Istanbul

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Istanbul is unique. It’s the only city in the world that straddles two continents. Its history stretches back at least 2,500 years, embracing three great empires (Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman), not to mention the 13th-century interlude of the ‘Latin Empire’, when a gang of Frankish barons decided to call off the Fourth Crusade to the Holy Land and conquer Constantinople (as it then was) instead. Many of the best places to stay in Istanbul can be found in historic buildings scattered throughout the city.

As a result, its historic core is literally littered with ancient relics: Roman catacombs, Byzantine battlements, Ottoman palaces (a good many of which have been converted into some of the best places to stay in Istanbul) and the graceful domes of mosques and Orthodox churches.

The city owes all this to its location, athwart the Bosphorus straits and overlooking the natural harbour of the Golden Horn. It was a prosperous entrepôt even before Constantine the Great chose it as the new capital of the Roman Empire in 330AD, and after that it never looked back.

Best places to stay in Istanbul

Sultanahmet District

Most visitors head immediately for the Sultanahmet district, where the city’s iconic sights – the 6th-century Aya Sofya cathedral, the great mosques, Topkapi Palace – cluster within walking distance of each other. This is where you’ll find most of the best places to stay in Istanbul for those on a budget or looking for mid-range accommodation, plus one or two stylish boutique hotels.

  • Sari Konak offers elegant and great value rooms, including triple suites for groups or families. Plus a roof terrace with fabulous views.
  • The Empress Zoe enjoys an excellent location and effortlessly combines period style with modern comforts. Added bonus of a pretty garden for relaxing in.
  • Seven Hills Hotel boasts eighteen rooms and suites decorate in Ottoman style. The main draw is the incredible roof top restaurant with breathtaking views and great seafood.

Hotels with a pool

If you want a pool, though, you’ll have to seek out one of the city’s luxury hotels, and most of these are located on the shores of the Bosphorus and across the Golden Horn from the historic centre, where Taksim Meydani (Taksim Square) is the nucleus of the modern business district.

  • Çirağan Palace Kempinski has arguably the most stunning pool terrace in town, plus well regarded restaurants and a top notch spa.
  • Hotel Les Ottomans is a must for those who love over the top luxury. The pool terrace is lavish and the rooms make you feel like a Sultan or Sultana.

Business District

Close to Taksim, the previously slightly seedy inner-city areas around Beyoglu and Cihangir are also undergoing something of a renaissance, with new bars, clubs, restaurants and some of the best places to stay in Istanbul.

  • Hotel Witt Istanbul Suites is a must for the design conscious; sleek modern lines and minimalist interiors.
  • The Ritz Carlton offers top notch facilities aimed at both the business and leisure traveller. Great spa and pool, plus a range of bars and restaurants.

Browse our list of the best places to stay in Istanbul and start to plan your visit.

 
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The best hotels in Istanbul

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  • Hotel Sari Konak

    Istanbul (Sultanahmet)

    A comfortable base for exploring the sights of Sultanahmet with fantastic views over the city and sea from the roof top terrace cafe. Elegant rooms with parquet floors and cream furnishings. The triple suites are ideal for groups or families.

    23 rooms from $80
    Views  -  Excellent views from the roof terrace cafe.
    Local markets  -  Good for local colour.
    Sights nearby  -  Well located for major sights.
    Recommended by  -  Frommers
  • HHK

    Istanbul (Hayriye Hanım Sk,)

    A quiet hotel in a traditional Turkish neighbourhood. Rooms are elegant with creamy furnishings. Swimming pool, restaurant, and roof top terrace bar. A charming spot and great value too.

    21 rooms from $82
    Views  -  Many rooms have great Bosphorus views
    Value chic
    Sights nearby  -  Within walking distance of many attractions including the Grand Bazaar and Galata Tower
    Local markets  -  Good for local colour.
    Recommended by  -  Tablet
  • Portus House Istanbul

    Istanbul (Mumhane Cd No:31)

    A small simple guesthouse close to the Bosphorus. Charming contemporary rooms have white walls, exposed brickwork and splashes of colour. A great location and excellent value.

