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Bucket list experience:

Last updated: 07 November, 2022
Expert travel writer: Dana Facaros

Built in 1892 at the terminus of the legendary Orient Express, the Pera Palace Hotel is a historic monument and the most famous hotel in Istanbul – this is where everyone from Alfred Hitchcock to the Kennedys bedded down in the golden age of travel. Room 411 is where Agatha Christie wrote Murder on the Orient Express.

For a refined escape from the bustle of the city, and to experience old imperial Istanbul, stop in for traditional English afternoon tea in the hotel’s atmospheric, red-velvet, gilt-edged Kubbeli Salon. Join the Istanbul elite, who lap up French pastries served on rare Christofle silver, to the accompanying sounds of a live Schiedmayer grand piano.

The legendary Pera Palace remains an icon of imperial grandeur.

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Price from: £8
Minimum age: Any
Age suitable: 10+
When: All year around
Duration: 1-2 hours

When to do it

Tea is served in the Kubbeli Lounger from 3pm-6pm seven days a week, all year round.

It gets busy at weekends, so if you are going then, book in advance by calling or emailing. Weekdays are usually quieter and you can just turn up.

Our writer’s picks of the best places to stay near this experience, closest first

Pera Palace Hotel

Istanbul, Marmara Region, Turkey[0 miles]

Wonderfully evocative of Old Istanbul, this lavish, recently-renovated 19th-century hotel is a treat for history and culture buffs. 

Official star rating:

Georges Hotel Galata

Istanbul, Marmara Region, Turkey[0.5 miles]

In the heart of Istanbul’s hip Beyoglu district, this boutique hotel combines understated luxury with a glam rooftop restaurant. One of the best hotels in town for a romantic city break. 

Official star rating:

Hotel Bankerhan

Istanbul, Marmara Region, Turkey[0.8 miles]

A cool, art-filled boutique hotel near the heart of modern Istanbul’s most fashionable shopping and nightlife district. 

Official star rating:

Yasmak Sultan Hotel

Istanbul, Marmara Region, Turkey[2.1 miles]

Close to Istanbul’s top sights, this friendly hotel with a spa and rooftop restaurant is a dream for first-time visitors. And good value too.

Official star rating:

Destination guides including or relevant to this experience


Marmara Region, Turkey

Exotic, inexhaustible and dynamic – East meets West head-on in this mesmerising city metropolis, famed for its extraordinarily rich history, superb food and shopping, and mind-blowingly magnificent, over-sized mosques.

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Our writer’s recommendations of other bucket list experiences our writer says you must do in this destination, closest first

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Istanbul, Marmara Region, Turkey[1.6 miles]

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Best for ages: 13+ | Free

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Istanbul , Marmara Region, Turkey[0.1 miles]

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Pera Museum

Istanbul, Marmara Region, Turkey[0.2 miles]

World-class collections of Ottoman art, tiles and ceramics – plus big-name travelling exhibitions – set in a former grand hotel.

Best for ages: 18+ | £2

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Decorative metal Helmets Of Warriors Of Turkish Ottoman empire

Istanbul Military Museum

Istanbul , Marmara Region, Turkey[2.2 miles]

A fascinating and quirky military museum with an astonishing array of uniforms, weapons and battle standards. Upstairs, there is a room devoted to the revolutionary statesman Ataturk. Go around 3pm for an unforgettably weird re-creation of a 17th-century military band concert.

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Rahmi M. Koc Museum

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