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.
Recommended place to stay:
Four Seasons Istanbul Sultanahmet
Istanbul, Marmara Region, Turkey|www.fourseasons.com|
Official star rating:
Built in 1919 to house crooks and dissidents, this former prison building has been stunningly restored as an intimate, 65-room hotel with lashings of luxury, its deep yellow walls preserving airy Neoclassical styling and a peaceful garden courtyard (the former exercise yard).
There’s no pool at the hotel, but guests can use the facilities at the sister hotel, the Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at the Bosphorus, a few minutes away.
Cocktails on the rooftop terrace, watching the sun set behind the Blue Mosque, are a highlight; another is the exquisite, extremely varied breakfast buffet.
It’s deal for first-time visitors wanting to explore the city’s iconic monuments while enjoying comfy, cosseted hospitality.
The hotel is in the centre of the historic district, busy during the day with tourists and within easy walking distance of the Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace and other historic sites.
Although it’s in the centre, the surrounding streets (many of them cobbled and pedestrianised) are not particularly noisy. The hotel courtyard with its flowers and herb garden gives it the feel of an enclave.
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