    10 rooms from $93
    Value chic
    Sights nearby  -  Within walking distance of both Sultanahmet and Taksim
    Views  -  Great views from hotel
    Local markets  -  Good for local colour.
    Recommended by  -  Tablet
  • Mama Shelter

    Istanbul (Ş. Hüseyin Ay Sk No:50)

    A highly modern hotel designed for the 21st century visitor, whether travelling alone, as a couple, in a group or as a family. Chic contemporary white rooms with all the mod cons. Meeting spaces, restaurant, bar and terrace. Excellent value too.

    from $93
    Groups  -  Triple rooms.
    Value chic
    City Style
    Families
    Recommended by  -  CN Traveller
  • Ansen Suites

    Istanbul (Meşrutiyet Cd No:70)

    A sophisticated collection of apartments with kitchenettes in a bustling area of Istanbul. Chic contemporary suites have parquet floors, quirky interior design, all the mod cons and stand alone bath tubs. A stylish spot for couples and families.

    10 rooms from $101
    City Style
    Sights nearby  -  Many sites accessible on foot including the Istanbul Modern Art Museum
    Local markets  -  A short walk from the Fish Market
    Recommended by  -  I Escape
  • SuB Hotel

    Istanbul

    A gorgeous have of peace and tranquility in a quiet neighbourhood. Chic, contemporary, and understated living space filled with natural light, wooden floors, characterful pieces of furniture. Rooms and connecting rooms are spacious and modern. A unique spot with no frills attached.

    18 rooms from $120
    City Style
    Families
    Sights nearby  -  Located in the Karakoy district, close to many attractions
    Full of character
    Recommended by  -  Tablet
  • Hotel Nomade

    Istanbul (Ticarethane Sokak 15,)

    Recently renovated comfortable rooms and an unbeatable location at an affordable price - plus superb rooftop bar-terrace where delicious breakfasts and fantastic sea views can be enjoyed. Well designed uncluttered rooms with wall-hung killim rugs and traditional colours.

    16 rooms from $135
    Value chic
    Local markets  -  Good for local colour.
    Sights nearby  -  Well located for major sights.
  • Empress Zoe

    Istanbul (Akbiyik Caddesi 34110)

    Well located combination of period style and modern facilities. Adjoining Ottoman houses and a 15th-century hammam. Attractively furnished rooms with antiques, Turkish rugs, wallhangings and Islamic folk art. Also, an ‘archaeological garden’ for relaxing in.

    25 rooms from $135
    Sights nearby  -  Well located for major sights.
    Local markets  -  Good for local colour.
    Recommended by  -  Frommers
  • Ayasofya Konaklari

    Istanbul (Sultanahmet)

    A collection of historic buildings, redolent of the city’s Ottoman past, converted to a stylish hotel next door to Aya Sofya. Picturesque painted wooden houses each with 10 en-suite rooms and apartments in Ottoman style - maroon velvet, gilt and ornate furniture. A lovely garden too.

    64 rooms from $148
    City Style
    Sights nearby  -  Well located for major sights.
    Local markets  -  Good for local colour.
    Recommended by  -  Frommers
  • Garden House Hotel

    Istanbul (Mehmet Pasa Sokak 11/13)

    Friendly oasis offering four-star comfort with a surprisingly affordable price tag in the heart of the old town. A lovely garden courtyard and breakfast area. Rooms with polished wood floors, kilims and wooden furniture. A real steal in a great location.

    36 rooms from $185
    Value chic
    City Style
    Sights nearby  -  Well located for major sights.
    Local markets  -  Good for local colour.
  • The House Hotel Galatasaray

    Istanbul (Bostanbaşı Cd No:19)

    A striking Ottoman townhouse with enormous suites. Rooms and suites have high ceilings, chandeliers, floor to ceiling windows, parquet floors and creamy furnishings. Lovely lounge-bar-restaurant. A stylish, romantic, and family friendly spot in the Beyoglu district.

    20 rooms from $182
    City Style
    Local markets  -  Good for local colour.
    Sights nearby  -  Well located for major sights.
    Recommended by  -  Mr & Mrs Smith, Tablet, I Escape, CN Traveller
  • Adahan

    Istanbul (Mesrutiyet Cad, Asmalimescit, Beyoglu)

    Housed on the top floor of a grand 1874 building, with a roof terrace and restaurant with views over the Galata District. This charming hotel has been restored maintaining its high ceilings, wooden floors & attractive period furniture together with the modern necessities to create an excellent hotel

    40 rooms from $189
    Restaurant  -  Breakfast, lunch and dinner in the Cachi Lokanta roof top bar/resturant with a terrace, which serves Turkish cuisine
    Suites  -  Sunny light standard rooms and suites with architectural details, frescos, vaulted ceilings and marble bathrooms
    Historic  -  The nighbourhood was once the base for European merchants mainly from Genoa and Venice
    Views  -  Great views across the city from the rooftop bar restaurant
  • The Sofa Nisantasi

    Istanbul (Teşvikiye Fırın Sk No:41)

    A large and impressive art hotel with cutting edge modern design. Enormous rooms and suites have all the mod cons, contemporary furnishings, balconies, and lots of natural light. Excellent restaurant, spa, and art gallery. Very stylish, very central.

