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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 HotelsKıvanç Niş

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 MosqueJirka Matousek

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:


Written by Sarah Empson

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