Stay Like A Sultan: Istanbul’s 5 Best Hotels Right Now

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There aren’t many new ways to describe Istanbul. No matter who you are and where you’re from, you know at least something about its history. Its architecture is as influential as ever. And its embodiment of east meets west continues to solidify it as one of the most important cities in the modern day world. It’s one of those places where centuries of power and mystery are still intermingled together, creating a sort of magic that’s still palpable. You don’t even need to be there to feel it.

But, given the chance, you should be there to feel it. To see the restored Ottoman palaces and mansions transformed into world-renowned hotels. To stroll through the bohemian neighborhoods, wondering into world-class chef-driven restaurants and buzzing art galleries that you can enter on a whim. To boat down the Bosphorus like the sultan to you deserve to be treated like.

There are plenty of ways to spend your days in Istanbul, but it’s where you spend your nights that make all the difference. Whether you prefer private butler service with your stay, a Turkish breakfast in bed fit for a king, or a spa experience that will reinvigorate your body in ways you never thought possible, these are the five hotels that will have you feeling like a sultan – and believing in the magic of Istanbul – in no time.

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Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at the Bosphorus

Inside the restored walls of this 19th-century waterfront Ottoman palace, the rooms at the Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at the Bosphorus are some of the most luxurious rooms in the city. With 170 guest rooms and 25 suites, it’s the outdoor swimming pool, sprawling Turkish breakfast spread, and views of the Bosphorus that will give you reason to leave the grandeur of your room each day.

Ciragan Palace Kempinski

Discreetly concealed behind gates separating it from the busy Beşiktaş neighborhood that awaits outside, the Ciragan Palace Kempinksi is one of Istanbul’s most sought after stays. A long ago palace for sultans, it’s the Palace Suites that continue to attract the likes of government delegates, royal families, and celebrities.

With a dedicated 24-hour butler service, helicopter landing pad right on the Bosphorus, and an exclusive private entrance, it’s the Sultan Suite that solidifies the hotel as the most exclusive stay in Istanbul. The suite is the largest in Europe at over 4,930 square feet and goes for a cool $35,000 a night.

Raffles Istanbul

With 136 guest rooms and 49 suites, all with private balconies and floor-to-ceiling windows offering unforgettable views of the Bosphorus, the Princes' Islands, and Istanbul's Old Town, Raffles Istanbul sits in the famed Zorlu Center atop Besiktas. Without the direct Turkish influences that the other hotels on this list offer, it’s the legendary Raffles service that has guests checking in. Crystal chandeliers, a glittering indoor pool, an extensive spa, and a helipad that’s heated in winter, this is a five-star stay at its most decadent.

Six Senses Kocatas Mansions

The Six Senses brand never ceases to impress. A name synonymous with luxury, the Six Senses Kocatas Mansion was just starting to welcome guests as the COVID pandemic started to close down the world back in 2020. Today, the hotel is open and ready to welcome guests with the warm Six Senses welcome the brand is known for. The hotel was created from two refurbished Ottoman mansions in the prosperous Sariyer neighborhood, away from the crowds and chaos Istanbul is synonymous with.

Spacious rooms, floor to ceiling windows, and one of the best bathrooms in Istanbul inside the two-story Cistern Suite, the dreaminess of the Six Senses Kocatas Mansions leaves an impression that isn’t easy to forget.

Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at Sultanahmet

A private reprieve in the city's oldest neighborhood, the recently reopened Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at Sultanahmet is a century-old neoclassical home steps away from the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia.

With 65 guest rooms and on the other side of the Golden Horn from the brand’s wistful Bosphorus property, a stay at this Four Seasons property is all about the history. Once a prison that housed the dissident literati of the Ottoman era, it’s hard to imagine the property as a place you’d ever want to escape. Spend your evenings lounging at the Sureyya Teras Lounge with Hagia Sophia as your backdrop or transport your tastebuds to Antalya through the modern take on this cuisine at the hotel’s beautiful and elegant courtyard restaurant, Avlu.

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