    82 rooms from $202
    City Style
    Spa  -  Detox and wellness centre offering a wide range of treatments
    Local markets  -  Good for local colour.
    Swimming Pool  -  Indoor/outdoor
    Recommended by  -  I Escape, Tablet, CN Traveller
  • The House Hotel Bosphorus

    Istanbul (Ortaköy)

    A sophisticated townhouse hotel in a fishing village outside Istanbul. Chic spacious rooms and suites in creams and ochres with stunning views over the Bosphorous. Restaurant, gym, and lots to do. Stylish and family friendly.

    26 rooms from $202
    Village  -  Ortakoy is an old fishing village outside Istanbul.
    Views  -  Stunning views over the Bosphorous.
    Lively  -  Hip and happening.
    Local markets  -  Good for local colour.
    Recommended by  -  Tablet, Mr & Mrs Smith
  • Amira Hotel

    Istanbul (Mustafa Paşa Sk No:43)

    A small stylish hotel with an excellent restaurant and spa in the heart of the Sultanahmet. Contemporary rooms and family rooms have parquet floors, plush furnishings, and balconies. An excellent restaurant and terrace with spectacular views.

    35 rooms from $214
    Families
    City Style
    Sights nearby  -  Close to all major attractions including the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace
    Views  -  Great views from hotel
    Recommended by  -  Tablet
  • The House Hotel Nisantasi

    Istanbul (Abdi İpekçi St No:34)

    A super sophisticated hotel in Istanbul's most upmarket neighbourhood. Rooms and suites of epic proportions are sultry and sophisticated. Floor to ceiling windows, neutral tones, fireplaces, all the mod cons. Gym, meeting rooms, massage. Extremely sleek.

    44 rooms from $214
    City Style  -  A sophisticated hotel in an upscale neighbourhood.
    Sights nearby  -  Sultanahmet, the historic heart of Old Istanbul.
    Local markets  -  Good for local colour.
    Recommended by  -  Tablet, I Escape, CN Traveller, Mr & Mrs Smith
  • Tomtom suites

    Istanbul (Tomtom Kaptan Sk No:18)

    A superbly renovated former convent with chic, but understated rooms and suites. Contemporary rooms and suites have lots of natural light, subtle tones, parquet floors and all the mod cons. Delightful bistro, roof top terrace, and minutes from the best shopping. Stylish, not pretentious.

    20 rooms from $217
    City Style
    Designer  -  Uniquely designed interiors.
    Sights nearby  -  Well located for major sights.
    Local markets  -  Good for local colour.
    Recommended by  -  Tablet, CN Traveller, Small Luxury Hotels
  • W Istanbul

    Istanbul (Beşiktaş)

    One of Istanbul's more lively and stylish hotels. Chic contemporary design throughout. Rooms and suites some with four poster beds have all the mod cons, hot tubs, balconies. Excellent restaurant, cabana style terrace, and a bar that attracts party goers.

    134 rooms from $233
    Lively  -  The hotel is a nightlife hotspot for some of Istanbul's most glamourous.
    City Style
    Sights nearby  -  Walking distance of Galata Tower and Taksim Square
    Spa  -  W day spa
    Recommended by  -  CN Traveller
  • Sumahan on the Water

    Istanbul (Kuleli Cd No:51)

    Designer chic loft suites in a stunning location overlooking the Bosphorus. Loft-style suites have all the mod cons, crisp clean lines, fireplaces, polished wood floors, and kilim rugs. Excellent restaurant, terrace, and lots to do. Luxurious, romantic, and family friendly.

    24 rooms from $236
    Views  -  Wonderful views across the Bosphorus
    Outstanding location  -  Magical waterfront views.
    Luxury
    City Style
    Recommended by  -  Tablet, I Escape, CN Traveller
  • Hotel Witt Istanbul Suites

    Istanbul (Cihangir)

    Modern all-suite hotel in a newly trendy part of the city. Loft-style suites with wooden floors and large open spaces - ideal for the design conscious. Each room has a mini kitchen and microwave. Fantastic roof top sunbathing terrace.

