ISTANBUL, Turkey -- Conrad International's biggest advantage,
asserts hotel manager Joep Bakx, is the location.
Bakx is not boasting, however, about the hotel's proximity to
The Conrad is not particularly near sites such as the Covered
Bazaar and the St. Sophia Museum, which have much closer hotel
Nor is Bakx referring to the view Conrad guests can enjoy from
the 14th-floor terrace and executive lounge that overlook the
Instead, Bakx is talking about the five-star property's
proximity to the stock exchange and to the bridge that connects the
city's European and Asian sides.
By that measure, the Conrad is better placed than other hotels
here, especially given the city's incessant traffic jams.
And for the Conrad, which puts great emphasis on attracting
business travelers, that suits it just fine.
About 80% of the hotel's bookings come from business travel,
Bakx said, although the hotel does make a pitch for incentive
travel and leisure bookings pick up in the summer and around
The hotel's capacity makes it ideal for conferences.
It offers 625 rooms and a ballroom that can accommodate up to
Business-friendly services include fax machines that should be
available in every room by August; four executive floors; the Cyber
Concierge for 24-hour computer support, or the Total Business
Package that offers a single nightly rate covering nearly all of
the hotel's meals, drinks, services and business amenities.
The Istanbul property has some other business-centered
improvements in the works.
By August, the hotel said it expects to be able to offer guests
"offices" -- key-accessible meetings rooms the hotel will make
available to them for a couple of hours, with desk space for the
computer and other office needs.
The hotel also is planning an expansion of the computer
facilities in its 24-hour business center.
Another bonus: Conrad hotels participate in the HHonors guest
The Conrad International Istanbul touts itself as offering
"European style with American comfort," which fits with its client
mix -- about 25% American and 40% European.
Local touches include local flowers in lounge and business
areas, and some Turkish decor, art and carpeting.
The hotel offers six types of suites and has four nonsmoking
Internet access is offered in the business center, although,
after half an hour on line, the fee gets expensive.
The health club is first-rate, with about 10 treadmills, bikes
and stair climbers.
The hotel has a junior ballroom for smaller gatherings as well
as nine meeting rooms and two boardrooms.
Finally, in the category of "things you don't want to think
about but should know," the hotel was built on a rock and is
designed to withstand an earthquake of up to 9.0 on the Richter
The Conrad was not damaged by the major August 1999 earthquake
that had its epicenter 65 miles southeast of Istanbul.