Istanbul’s luxury Les Ottomans hotel taken over by creditors

Les Ottomans, a luxury boutique hotel situated on the edge of Istanbul’s Bosporus waterway, was taken over by a local bank after the owner failed to repay debt.

Akbank, run by the billionaire Sabancı family, took control of the 10-suite hotel on Thursday, the company said in a statement to the Istanbul Stock Exchange.

The acquisition of Les Ottomans from its owner, Ünal Aysal, the former chairman of top Turkish soccer club Galatasaray, is emblematic of the financial difficulties facing many companies in Turkey following a currency crisis in 2018. The lira has lost about a quarter of its value this year, adding to pressure on companies’ balance sheets.

Les Ottomans, located at the Bosporus mansion Muhsinzade Mehmet Paşa, was one of the latest of several luxury hotels to open in Istanbul over the past decade. It became a favoured place to stay for many wealthy tourists and foreign businessmen, with its seaside restaurant, opulent suites named after Ottoman royalty and Turkish spa.

Akbank acquired the property, which acted as collateral for a loan to Unit Investment NV, on Thursday in an auction for 430 million liras ($56 million). The cost will be set off against loan receivables and a legal process is continuing, it said.

The company said it plans to offer the hotel to local and foreign investors once it receives the property’s deeds from the land registry office.