The best hotels in Istanbul

May 13, 2023

The best hotels in Istanbul

From Ottoman palaces to sleek contemporary addresses, these are the best places to stay in Istanbul

Astride the glittering Bosphorus, Istanbul is the hotspot where worlds, cultures, religions and empires collide. A unique fusion of East-West, ancient-modern, grit and grandeur. Old bohemian neighbourhoods thrum with new-wave chefs and contemporary artists. Exquisitely restored Ottoman palaces and mansions now house an abundance of top-drawer hotels – some all faded grandeur from a former heyday, others highly polished with next-level spas and rooftop pool terraces, where sundowner DJ sets float over the call of the muezzin from minarets haloed at golden hour. For the latest spots worthy of a stay, these are the best hotels in Istanbul.

Engin Aydeniz

Soho House Istanbul

A 19th-century Italianate palazzo-turned-US Consulate lends itself perfectly to the Soho House aesthetic. When it opened, Soho House Istanbul was the group’s most ambitious yet, and for many, it’s still the most beautiful, all the original detail preserved: painted and panelled-oak walls, frescoed and embellished ceilings, intricate Art Nouveau ironwork and marble staircases the colour of tobacco… It’s an altogether grand, grown-up backdrop for the group’s clubby decor – mid-century furniture, armchairs in leather, velvet and cane – mixed up with elements from the locale: antique Turkish rugs, and hamams in the spa. Up top, the palazzo sprouts a green crop of trees offering sun-dappled shade over Apheleia Terrace, its brand-new rooftop restaurant, where Mykonos chef Athinagoras Kostakis has devised a menu of punchy Mediterranean mezzes with a Mexican twist. Fittingly it’s bang in Beyoğlu, the bohemian neighbourhood where Orhan Pamuk set his novels, vibrant with restaurants and bars, independent galleries and boutiques.

Emre Dorter

The Peninsula Istanbul

The Peninsula open so few hotels that when a new one appears you know it’s going to be something very special. Nearly 10 years in the making, Istanbul is the group’s 11th property, made up of four separate buildings – three of which are protected historical landmarks – sprawling across 250-metres of prime Galataport waterfront property taking in views of the Golden Horn, the Bosphorus, and the old city, including Topkapi Palace, the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia and Süleymaniye Mosque – the full picture-perfect postcard. Sublime views that can be soaked up over a menemen egg breakfast on the terrace; while taking laps of the pool; from the vast rooftop bar and restaurant, Gallada, helmed by two Michelin star chef Fatih Turak; and from the majority of the rooms, some of which have juliet balconies, terraces or gardens. The elegant contemporary interiors, designed by Zeynep Fadıllıoğlu, are impressive too: Marmara marbles, mother-of-pearl inlay, Iznik tiles and intricate hand-painted glasswork woven around a champagne backdrop and a carefully curated collection of Turkish artworks. Combined with The Peninsula’s outstanding spa and ever-thoughtful service, a stay here is likely to leave you ruined for all other hotels.

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