SUMAHAN ON THE WATER: We’ll go into detail about Sumahan sometime soon. In the meantime, know this: it’s phenomenal. An old raki factory, converted into a 24-room hotel by its architect owners (you’ll know their touch from the clean-lined interiors, all steel beams and ingenious use of space and big windows overlooking the water below), it’s on the Asian side, beyond the Bosphorus Bridge, but the hotel has a shuttle boat to Tophane several times a day, and from there there’s a tram going straight to Sultanahmet. From €125 ($167).
HOUSE HOTEL BOSPHORUS: We’ve already waxed lyrical about House Hotels, Istanbul’s fabulous mini chain of four entirely different properties. This one is in an Ottoman mansion sitting plum on the shimmering water, next to the newly reopened Ortakoy mosque and in the shadow of the Bosphorus Bridge (on the European side, in Besiktas). HC stalwart Jetsetcd, who’s stayed, likes the mix of modern bed and bathroom with historic interiors – tiling, ceiling medallions, original stairways and Juliet balconies(!) have been preserved.
From €157 ($210).
KEMPINSKI CIRAGAN PALACE: On a Bosphorus ferry heading north from Beyoglu, you’ll notice a sprawling, creamy palace sitting on the water on the European side, halfway between Tophane and Ortakoy. That’d be the Kempinski, possibly the most awe-inspiring hotel building in Istanbul. Most rooms have Bosphorus-facing balconies, but the real draw is the pool right on the waterfront.
From €272, Bosphorus views from €340.
FOUR SEASONS ON THE BOSPHORUS: Another Ottoman palace, this one near the House Hotel in Ortakoy. Rooms look slightly more modern than those in FS Sultanahmet, and obviously you’ll want a Bosphorus-facing one. To really do it in style, take advantage of their private watertaxi to the airport (from €380).
From €340 ($454), Bosphorus views from €530 ($709). If that’s way out of budget, the Radisson Blu next door starts from €200 ($267).
BOSPHORUS PALACE HOTEL : If you like your hotels slightly weird and ever so Turkish, this is the one for you – a delectable jewel box of a property under the Bosphorus Bridge on the Asian side. It’s stayed true to its neo-Ottoman mansion roots, with colored walls, antique furniture and slightly bizarre categories (superior rooms don’t have Bosphorus views, and one of the best rooms is the standard room in the attic, with a water-facing balcony).
From €115 ($153).
[Photos: Sumahan/House Hotel Ortakoy/Kempinski from the water: Julia Buckley for HotelChatter. All others: Hotel Facebook pages]