Alive with creative energy, Istanbul has taken centre stage as one of the world’s most mesmerising cities. To get the most of your stay, check in to one of these sleek hotels.
The Çırağan Palace Kempinski
The Çırağan Palace Kempinski is one of the few exclusive hotels in the world where you really can live like royalty. Çırağan Palace (Çırağan being Persian for “giving light”) was named in homage to the extravagant torch-lit banquets and great firework displays held by Grand Vizier Ibrahim Pasha, whose mansion once occupied the palace’s spectacular grounds. Pleasure-seekers continue to gather in the majestic baroque-style palace, which offers a sublime waterside location.
Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at Sultanahmet
Literally next door to the Ayasofya (one of Istanbul’s most famous landmarks) and within walking distance of the Grand Bazaar and Topkapi Palace, the Four Seasons at Sultanahmet is the perfect place for those looking for a sightseeing-filled city break. The adventure starts as you enter the prison gates. Yes, prison gates. Ironically, what is now one of the world’s top luxury hotels used to be a prison. Now, of course, the hospitality is first class and is the envy of everyone unlucky enough to remain outside.
Witt Istanbul Hotel
Chic, monochromatic and with a luxe residential feel, Witt Istanbul Hotel is for those who prioritise style and exclusivity. The 18 rooms and penthouse suites are the handiwork of local design powerhouse Autoban and a perfect choice for creative professionals, couples and those who prefer a more independent urban experience. A much-lauded breakfast is offered and massage and reflexology treatments can be arranged; the marble bathrooms come complete with Molton Brown amenities. A rooftop permaculture garden affords a spectacular view of the Bosphorus and Istanbul’s ancient city skyline, great for sunset drinks from the hotel bar.
Soho House Istanbul
The hippest newcomer to the hospitality scene in Istanbul in 2015, Soho House Istanbul was also its most anticipated. The property consists of two buildings: a strikingly modern glass-and-concrete, purpose-built annexe – which houses many (of the 87 rooms – and a renovated grand 19th century palace with a remarkable history. Soho House Istanbul also has an exemplary spa and gym run by the UK-based wellbeing company Cowshed, as well as cool bars and restaurants. This is a haven for creative souls with impeccable taste.
Swissotel The Bosphorus
Swissotel The Bosphorus offers five-star, state-of-the-art accommodation. Awarded as The European Luxury Hotel 2013 by World Luxury Hotel Awards, the hotel continues to raise the bar under the guidance of renowned architect Khuan Chew (think Burj Al Arab, Dubai). All guests now stay in the fully renovated West Wing, many with amazing Bosphorus views. There’s a spacious, award-winning spa offering holistic treatments, a fitness centre with personal trainers, sports classes such as pool biking (yes, pool biking), plus a jogging track in the hotel grounds.