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Best Istanbul Hotels

Istanbul is literally city of two halves, split by the Bosphorus. Straddling two continents, with one foot in Europe, the other in Asia, its history stretches back some 2500 years, during much of which it was one of the world’s most important trading cities. There are so many ancient things to see here that it’s difficult to know where to start. But the first step is finding the best Istanbul hotels for you. And luckily our Gurus have a great list to get you inspired.

Best Istanbul Hotels

Our selection of the best Istanbul hotels covers the whole gamut: from top notch, no holes barred luxury overlooking the Bosphorus, to the best bargains in town without compromising on quality, character or service.

Blue Mosque

Best Istanbul hotels for pure luxury

  • If you want serious luxury then the Hotel Les Ottomans is one of the best Istanbul hotels for you. Unleash your inner Sultan or Sultana in this former 18th century seaside mansion on the banks of the Bosphorus, it is the ultimate place for romance and indulgence. Think gold paintwork, parquet flooring, Venetian-like velvet walls, Iznik tiles and Turkish art.
  • If that seems a bit over the top, then perhaps the Çirağan Palace Kempinski will fit the bill? Also overlooking the Bosphorus, this luxury hotel has been converted from the Ottoman Sultan’s Palace into a large hotel offering some of the most luxurious accommodation in the city. it also boasts the most enormous pool terrace, plus four restaurants.


  • The Ritz Carlton Istanbul can’t compete with the first two picks on our list for pure luxury in terms of location, but it offers top-notch facilities including a rather fabulous spa and indoor pool, an array of bars and restaurants, seamless service and gorgeous rooms. It’s in the newer part of the city and would be a great choice for a winter city break.

Best Istanbul hotels for location

When selecting the best Istanbul hotels in terms of location there are lots to choose from, as the majority of the quality accommodation seems to be packed into the Sultanahmet district. But we pushed our Gurus to create the list of the best hotels in Istanbul, so they had to cull…

  • Minutes from the major sites, the Empress Zoe is a 25 room boutique hotel which was created from a collection of old Ottoman townhouses, centred upon a private archaeological garden bordering the ruins of an ancient 15th century hammam.

Empress Zoe

  • The Garden House also makes the cut onto our list of the best Istanbul hotels for location. It’s on the corner of the historic Sokullu Mehmetpasa Mosque, only minutes from Sultanahmet Square, a stone’s throw from the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, the Grand Bazaar and Topkapi Palace.
  • In the Sultanahmet, the Ayasofya Konaklari is another fine example of several old Ottoman houses being converted into a stylish hotel. The individual houses remain separate and each offers about 10 bedrooms and apartments, which are great for families or groups of friends.

For budget travellers

Staying in one of our Guru’s picks doesn’t need to stretch the wallet too far. And if your budget is small don’t worry, our best Istanbul hotels for budget travellers won’t disappoint in terms of location, quality or character.

  • First place on our list goes to the Hotel Sari Konak, a brilliant find in the heart of Sultanahmet. On the exterior it's all old Ottoman townhouse, whilst inside you can expect charming, simply decorated bedrooms with traditional wooden floors. There’s a lovely courtyard, plus a café bar on the roof terrace.

Hotel Sari Konak

  • Another good option is the Nomade Hotel. This recently renovated hotel offers an unbeatable location. Well designed rooms feature wall hung kilim rugs and traditional colours. But best of all is the roof top bar terrace with its blue canvas parasols and fabulous unfettered views across the city to the sea - an added bonus when you’re looking for a great hotel on a tight budget.

Best Istanbul hotels with great roof terraces

Selecting the best Istanbul hotels with roof terraces is a daunting prospect as there are so many boasting ‘the best view in town’. Which is a doubly contentious question because which is the best view? – that of the Bosphorus, or do you prefer to look over historic mosques and palaces?

  • Our first choice is the Hotel Witt Istanbul Suites. Located in a much newer area than the rest of our selection, you’re close to the business district where an ever increasing number of trendy bars, boutiques and restaurants are popping up. Book one of the penthouse rooms and you’ll bag one of those all important roof terraces.
  • At the Seven Hills Hotel everyone can use the terrace, in fact it doubles as their seafood restaurant and comes very well recommended - not just for the stunning panoramic views over the Bosphorus, Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia. The property’s eighteen bedrooms are Ottoman in style, but with all the mod. cons..

Four Seasons Sultabahmet

  • Our final pick of the best Istanbul hotels with great roof terraces is the Four Seasons Sultanahmet. This property is a real gem with individually designed bedrooms and a restaurant that is rumoured to serve the best Turkish food in the world! Converted from an old prison in the heart of the old town it is full of atmosphere and is just steps from all the best sights. As for the roof terrace – get yourself a drink and enjoy stunning sunsets and fabulous views over the minarets of the neighbourhood.

