Istanbul 5 star luxury hotels

Istanbul is an historic city with a mixture of old and new, and the same is true of the 5 star luxury hotels of Istanbul. Some are old palaces or historic buildings that have been renovated and converted to modern use, while others are brand new facilities built for the needs of 21st century travelers. We stayed in three different hotels while in Istanbul and had a site visit of a fourth.

The Ritz-Carlton Istanbul is a completely new hotel built next to the Inonu Stadium. In fact, sitting in the Club Room the night of our arrival and looking out the large picture windows towards the Bosphorus, we could see the stadium, watch the teams playing soccer, and hear the crowds singing -- a reminder that we were in a very different culture! This hotel is ideal for business travelers. It is not in walking distance to any tourist attractions, but the rooms were large and comfortable.

The Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at Sultanahmet is housed in an historic building that was originally a Turkish prison. Today it is the property of choice for tourists eager to explore the historic center of Istanbul. It is convenient to the Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque (pictured above), and the Topkapi Palace. You can walk to the Grand Bazaar and the Spice Market. Built around a central courtyard, the rooms are beautiful and the service is quintessentially Four Seasons. The hotel's restaurant, where Virtuoso guests in a Four Seasons Room and above will enjoy a complimentary full daily breakfast, is located in a glass-enclosed dining room in the center of the courtyard area.

The Çiragan Palace (pronounced shir-ahn) is a fabulous hotel located on the Bosphorus. The old Palace wing (pictured to the right) has stunningly beautiful public places, but I recommend staying in the modern wing which still has an elegant "old" feeling with marble everywhere. If having a large guestroom is a priority, I would recommend the Deluxe Sea View room at 721 square feet. It is larger and less expensive than the Grand Deluxe (511 square feet) and even the One Bedroom Suite (710 square feet). You still have a straight-on view of the Bosphorus, but being in the "bottom of the U" in this U-shaped building, your views to the right and left are partially eclipsed by the wings of the hotel. Oh, and the breakfast buffet at Ciragan Palace is simply not to be believed; it's included as a complimentary amenity for all Virtuoso guests.

The Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at the Bosphorus is confirming reservations for stays beginning June 15, 2008. This is a completely new property built around a 19th-century Ottoman palace (very close to the Çiragan Palace). We were honored to be the first group of travel consultants to have a site inspection of this soon-to-be-opened property, and it will be a beautiful place to spend your days in Istanbul. The hotel will feature a water shuttle across the Bosphorus between the two Four Seasons hotels in Istanbul. In this crowded city, this will be an attractive feature for visitors who would like to stay on the Bosphorus and have convenient access to the historic center of town. Four Seasons guests will be able to use all the facilities of either property, and you will be able to check into one hotel, split your stay between the two properties without having to check-in again, and pay your bill upon departure from the other property. (This hotel will offer Virtuoso amenities).

Istanbul 5 star luxury hotels (search here on Google)

copyright (c) 2007 by David J. Ourisman. All rights reserved. If you have comments on this column, or questions about booking travel, email me or visit my website.

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