    17 rooms from $243
    City Style
    Designer  -  Uniquely designed interiors.
    Sights nearby  -  Well located for major sights.
    Local markets  -  Good for local colour.
    Recommended by  -  Mr & Mrs Smith, I Escape, Tablet, Kiwi Collection
  • Seven Hills Hotel

    Istanbul (Sultanahmet)

    Special boutique hotel located right at the heart of Sultanahmet. It enjoys a spectacular and unique panorama from its excellent roof top restaurant - in fact nominated as the best hotel and restaurant by the New York Times. Chic rooms and suites in Ottoman style decor. Stunning.

    18 rooms from $250
    Views  -  Excellent views over the Bosphorous from the roof top restaurant.
    City Style
    Sights nearby  -  Well located for major sights.
  • A'jia Hotel

    Istanbul

    A beautiful white mansion on the water's edge. Sumptuous elegant rooms and suites in creams with all the mod cons and balconies. Wonderful riverside restaurant and bar. Easy access to all attractions. Romantic, gourmet, family friendly.

    16 rooms from $270
    Luxury
    Views  -  Great views from hotel
    Romantic Break
    City Style
    Recommended by  -  Tablet, I Escape, Mr & Mrs Smith, CN Traveller
  • Pera Palace hotel

    Istanbul (Meşrutiyet Cd No:98)

    A grand hotel with traditional opulent interiors and sophisticated rooms and suites. Three restaurants to choose from, extensive spa, and gorgeous terraces. A stylish choice filled with historic grandeur.

    99 rooms from $277
    Foodies  -  Excellent selection of restaurants.
    City Style
    Sights nearby  -  Situated in the Beyoglu district, close to many major attractions.
    Local markets  -  Good for local colour.
  • Georges Hotel Galata

    Istanbul (Beyoğlu)

    A stunning hotel that combines modern design and timeless glamour. Stylish cosmopolitan rooms have parquet floors, elegant furniture, lots of natural light, marble bathrooms and giant balconies. Fantastic French restaurant and terrace. A very special hotel.

    20 rooms from $336
    Views  -  Great views from hotel
    Luxury
    City Style
    Foodies
  • The Ritz-Carlton Istanbul

    Istanbul (Askerocagi Caddesi 15)

    Excellent leisure facilities, a good location in the newer part of the city, and some super-value special deals for visitors. Elegant contemporary rooms with excellent views over the Bosphorous, superb spa and pool, wide selection of bars and restaurants. Great for the business and pleasure.

    244 rooms from $614
    Luxury
    City Style
    Spa
    Swimming Pool  -  Indoor/outdoor
    Recommended by  -  Frommers, Kiwi Collection
  • Çirağan Palace Kempinski

    Istanbul (Yildiz Mh.)

    Pampering luxury in the former palace of Ottoman Sultans on the banks of the Bosphorus. Excellent seaside restaurant, huge pool terrace, highly regarded restaurants, great spa, and celestial views over the Bosphorous. A cocoon for sybarites.

    from $728
    City Style
    Romantic  -  Good for couples.
    Views  -  Great views from hotel
    Spa
    Recommended by  -  Fodors, Frommers, Kiwi Collection
  • Four Seasons Hotel Sultanahmet

    Istanbul (Sultanahmet-Eminönü)

    Superb food with views to match, exceptional service and rooms that are impossible to leave. Fabulous views from the roof top terrace of the minarets of Sultanahmet. Understatedly elegant rooms in neutral tones with private balconies. The restaurant serves the best modern Turkish cuisine.

    65 rooms from $742
    Luxury
    City Style
    Spa
    Sights nearby  -  Well located for major sights.
    Recommended by  -  Fodors, Frommers, Kiwi Collection
  • Hotel les Ottomans

    Istanbul (Beşiktaş)

    Over-the-top opulence, extreme luxury, great views and the most expensive rooms in town. The ultimate place for romance and indulgence. Excellent food and terraces overhanging the sea to dine on, beautiful pool terrace, lavish rooms. A hotel fit for a Sultan and his Sultana.

    10 rooms from $1079
    City Style
    Romantic  -  Good for couples.
    Views  -  Great views from hotel
    Sailing  -  Can be booked nearby.

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