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Last updated: 31 October, 2022
Expert travel writer: Dana Facaros

Built in 1892 at the terminus of the legendary Orient Express, the Pera Palace 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.  

A four-year, $23 million restoration has added mod cons including a spa and indoor pool, while maintaining many of the original Neoclassical French-Oriental furnishings – look out for the original lift and dazzling Murano chandeliers. Spies, intrigue, heads of state – this museum hotel oozes 120 years of history.  

The upper west-facing rooms have balconies with spectacular views over the Golden Horn – room 411 is where Agatha Christie wrote Murder on the Orient Express.

Cocktails on the terrace as the sun sets behind the Golden Horn are a real treat; and there’s a superb buffet breakfast served in the Agatha restaurant, with its polished checkerboard flooring and black-and-white photography.  

Don’t miss afternoon tea (3pm-6pm) in the atmospheric Kubbeli Salon, with divine French pastries served to the tinkling of a Schiedmayer grand piano. 

Surrounding Area

The hotel fronts a fairly busy street lined with offices, shops and several other hotels, including the Marmara Pera Hotel with its trendy gourmet rooftop restaurant Mikla.

The hotel is located on a slope and there is another busy street below, although it’s a small price to pay for the grandstand views of the famous silhouette of the Golden Horn. 

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Key facilities

Airport transfers: Not available
Beach: None
Fitness centre
Fitness classes
Golf course
Hot tub
: On-site *
Pool (adults only)
Pool (indoor)
Pool (outdoor)
Pool (kids)
Tennis courts
WiFi: Free

Food & drink

All inclusive
Kids menu
Restaurant on-site
Self catering
Additional charge

Room types


Room facilities

Air conditioning
Flat screen TV
Jacuzzi (private)
Pool (private)
Tea & coffee making facilities

Bedding options

2+ bedrooms
3+ beds
Connecting rooms
Rollaway/sofa bed

Bucket list experiences our writer says you must do in this destination, closest first

Spice Bazaar

Istanbul, Marmara Region, Turkey[1.6 miles]

Istanbul’s second largest market is a sensory wonderland, full to bursting with fragrant spices and sweets.

Best for ages: 13+ | Free

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Man and a woman looking at paintings in a modern art gallery

Istanbul Modern

Istanbul , Marmara Region, Turkey[0.1 miles]

A modern art museum housing the finest collection of modern and contemporary art in the country. The Modern’s temporary exhibits by Turkish and international artists – often organized in collaboration with MoMA (New York) and the Centre Pompidou (Paris) – are particularly exceptional.

Best for ages: 18+ | £4

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View of art museum in old hotel

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.

Best for ages: 13+ | £1

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Old, red motor car in a museum

Rahmi M. Koc Museum

Istanbul , Marmara Region, Turkey[2.4 miles]

A huge transport museum featuring everything from submarines to streetcars, mechanical toys to wacky inventions.

Best for ages: 4+ | £1

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Destination guides including or relevant to this place to stay


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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Overview >