HOLIDAYS IN TURKEY don't have to end on the beach. The ancient city of Istanbul makes a fascinating weekend break or a great add-on to a beach holiday. And if you're having trouble deciding where to stay in old Istanbul, our handy hotel reviews will help you choose.
In Istanbul location is king. If you want to submerse yourself in Old Istanbul, the historical district of Sultanahmet is your dream come true – and the Best Western Saint Sophia Hotel is smack bang in the middle of the historic sights here. Built 150 years ago as a sultan’s mansion, this 22-room hotel blends gorgeous Ottoman style and traditional friendly service, with modern hotel facilities.
It’s directly opposite the 1,500 year old Saint Sophia Church, a stone’s throw away from the Sunken Palace Cistern, and three minutes from the world-famous Blue Mosque. The Best Western Saint Sophia is rated Special Class by the Turkish Ministry for Tourism for its special historical interest. If you’re out to explore the fascinating history of Istanbul, why not stay in a piece of it yourself?
If Sultanahmet is calling you but you’re on a tighter budget, try the district of Sirkezi, just ten minutes' walk away, where hotel rates are lower.
The 3-star Erboy Hotel is in a colourful, bustling street, within easy walking distance or a short tram ride from the sights of Old Istanbul, and offers a great combination of location, facilities and price.
What if shopping is your passion? Then the Beyazit district is the place for you. Right next to the Grand Bazaar, the 4-star Antik Hotel in Beyazit Square is a great base for shopping, and offers a unique flavour of Istanbul. The hotel lobby incorporates the ruins of a Roman cistern, and each of the four floors of this hotel is decorated in a different style from the city’s past.
Of course, not everyone who visits Istanbul is mad about history.
Prefer to explore what the modern side of the city has to offer? Then aim for the Taksim district. The emphasis here is on trendy cafés, upmarket boutiques, great restaurants and exhilarating nightlife.
One of the most striking landmarks here is the asymmetrical skyscraper of the Ceylan Inter-Continental Istanbul Hotel, an elegant upscale oasis of 390 rooms providing international comfort and 5-star luxury.
Enjoy spectacular views over Istanbul of the legendary Bosphorus Straits; visit the neighbouring Dolmabahce Palace, the last Imperial Ottaman palace; sample mouth-watering international cuisine in a choice of restaurants and expect the highest level of facilities in your room or suite.
Istanbul is a truly fascinating city. Choose the right hotel and you’ll make it a break you’ll never forget.