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Signature Selection: Istanbul

The exotic city which sits at the meeting point of Europe and Asia is a heady mix of history and hip; tradition and new trends intertwine like the weave on a Turkish carpet. Here’s our Signature selection of the best luxury hotels on offer.

Raffles Istanbul
Byzantine jewels were the inspiration for the rich interiors of Raffles Istanbul which opened to much fanfare in September. “We have created the perfect expression of the ‘new’ Istanbul: full of energy, but utterly in touch with the city in which it stands,” says Raffles’ president Peter French. We couldn’t agree more.

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Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at the Bosphorous
Four Seasons’ second hotel in Istanbul sees an Ottoman-era Atik Pasha palace from the 19th century transformed by the addition of two modern wings. The hotel has one of the largest terraces and most impressive pools on the banks of the Bosphorus.

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Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at Sultanahmet
This has to be the world’s most beautiful prison. Its cells have metamorphosed into stylish suites and its gates into a luxury lobby. No five-star hotel is closer to the heart of the old city, with Hagia Sophia and Topkapı Palace a stroll away on one side and the Blue Mosque on the other.

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Shangri-La Bosphorus, Istanbul
Before Raffles, the buzz was all about Shangri-La. The building was a 1929 tobacco warehouse rescued from dereliction and reworked into an opulent hotel on the banks of the Bosphorus. The hotel’s 180-plus rooms are some of the most spacious in the city. Pick a corner suite for views in two watery directions.

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The Istanbul EDITION
Design guru Ian Schrager’s Istanbul offering is pure gold. From the glowing hues of its impressive penthouse to its bronze-floored spa and the aptly named Gold Bar, all is a subtle shimmer of copper and gold with warm wood panelling. The 77-room hotel is in the centre of Istanbul’s trendy Levent area.

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Çırağan Palace Kempinski Istanbul
A former Ottoman palace built by Sultan Abdülaziz, the hotel looks like a glorious iced wedding cake. Most rooms are in the more modern building next door to the original palace but if you want to splash out on one of the 11 Palace Suites there is the option to arrive by private helicopter and be greeted by your personal butler.

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Pera Palace Hotel Jumeirah
Built to accommodate guests arriving on the Orient Express train in 1892, the Pera Palace has an impressive pedigree. Who wouldn’t want to write their journal where Agatha Christie once gathered inspiration for ‘Murder on the Orient Express’ or drink champagne in the bar where Mata Hari once flirted? The hotel reopened four years ago following an impressive renovation.

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The House Hotel Nişantaşı
This 44-room hotel is a slick, contemporary relief from over-the-top-Ottoman style. You’ll find it in the affluent district of Nişantaşı, home of Turkish author Orhan Pamuk. Close by you’ll find Istanbul’s most expensive shopping street, Abdi İpekçi Caddesi, and most of the city’s designer stores and expensive night life.

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