If you haven’t found the best hotels in Istanbul for you on this list then:

  • check out our full list of the best places to stay in Istanbul,
  • consult our Ultimate Guide to the Best Hotels in Turkey,
  • or contact one of our friendly Gurus for advice.
    • Hotel les Ottomans 10 rooms from $835

      Istanbul (Beşiktaş)

      Pure opulence in this gorgeous riverside property. The ultimate place for romance and indulgence. Rooms feature rich coloured fabrics and walls and mix modern luxuries with traditional artifacts. A world renowned spa, private boats, elegant dining spaces and a glorious pool. A truly spoiling stay.

      City Style  -  A opulent hotel oozing elegance in an 18th-century Pasha's mansion- expect intricate ceilings, crown mouldings, and chandeliers.
      Spa breaks  -  Housing the famed Caudalie Vinothérapie Spa with an extensive therapy list, hamman and a number of pools.
      Sights nearby  -  Close to many of Istanbul's most famed sights including the Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque and Topkapi Palace.
      Local markets  -  Explore the exciting warren alleyways of the Main Bazaar and haggle for a steal.
      Recommended by  -  Frommers, Kiwi Collection, Small Luxury Hotels
      Check prices
    • Çirağan Palace Kempinski 313 rooms from $230

      Istanbul (Yildiz Mh.)

      Pampering luxury in the former palace of Ottoman Sultans on the banks of the Bosphorus. Lavish interiors are reminiscent of glamour from a bygone era. Award winning restaurants, huge pool terrace, great spa, and celestial views over the Bosphorous. A wonderfully romantic destination.

      Romantic Break  -  A truly indulgent stay- palatial suites, sensuous fabrics, award winning cuisine, and spoiling spa treatments.
      Total relaxation  -  Spend days being scrubbed, wrapped and rubbed in the spa or lounging by the pool with a cocktail.
      Sights nearby  -  Dolmabahce Palace is 10 minutes away by car and the Bosphorus Bridge is nearby taking you to the historic part of the city.
      Local markets  -  Make a trip to the Main Bazaar and try out your haggling skills.
      Recommended by  -  Fodors, Frommers, Kiwi Collection
      Check prices
    • The Ritz-Carlton Istanbul 243 rooms from $280

      Istanbul (Askerocagi Caddesi 15)

      An impressive luxury 5* hotel with stunning views of the Bosphorus. Elegant contemporary rooms with large windows, crisp linen, antique furniture and traditional artworks. Enjoy the award-winning spa, rooftop pool and wide selection of bars and restaurants. Ideal for business or pleasure.

      Spa breaks  -  Nine beautifully designed treatment rooms and a hammam modelled on the 16th Century Turkish baths of Roxelana.
      City Style  -  Ottoman style glamour meets modern luxury in this elegant hotel overlooking the Bosphorus Straits.
      Local markets  -  Search for treasures in the buzzing Grand Bazaar, make sure you bring your bargaining hat!
      Sights nearby  -  The Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, and Topkapi Palace are just across the straits.
      Recommended by  -  Frommers, Kiwi Collection
      Check prices
    • Empress Zoe 26 rooms from $73

      Istanbul (Akbiyik Caddesi 34110)

      Well designed combination of period style and modern facilities in this Ottoman house and adjoining 15th-century Hammam. Attractively furnished rooms with antiques, Turkish rugs, wall-hangings and Islamic folk art. An ‘archaeological garden’ for relaxing in. A tranquil crashpad in central Istanbul.

      Hideaway  -  A quaint hideaway right in the city centre with stylish rooms, a lovely rooftop terrace and a tranquil leafy garden.
      Local markets  -  Explore the warren alleyways of the Grand Bazaar and discover its hidden jems.
      Sights nearby  -  Close to all the main sights including the Blue Mosque and Topkapi Palace.
      Full of character
      Recommended by  -  Frommers, Fodors
      Check prices
    • Garden House Hotel 24 rooms from $51

      Istanbul (Mehmet Pasa Sokak 11/13)

      A friendly oasis offering four-star comfort in the heart of the old town. Enjoy breakfast in the lovely garden courtyard and al fresco dining in the Turkish restaurant. Elegant rooms feature polished wood floors, kilims and wooden furniture. A real steal in a great location.

