Istanbul, with its historical peninsula, numerous scenic and historical beauties is a magnificently unique city that has been capital to many civilizations from past to present and still continues to be home to residents from all over the world.
Not only is this a city located on two separate continents, complete with a wide range of diverse and fascinating neighborhoods wherever you wander, but you also have an abundance of history to explore, a mouth-watering cuisine to enjoy and even some nightlife that rivals that of many major party places around the world.
Five-star hotels have been popping up like seedlings in Istanbul in the last few years. In a city packed with more hotels than you could visit in a lifetime, finding the best isn’t easy. But these five are arguably the best the city has to offer.5. Hilton Istanbul Bomonti Hotel & Conference Center, Sisli
The contemporary Hilton Istanbul Bomonti Hotel & Conference Center is conveniently set in Sisli, one of Istanbul’s most cosmopolitan areas. Celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2015, since 1955, this iconic hotel has played host to many celebrities, members of royalty and business leaders including Sophia Loren, Louis Armstrong and Grace Kelly. The glamorous Eforea Spa encompasses three floors of the hotel. Unwind with a Turkish bath or refreshing swim in the indoor or outdoor swimming pools.
The Shangri-La is a little way out from the tourist sights of Sultanahmet, but provides a fantastic starting point for exploring other parts of Istanbul. To the right is the Dolmabahçe Palace where the prime minister has an office protected by hordes of police. He’s there about two days a week. To the left is the new maritime museum featuring over 20.000 art pieces. The pastel palette of blue, beige and cream that dominates the interior is certainly a calming contrast to the pandemonium of Istanbul’s streets; others might find it a bit bland. The opulence is in the detail, a stitched leather banquette here, a silk panel and lacquer work there, marble everywhere.
The Four Seasons Bosphorous is a gorgeous, tasteful, river-front property in Beşiktaş. Situated along the Bosporus, this renovated 19th-century Ottoman palace features a historic architecture in harmony with luxurious details. The building, classic decor, and lay out are particularly striking, and few hotels match the elegance of this property. The rooms are large and perfectly serviced. The view from the terrace is beautiful, the restaurants are delicious and the spa is what you would expect from a Four Seasons Resort! 2. Raffles Istanbul, Zorlu Center
The latest Raffles hotel forms an integral part of the award-winning Zorlu Centre, which comprises an upmarket shopping centre and a state-of-the-art performance venue. Unlike the majority of luxury hotels in Istanbul, Raffles does not pay homage to the city’s bygone Byzantine and Ottoman eras but stands instead as a symbol of a modern, self-confident Turkey. The hotel had its grand opening on September 1 and Lady Gaga, the American singer, was among the first guests.
The Ciragan Palace Kempinski Istanbul maintains the grand tradition of the Bosphorus. Palm trees and gazebos embellish the hotel’s outdoor space, but the centerpiece is “a perfectly maintained waterfront infinity pool.” Beige and blue interiors have nineteenth-century furniture, custom wool carpets, and soaring columns. Rooms are a mix of East and West and have beds with sturdy headboards and partial canopies. Turkish afternoon tea in the Gazebo Lounge is highly recommended.