Istanbul Hotels, Hostels & Accommodation
Seven Hills Hotel
From the beginning, Istanbul has been a “city of cultures” and magic. First located by Constantine, the city that spans two continents became the capital of the Roman Empire in 330 B.C. The city then hosted the Ottoman Empire and now the modern Republic of Turkey. As the cultures have merged over the centuries, the magic of this city has only grown. The Seven Hills Hotel is a part of this history.
Located in the heart of the historical Sultanahmet area, our unique boutique hotel offers a spectacular panorama of the area’s cultural and architectural treasures of empires past and present. It is one of the rarest views in the world. While you are resting in our terrace restaurant enjoying an authentic Turkish meal, you will gaze upon the Hagia Sophia, the magnificent dwelling built by the architect Isidorur in A.D. 530, and you won’t miss the Sultanahmet Mosque known as Blue Mosque, which was built by Architect Sedefkar Mehmet Aga in A.D 1600. These historically grand buildings are just the beginning as you sip your Turkish tea. Turn your head, and you’ll be mesmerized by the blue Bosphorus that is silently calling you…. There, you will be greeted by The Bosphorus Bridge that connects the two continents.
With all this history surrounding it, Seven Hills hotel fits in perfectly with its authentic Ottoman interior design. As a result, our luxurious hotel, opened in 2000, has been nominated as the best hotel and restaurant by New York Times, Food and Wines. Call it your home away from home any month of the year as one of our many special international guests. Our 18 rooms and terrace restaurant are staffed with only the most hospitable and professional personnel – and steeped in the history of many cultures, many empires.
Hotel Ibrahim Pasha
This delightful small hotel is named after Suleiman the Magnificent's grand vizier, who had a palace just around the corner, and is just steps away from the historic Hippodrome where chariot races were run in Byzantine times. Wooden floors paired with contemporary furnishings set the tone for rooms that are petite but perfectly equipped; ask for one of the newer, more spacious ones if you want to stretch out. The roof terrace offers a fantastic view of the Blue Mosque, and in winter a roaring fire welcomes guests to a book-lined lobby where a giant Roman capital props up the reception desk. The dining room feels like a Parisian bistro.
Of all the Bosphorus suburbs, one of the most picturesque has to be Arnavutköy (meaning Albanian village) where the shore is lined with pretty wooden houses featuring the Turkish take on art nouveau. Tucked away just out of sight behind a row of restaurants is the bijou Villa Denise, where luxurious, colourful, Topkapi Palace-inspired fabrics are the order of the day. Small kitchens and microwave ovens mean you can still make yourself at home, even amid the grandeur. There's an unexpected Spanish restaurant on the ground floor. It's a perfect little hidey-hole well away from the tourist rush.
If the Four Seasons at Sultanahmet is one of Istanbul's swankiest addresses, the Empress Zoe, just around the corner and named after a much-married Byzantine empress, offers the same supremely convenient location at a fraction of the price. Rooms come in all shapes and sizes – the finest garden suites have their own tiny hamams although rooms in the main building are tiddlier. At the heart of the hotel are two secluded courtyard gardens, one of them backing onto the ruins of a 15th-century Turkish bath. The staff are old faithfuls, and the service is impeccable.
Unmissable on account of its vividly colourful exterior, the Kybele consists of a pair of fine city mansions knocked through and kitted out with an unfeasibly large number of hanging glass lamps. (The owners claim that they kick-started the demand for these lamps which are now on sale in their thousands in the Grand Bazaar.) Bedrooms are equally colourful and equally full of lamps; not even the singles scrimp on the Kybele's trademark feature. The owner's basement carpet and textile shop ensures lots of other interesting decorative twists. Breakfast is eaten on a secretive rooftop terrace away from the hubbub on the street below.
Romance and history seep through the walls of the Ayasofya Konaklari (Ayasfya Mansions) that line pedestrianised Soğukçesme Sokaği, the road between the grounds of the Hagia Sophia and the wall of Topkapi Palace. In the 1980s when "Ottoman" was still a dirty word, preservationist Çelik Gülersoy set out to resurrect what were then derelict wooden buildings from the previous century. Today the pastel-coloured houses that make up the hotel are fitted with the sort of slightly fussy westernised wardrobes, beds and chairs that were fashionable in the dying days of the Ottoman Empire. The complex includes a library that would look at home in an Oxbridge college.
Meticulous attention to detail marks out the Sirkeci Konak, a fine modern hotel tucked down a street facing Gulhane Park that has just been tarted up to make it more tourist friendly. It has under-floor heating in the bathrooms, Turkish delight on the pillows and a daily newsletter that alerts guests to what's going on about town, as well as Ottoman-themed modern furnishings and a ground-floor restaurant that rolls out a breakfast that would make a grand vizier blush. There's even a pocket handkerchief-sized pool in the basement, a real plus in the heat of high summer
Just up the road from the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate in Fener, a suburb that was home to many of the city's wealthy administrators in Ottoman times, the Daphnis offers visitors a rare opportunity to stay in a part of old Istanbul that is hugely important historically and yet relatively unknown. The hotel consists of a string of traditional stone houses with high ceilings and frescoes on their walls. A small restaurant faces the Golden Horn across a busy road if you don't fancy joining the locals in nearby eateries that specialise in işkembe çorbasi (tripe soup).
Sultanahmet is full of hotels that pay homage to the Ottoman era. In Beyoğlu (also known as Pera) on the other hand, modernism tends to rule the roost, which makes the Anemon Galata a real find for those who want to be near the nightlife of İstiklâl Caddesi but in rooms that feature Ottoman-style furnishings. The rooftop breakfast room offers a spectacular view of the city and the Galata Tower is so close you can almost reach out and touch it.
Pera Palace Hotel
Not strictly a boutique hotel, but what the Pera Palace lacks in smallness it more than makes up for in historic significance. This magnificent building, round the corner from the stridently modern Marmara Pera, was specially commissioned to accommodate passengers who'd arrived in Istanbul on the Orient Express, and its guestlist is a rollcall of the great and good. Agatha Christie famously stayed here, as did Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, modern Turkey's founding father. The spruce new rooms are not the city's largest, nor is the view the best, but who cares when you can chink glasses in the atmospheric bar where the spy Mata Hari, and royal renegades Edward and Mrs Simpson, once hid away
Sumahan on The Water
To escape the crowds of Sultanahmet and Beyoğlu, hop across the Bosphorus to Asia where the Sumahan-on-the-Water was created out of an old liquor distillery in the pretty suburb of Çengelköy. The building may be old but the lovely light-filled and contemporarily furnished rooms are anything but, and come with every mod con and their own fireplaces. The ground-floor lounge contains one of the city's finest collections of books on Turkey, and don't worry about being cut off from the action across the water – the hotel has its own boat to ferry you across the Bosphorus to the transport interchange at Kabataş.