      Romantic Break  -  This 19th century Ottoman Mansion is ideal for a romantic getaway, with luxorious rooms and a charming leafy garden.
      Local markets  -  Get lost in the nearby Grand Bazaar, an ideal spot for picking up bargains to bring home.
      Sights nearby  -  This central hotel is just five minutes from Hagia Sophia and the majestic Blue Mosque.
      Full of character
      Check prices
    • Ayasofya Konaklari 64 rooms from $177

      Istanbul (Sultanahmet)

      A collection of historic buildings, reminiscent 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 terrace bar.

      City Style  -  Located next to the ancient walls of the Hippodome Splendon it is friendly and safe place to stay in the Old City.
      Local markets  -  For a spot of holiday shopping check out the vibrant and colourful Grand Bazaar.
      Sights nearby  -  Take a walking tour of the many beautiful Mosques that litter the city.
      Great walks  -  Head down to Emirgan Park for a breath of fresh air.
      Recommended by  -  Frommers
    • Hotel Sari Konak 23 rooms from $56

      Istanbul (Sultanahmet)

      An elegant base for exploring the sights of Sultanahmet. Fantastic views over the city and sea from the roof top terrace. Rooms festure parquet floors and cream furnishings dotted with Turkish artifacts. The triple suites are ideal for groups or families.

      Value chic  -  Great value for this chic and central hotel in the historic Sultanahmet district with roofterrace views of the Blue Mosque.
      Families  -  A perfect base for families, the suites can accomodate up to four people and boast wonderful views of the Marmara Sea.
      Local markets  -  Test out your haggling skills in the Grand Bazaar, an ideal spot to pick up presents.
      Sights nearby  -  This central hotel is walking distance from the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia.
      Recommended by  -  Frommers
      Check prices
    • Hotel Nomade 16 rooms from $47

      Istanbul (Ticarethane Sokak 15,)

      Recently renovated in modern Turkish design and an unbeatable location. Superb rooftop bar-terrace where fantastic sea views can be enjoyed. Well designed uncluttered rooms with wall-hung killim rugs and traditional colours. An excellent base for exploring and reasonable rates too.

      Value chic  -  Very reasonable rates for beautiful hotel with interiors by French designer Dan Beranger, right in the heart of the old city.
      Sights nearby  -  Just a few steps from the Old City's main monuments including the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia.
      Local markets  -  Spend your day haggling for goodies at the nearby Grand Bazaar.
      Full of character
      Check prices
    • Hotel Witt Istanbul Suites 18 rooms from $204

      Istanbul (Cihangir)

      A sophisticated and contemporary hotel in Istanbul's arty Beyoglu district. 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. Well situated for getting around the city.

      Hideaway  -  The perfect bolthole in the city, with plenty of space, a well equipped kitchenette and outstanding one to one service.
      City Style  -  A chic designer hotel, dripping style from its avant-garde lofts, in Istanbul's uber trendy artists quarter, Beyoglu.
      Sailing  -  Get a totally new prespective and view the city by boat from the river Bosphorus.
      Local markets  -  Search for deals in the Modern Bazaar, a perfect spot for picking up treasures.
      Recommended by  -  Mr & Mrs Smith, I Escape, Tablet, Kiwi Collection
      Check prices
    • Seven Hills Hotel 18 rooms from $97

      Istanbul (Sultanahmet)

      Boutique hotel located in Sultanahmet, with a spectacular and unique panorama view from its roof top restaurant. Chic rooms in Ottoman style decor and friendly staff ensure great value for money. Ideally situated to explore Istanbul.

      Value chic  -  A charming boutique with elegant suites and a rooftop terrace overlooking the Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque.
      Local markets  -  Just a 15 minute walk from the Grand Bazaar where you can pick up any number of things.
      Sights nearby  -  Blue Mosque and Hagia Sofia are within walking distance of the hotel.
      Great walks  -  Take a sunset stroll along the coast and admire the fantastic views.
      Check prices
    • Four Seasons Hotel Sultanahmet 65 rooms from $330

      Istanbul (Sultanahmet-Eminönü)

      Ottoman style grandeur in this converted prison. Elegant rooms with large windows, soft hues and antique furniture overlook the historic part of the city. A small but indulgent spa. Dine on phenomenal cuisine in the pretty courtyard. A luxurious choice ideally placed to explore the city.

      Local exploring  -  Right in the heart of the most historic part of the city, with views over the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sofia, both just steps away.
      City Style  -  An elegantly restored neo-classic Turkish prison, boasting a perfect blend of East and West, contemporary and tradition.
      Sailing  -  Discover Istanbul from the waters on a cruise on the Bosphorus, for added romance try a sunset cruise.
      Sights nearby  -  Close to many of the most famous historic sites including the Topkapi Palace and the Blue Mosque.
      Recommended by  -  Fodors, Frommers, Kiwi Collection
      Check prices

Written by Sarah Empson

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