The Best Hotels in Istanbul, From Bosphorus Palaces to Intimate Boutiques

While Four Seasons has two outposts in Istanbul, there’s nothing quite like its first hotel in the city, which opened in 1996 in the heart of the historic Sultanahmet district: mere steps away from the Hagia Sophia, the Ottoman-era Blue Mosque, and the dazzling splendor of the Topkapi Palace. (In 2008, it opened a second, more palatial property on the banks of the Bosphorus, with multiple restaurants, a spa complex, and a sweeping outdoor pool area.) Step inside its discrete entrance, however, and you couldn’t feel further from the throngs of tourists that pass through the nearby streets: housed in a former prison, the hotel recently reopened after an extensive refurbishment, and its soothing, earth-toned interiors are a balm after a long day walking around the city.

The Best Hotels in Istanbul From Bosphorus Palaces to Intimate Boutiques

Courtesy of Four Seasons Hotel at Sultanahmet

Bonus points for the former prison yard at the center of the building, which has been transformed into a leafy courtyard where you can take your breakfast en plein air: the dining options here, in general, are top-notch, whether the main restaurant Avlu that serves modern Anatolian dishes all day (think Mücver zucchini fritters or cheese and sucuk pide that has been perfectly charred in a wood-fired oven) or the in-house patisserie for delicate French-style pastries at breakfast or afternoon tea. Naturally, there’s a spa too, specializing in hammam rituals that include a foam massage and hair cleansing to wash out that Bosphorus brine. The ultimate perk? A shuttle service operates both by bus and boat between the two sister properties, meaning whichever one you stay at, you’ll be sure to get the best of both worlds.

The Best Hotels in Istanbul From Bosphorus Palaces to Intimate Boutiques

Courtesy of Shangri-La Bosphorus