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:
Hotel Ibrahim Pasha
Istanbul, Marmara Region, Turkey|www.ibrahimpasha.com|
Official star rating:
This sophisticated little boutique hotel fills two early 20th-century townhouses, a minute’s walk from many of the city’s top sights.
Rooms are prettily designed with underfloor heating, rain showers and queen-size beds. The public areas are charming – there’s a cosy, book-lined lobby with leather sofas by the fire, and a rooftop terrace bar with enchanting views over the Blue Mosque and Sea of Marmara.
Friendly staff know the city intimately and love to share their knowledge; a great continental and Turkish buffet breakfast is included in the rate.
Plump for a more spacious deluxe room, with a balcony and plenty of storage – it doesn’t cost that much more; and take advantage of the hotel’s very reasonable airport transfer service, especially if you’re arriving late at night.
The hotel is on a quiet side street in the historic Sultanahmet quarter, the tourist heart of Istanbul, busier with people than with the traffic that plagues the rest of the city. It’s a great choice for first-time visitors.
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