel at a rate of 144.5 EUR for the night with special offers of 20% off in food and beverage & spa.
Points wise, 20,000 to 30,000 Marriott Bonvoy points is needed to book for 1 night. Outside of the promotion, expect to pay ~225 EUR with advanced booking rates, so it can be a great option to redeem your points.
JW Marriott Istanbul Marmara Sea- Location
The hotel is located in the Bakirkoy district in the Atakoy quarter of Istanbul. It appears to be quite far from Istanbul’s iconic landmarks like Hagia Sofia, Galata Tower, and I’m not even talking about the popular districts like Besikatas and Nisantasi in the upper part of Istanbul’s European side, so the location isn’t ideal for many first-time visitors to Istanbul.
Ferry stations are nearby that can take you to the Sultanahmet region, or even the Asian side like Kadikoy. Ferry rides are one of the highlights of the Istanbul experience, and you’ll be sure to take long ones from Atakoy to the said destinations.
I didn’t get the chance to explore the Bakirkoy/Atakoy area, but I’m sure there are some hidden gems out there. The only nearby place I’ve checked out was the Baruthane Millet Bahçesi, which is a seafront park where I’ve seen people just sit in the park, sipping tea, and talk with their friends. Truly a relaxing atmosphere!
One of the main reasons to stay at this area used to be its close proximity to the old international airport. But, ever since the new international airport has been built, the distance advantage has gone away. Nonetheless, airport access is easy with HavaIST buses that ends at Bakirkoy, and then take a cheap and short taxi ride to the hotel. If you decide to take a taxi from/to the airport, then expect to pay ~$20 if there’s no traffic. Make sure to use Uber, BiTaksi, or request taxi from the hotel to avoid scams.
For public transportations, the nearest metro station is the Atakoy station, which can be reached with a short cab ride or by walking for ~15 minutes to the station. Bakirkoy also has a ferry station that can get you to the more busy areas like Karakoy and Besiktas in the European side and Kadikoy and Uskudar in the Asian side of Istanbul.
The hotel is also neighbored by a Hyatt Regency, along with some other Marriott properties like the Sheraton and Renaissance.
JW Marriott Istanbul Marmara Sea- Check-in
When I arrived to the hotel, carpets were rolled out and black luxury cars surround the front entrance. Unfortunately, they weren’t for me. Little did I know that there was a party for the celebration of grand opening of the hotel between the hotel and the real estate development company that built the hotel, Kuzu Grup. It was exciting in a way to be staying at a brand new hotel that literally just opened.
I requested a suite upgrade on the Marriott Bonvoy app, but I didn’t get a concrete answer until check-in, which makes sense considering what’s going on during my stay. Unfortunately, I could not get a suite upgrade, but I was moved to a King Bed with Sea View. It’s no big deal since I’m only staying a night, and I love hotel sea views in general, so I’m happy with the upgrade.
As a Platinum Elite, I get complimentary access to the Executive Lounge. The lounge wasn’t ready for my stay, but in exchange, I’d be eating my free breakfast at the Ceres Restaurant, which I sadly could not take advantage of since I had to leave early for my morning flight back home.
JW Marriott Istanbul Marmara Sea- Deluxe Room with Sea View
The room is simply spacious and gorgeous, and this is just the base room! I especially love the panel designs and the tall lamp box, which reminds me of Japanese designs. The neutral color scheme looks great with the hints of blue. Very modern and sleek.
Good amount of universal plugs are there for use by the bed and the main desk.
You can open the access to balcony with the sliding door to wind down and admire the Marmara Sea. The balcony space is quite generous as well, even more so than my room at The Bodrum EDITION.
Some small nitpicks of the room are that the trash bins are missing by the desk and the toilet. A minibar was also missing at the moment, but I’m sure they will be added once the hotel’s more settled in. Complimentary water bottles and Illy coffee machine are ready to use.
JW Marriott Istanbul Marmara Sea- Bathroom
The bathroom looks great as well. The sliding door with wooden panel design definitely feels Japanese inspired.
The shower and toilet are separated. The doors on both of them are double-hinged, so you can open them by pulling and pushing. This reduces the feelings of crampedness as soon as you close the bathroom doors, since the space between the sink and. Shower pressure is pretty great.
Oversized bathtub with a headrest is next to the showers. Finally, a headrest! Bath salts are also provided.
Bath amenities are by Aromatheraphy Associates, a standard for JW Marriott hotels.
JW Marriott Istanbul Marmara Sea- Spa & Fitness
Both of the spa and fitness are located on the floor above the lobby. I tried to get a spa treatment, but unfortunately the services aren’t available yet during my visit. However, I was shown a price listing by a lovely staff member named Nurşen. From what I’ve seen, the prices are pretty attractive, with 90 minute massages costing less than 150 EUR, which is one of their more lengthier services.
Nurşen then kindly gave me a mini tour of the whole floor showcasing the gym, swimming pools, and spa treatment rooms while everyone else were partying downstairs!
The gym is massive with treadmills, weight machines, and a dedicated room for yoga mats complemented with a view of the front of the hotel.
The swimming pools are impressive, with the indoor pool offering a sweeping view of the Marmara Sea, paired with a wide jaccuzi and relaxing area facing the sea.
The outdoor pool area is also impressive, showing off with an infinity pool, which Nurşen noted that the view from the pool is quite beautiful when the sunset comes. I wish I could take a dip there! The outdoor pool is accompanied by an outdoor bar, which I’d assume to be popular at the evening and night time.
After checking out the pools, I then followed Nurşen through the catwalk to the other side of the building where the spa treatments are at.
JW Marriott Istanbul Marmara Sea- Dining
Ceres Restaurant is the main restaurant of this hotel, which serves international food including Turkish food. I ended up dining there for the night since I couldn’t use it at the spa.
The food was great, and the prices are pretty affordable for their quality as well for foreigners.
I ordered 3 items on the menu, and the bill came out to be just 575 Turkish Lira, or ~$37 USD. With the discount applied, it comes out to around ~$30.
JW Marriott Istanbul Marmara Sea- Outdoor Area
The hotel has a huge outdoor lounging area by the sea where you can relax and order food from the Ceres Restaurant and the bar. It was pretty much occupied for the grand opening party.
My first impression of the JW Marriott Istanbul Marmara Sea was really great! I’d like to check out some of its facilities in more depth once the hotel’s fully settled in. I’d definitely love to stay again as I was amazed at how good the hard products are, even for base rooms. I do like this JW Marriott better than the one by the Bosphorus. Hopefully, I’ll get a suite upgrade next time! I also want to check out Bakirkoy/Atakoy region when I go back to Istanbul in the future, and this hotel would be the perfect stay for it.
However, I’m hesitant to recommend this hotel for first time visitors to Istanbul because it’s quite far to get to the iconic landmarks of Istanbul, even with its amazing public transportation system. I do recommend it if you just want a quick stay to catch the next day flight in IST after you arrived from other parts of Turkey by plane.