8 best Istanbul hotels

Gareth Rees, CNNUpdated 8th September 2017
(CNN) — In Istanbul, you're never stuck for something to do, see, eat or drink -- no matter what time of the night or day it is.
But even the most energetic travelers need somewhere to take a breather.
In a city packed with more hotels than you could visit in a lifetime, finding the best isn't easy. But these eight -- ranging from five-star palaces to quirky boutique retreats -- are arguably the best the city has to offer.

1. Pera Palace Hotel

If you're an Agatha Christie fan looking for luxury and 19th-century grandeur, the Pera Palace Hotel is home.
Re-opened recently following a $25.5 million (€23 million) renovation, the hotel was originally opened in 1892 to cater to passengers who arrived in Istanbul on the Orient Express.
With over one hundred rooms, a spa, Agatha Restaurant, tea lounge, patisserie and views over the Golden Horn, the hotel is a two-minute walk from the city's main thoroughfare, Istikal Caddesi.

2. W Istanbul

Glamorous roof terraces at W Hotel.
Glamorous roof terraces at W Hotel.
Courtesy W hotels
In a hipster neighborhood, the W Istanbul occupies one of the attractive Akaretler Row Houses, which were built in a distinctly Western style in the 1870s.
Here you'll find 20-and-30-something hipsters taking advantage of free Wi-Fi in the lobby lounge, Sip, and downing cocktails before dinner at one of the many area restaurants.
A short taxi ride (depending on the unpredictable traffic) from Istanbul's major sites, the W Istanbul is the focal point of a quiet and very European neighborhood.

3. Georges Hotel Galata

The Georges, Istanbul.
The Georges is a boutique hotel in Istanbul's Galata district.
Courtesy Andres Gonzales
Georges Hotel, a 20-room boutique property with high ceilings and exposed brick entry, located on a cobbled alleyway is just plain chic.
Several of the rooms have balconies offering Bosphorus views and guests can enjoy in-room yoga sessions and massage.
From the terrace of the hotel's French restaurant, Le Fumoir, you get uninterrupted views of the historical sites of Sultanahmet. The hotel is a short walk from the Galata Tower.

4. Ciragan Palace Hotel

The stunning exterior of Istanbul's Ciragan Palace Hotel.
The stunning exterior of Istanbul's Ciragan Palace Hotel.
Courtesy Dennis Jarvis/Creative Commons/Flickr
A former Ottoman palace built by Sultan Abdulaziz, the five-star Ciragan Palace Hotel has lost none of its regal opulence.
The Sultan's Suite is one of the most expensive in the world. Guests staying in any of the 11 Palace Suites can arrive by private helicopter to be greeted by their own butler.
On the shores of the Bosphorus, located between the quiet neighborhoods of Besiktas and Ortakoy, just a 10-minute taxi from Taksim Square, the property isn't just for the super rich. There are a number of marginally cheaper but only moderately less luxurious rooms, many with views over the Bosphorus.

5. Hotel Ibrahim Pasha

The selling point of the Hotel Ibrahim Pasha is its location in Sultanahmet -- the historic area of the city where most of Istanbul's tourist sites are located.
On a peaceful side street, the boutique property puts you in the heart of the action while providing a cozy escape from the tourist hubbub nearby.
The four-story hotel, a combination of two turn-of-the-century houses, operates a strict no-smoking policy. The guest-only rooftop terrace bar offers fantastic views of the Blue Mosque. In winter, you can warm yourself in front of one of the lobby fireplaces.

6. Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul

The Four Seasons Sultanahmet is a former prison, now luxurious hotel.
The Four Seasons Sultanahmet is a former prison, now luxurious hotel.
Courtesy Four Seasons
Four Seasons operates two properties in Istanbul.
The Four Seasons Istanbul at Sultanahmet is ideal if you want to be close to the city's major tourist sites
In the calm but centrally located neighborhood of Besiktas, however, the Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at the Bosphorus steals the show.
A converted Ottoman palace just meters from the shore of the Bosphorus, the hotel has everything you'd expect from a luxury property, from a fine dining Mediterranean restaurant to a spa and indoor and outdoor pools.
With 24-hour babysitting services, a child-friendly attitude and everything a parent could require from strollers to cribs, it's perfect for a relaxing family holiday.

7. The House Hotel Nisantasi

The House Hotel Group is an extension of the popular chain of excellent House Cafes that frequent visitors may have enjoyed across the city. The boutique House Hotel Nisantasi -- one of four House Hotels (and a Residence) in Istanbul -- has a faultlessly contemporary design.
The affluent district of Nisantasi is famed as the home of Turkish author Orhan Pamuk, and for providing the setting for many of his best-selling novels.
It's also home to Istanbul's most expensive shopping street, Abdi Ipekci Caddesi, and most of the city's designer stores, as well as a vibrant night life.
Editor's note: This article was previously published in 2013. It was reformatted, updated and republished in 2017.
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