Hotel stays are hardly considered important by some of us (especially for the younger of us). The common fallacy to believe that all we need is a place to return for sleep and that we won't be using the room "at all" during the day may be shattered by a few nights' stay at any of the following hotels on this list.
Whether it is a nice morning coffee by the sea or a cold martini overlooking the Bosphorus and the city from a terrace or a reflexology massage on your tired feet after a long day's walk, the following list of hotels are likely to make you believe that sometimes a good night sleep is better than just a bed and some sheets.
Day 1 - Istanbul
Whether on a honeymoon, a get-away or in your "second spring" as the Turkish people would say (referring to the era of our lives -usually in mid 50s- when we finally let go off worries and let bygones be bygones), the following list of hotels are likely to make your stay just exactly as it should be.
The first recommendation, Les Ottomans, is a very luxurious hotel built from what used to be a mansion in the 1700s.
"After a long and sad hiatus in its history, the mansion came back to life by the members of the Aysal Family under the Unit Group structure. The mansion was converted to one of the most luxurious and exclusive hotels in Turkey by the refined taste of its proprietress. Remaining faithful to its original design on the outside, it was restructured inside as a journey from its origins in the past to the present and presented as a mixture of love and lavish beauty which mankind constantly seek for (Directly taken from the hotel's official website, http://www.lesottomans.com/Documents.aspx?Q1=AF)."
Sumahan on the Water also has a history that is radically different from the hospitality sector. The building that is the hotel today used to be a derelict alcohol factory. Its conversion into a hotel was its owner's thesis project, which she managed to bring to life. The hotel's virtues are many fold, the foremost being its location by the sea, its very friendly staff and exquisite breakfasts in the morning. That being said, dinner with candle light and next to the sea deserves recognition as well. Although the fact that the hotel is positioned in the Anatolian side, may make some people nervous about the traffic they may face trying to reach the old city or any other place on the European side, this should not be bothersome really. There is a tiny, sophisticated and elegant boat at the hotels' guests disposal to cross Bosphorus.
Ciragan Palace is another historical building with a heavy history of fires, change of hands and legends. With such a grand history, it is also one of the best known and oldest luxury hotels in Istanbul. Unlike Sumahan and Les Ottomans, those staying in the Ciragan will be more likely to get lost inside the huge palace.
For those who want to mix romance with history, Four Season Hotel would be the place. Located right in the center of the historical city of Istanbul (very near Hagia Sophia and all the rest of curiosities), it offers solitude wihin historical buzzes. Despite hefty prices, at Four Seasons quality service, care and diligence are guaranteed.
Yet another form of luxury is at Kariye Hotel. With the best offering of the Ottoman Cuisine inside its borders (Asitane Restaurant), Hotel Kariye is off any stereotypical limits. Not far away from the historical center, yet not in the center, and not far away from the sea, yet overlooking it, this hotel is a reasonably priced, off the beaten path, unique place.
Radisson SAS Bosphorus Hotel remains chic, trendy and romantic with its position next to the sea, next to the trendy Zuma Restaurant and next to the locals' pick for clubbing, Anjelique.
Both trendy, hip, cool with a sophisticated, yet absurdly thematized restaurant (Longtable -the social elites' pick) with very good food and very good martinis, the Sofa Hotel offers a new definition to romance. Located in the hip district, Nisantasi, it is a few minutes walk away from the trendiest and expensive fashion stores, bars, brasseries.
Bosphorus Palace Hotel is another by-the-sea, historical hotel. The building was owned by another Ottoman Pasha years and years ago. The smell of history couple with romance is its corners and deep tissues, such that one of its visitors is known to have claimed, "I wish I had the millions to buy the hotel , make it my home own home and live there for the rest of my life." Nevertheless, it is worth noting that this special atmosphere is likely to make the hotel an ideal place for weddings and events in the summer. Unless, you want to watch others enjoying its virtues night after night, make sure you ask your concierge well ahead in time for wedding reservations and its likes.
Pera Palace Hotel is being renovated at the moment, but should be back to welcome its guests by the last quarter of 2009. With an elegant history of more than a hundred years of heritage. Renown for its list of distinguishable guests, Pera Palace has hosted kings, queens, statesmen and world-famous artistic and historical figures, among which Ataturk, Alfred Hitchcock, Ernest Hemingway, Agatha Christie, Mata Hari, King Edward VIII of England, Shah Riza Pehlevi, Jacqueline Onassis, General Franz con Papen and President Tito of Yugoslavia can be enumerated.
Last but not least on out list is Pierre Loti Hotel. Maybe not so much for its building, or its history, but for its unique poisition on the hills of Pierre Loti and its magnificent view, this hotel deserves to be on our list as well.
Mualin Naci Caddesi No: 68 Kurucesme
34345 Istanbul, Turkey
90 212 359 1500
Kuleli Caddesi no: 51 Çengelköy
34684 Istanbul, Turkey
90 216 422 8000
Çiragan Caddesi 32
34349 Istanbul, Turkey
90 212 326 4646
Tevkifhane Sokak No. 1
34110 Istanbul, Turkey
90 212 402 3000
Kariye Camii Sokak 18
No 6 Edirnekapi
34087 Istanbul, Turkey
90 212 534 8414
Ciragan Cad 46, Ortaköy
34339 Istanbul, TR
90 212 3101500
Teşvikiye Caddesi no. 123
34367 Istanbul, Turkey
90 212 368 18 18
Yaliboyu Caddesi 64
34676 Istanbul, Turkey
90 216 422 0003
Meşrutiyet Cad. 98/100
80050 Istanbul, Turkey
90 212 251 4560
Piyerloti Cad. No: 1,
Sultanahmet - Cemberlitas
34400 Istanbul, Turkey
90 212 518 5700