Hotels in Istanbul
Istanbul's hotels have come a long way in the last decade. Luxury chain outposts have taken hold (think Four Seasons, Ritz-Carlton, Kempinski, and more), centrally located boutique hotels are cropping up, and traditional properties such as the Pera Palace, with its views of the Golden Horn, have been renovated. It's essential to choose a hotel in a neighborhood that best suits your needs. Those in the Old City, Sultanahment, have great access to the major historical sites, but limited restaurant and nightlife options. Plus, salesmen flood the streets here, making your stay more stressful than it need be. You'll find more modern and luxury digs, most offering some type of shuttle service, across the Bosphorus; the views from here are spectacular. One of the best hotels in Istanbul is the opulent Ciragan Palace Kempinski Istanbul, set in an Ottoman palace built by Sultan Abdulaziz. The property straddles two neighborhoods, Ortakoy and Besiktas. With three restaurants, an over-the-top hammam, a beautiful pool area, and large, contemporary rooms done in jewel tones, there's plenty to keep you busy.
To convert a 19th-century Istanbul distillery into a boutique hotel, owner-architects Mark and Nedret Butler looked to the Bosporus for inspiration.
Istanbul’s lyrical qualities find literal manifestation at the Hotel Poem on the southern edge of the historic neighborhood Sultanahmet.
An aquarium occupies an entire lobby wall at Edition Istanbul. But that’s only one of the design flourishes—silver-foil ceilings; glassed-in bathrooms—that send the 78-room hotel over the top.
The Grand Hyatt Hotel near Taksim Square in Istanbul has a lot going for it. With 360 luxury rooms, suites, and apartments, two restaurants, a Gaia Spa & Fitness Centre, a tennis court, Turkish bath, and arguably the best pool in the city.
No neighborhood in Istanbul exudes more European chic than Nisantisi. The Sofa Hotel is a prime example. Designed by renowned Turkish architect Sinan Kafadar, the 82 guest rooms contain a minimalist mix of light hardwood, marble, chrome, and strategic splashes of pomegranate red.
Turkey’s first 5-star hotel is a 499-room complex surrounded by lush gardens in the heart of the city. Set on the European side of the Bosphorus, the 56-year-old hotel is walking distance to lively Taksim Square and shopping district Nisantasi.
Sandwiched between the Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace, this hotel complex consists of nine pastel-colored clapboard buildings along a narrow, cobblestoned street closed to traffic.
The W doesn’t have staff, it has insiders (that’s really the title on their business cards). Flanked by designer boutiques and minutes away from the Dolmabahçe Palace, the W’s décor—aquamarine lighting, gleaming chrome, slick surfaces—is equal parts neo-Ottoman and neo–Stanley Kubrick.
By the late 1970s, this former manor of a prominent Ottoman official was in such a state of decay that it was demolished and rebuilt from scratch.
Located in the posh neighborhood of Nisantasi and set within two buildings, one of which is a 1922 Neoclassical beauty that houses 90 Art Deco–decorated guest rooms.
Adjacent to the Çırağan Palace Kempinski Istanbul, and nearly as costly, this Four Seasons property is as elegantly restrained as the Kempinski is glamorously over-the-top.
Visitors to Sultanahmet might believe Mavi Ev (blue house) had absorbed its color from the adjacent Blue Mosque. Although the 26-room guest house is decorated in traditional Ottoman tiles, carpets, and stained glass, it includes most modern amenities.
To stay in the center of it all, try the Marmara Pera, which hosts Mikla, one of Istanbul’s chicest restaurants, on its top two floors. Mikla’s creations, by star Turkish chef Mehmet Gürs, fuse local and Scandinavian flavors—and the view is one of the most breathtaking in the city.