Istanbul Hotel Reviews

Advisor - Judy & Glenn Tudor
Curated By

Judy & Glenn Tudor

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Istanbul Hotel Reviews
Curator’s statement

Glenn and I returned to historic Istanbul in Spring 2023 and found the city still as vibrant and wonderful as previous visits. During this trip to Istanbul, we stayed in three different luxury properties and did a thorough site inspection of another one, getting to experience different areas of Istanbul.

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Where to stay

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The Peninsula Istanbul

Indulge in luxurious sophistication at The Peninsula Istanbul, where impeccable service, breathtaking views and exquisite amenities combine to create an unforgettable experience in the heart of Istanbul.

Fora Perks
  • $100 hotel / resort credit.

  • Breakfast daily.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul At The Bosphorus

Storied accommodation with a Turkish soul featuring a traditional hammam, tea ceremonies and local cuisine in union with the excellence of the Four Season name.

Fora Perks
  • When you book Four Seasons through Fora, you will enjoy exclusive Four Seasons Preferred Partner benefits. Your advisor will be pleased to give you more details.

Four Seasons Istanbul at Sultanahmet

A palatial stay between the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia in the heart of the historic district.

Fora Perks
  • When you book Four Seasons through Fora, you will enjoy exclusive Four Seasons Preferred Partner benefits. Your advisor will be pleased to give you more details.

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Advisor - Judy & Glenn Tudor

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The Peninsula Istanbul

The Peninsula just opened in February 2023 so we were very excited that the timing worked out for us to be able to stay here and check it out. The property is four different buildings that used to be a cruise terminal that they have connected to create one hotel.  The two highlights of this hotel are the location and the service. The property is located on the Bosphorus in the Karakoy neighborhood. This location is a developing waterfront district within walking distance of the spice market and Grand Bazaar area as well as a ferry terminal. We booked their standard room and were upgraded to a Bosphorus view that not only connected us to the Bosphorus, but had a perfect view of the Hagia Sophia mosque as well. The rooms were very spacious, modern and comfortable. The bathroom floors are heated and there is a spa mode for the bathroom that can be accessed that dims the lights and turns on spa music while using the soaking tub. There is also a separate vanity area that includes an electric nail dryer.

The hotel was not open to its full capacity while we were there and only had one dining option available, but the food and service were amazing.  You or your clients must try the Turkish breakfast. They also have an expansive spa and fitness center with an indoor pool and hammam treatment rooms. They were still finishing work on the waterfront pool area and a new restaurant and rooftop bar. They also have a buyout floor option at the top of one of their buildings that provides privacy and exclusivity for the right guest. What will definitely bring us back to this resort in the future is the service. Every person we encountered was amazing and provided a warm and genuine hospitality culture that makes you feel like you have found a home away from home.

Accessibility Tip: We did not have an accessible room, but the room was very well designed and I had no issues. The hotel's common areas are also accessible. The indoor pool had one area that was not accessible but the hotel found a solution to make it accessible within a day.

Four Seasons Istanbul at the Bosphorus

This hotel was also located on the Bosphorus closer to downtown Istanbul.  This hotel was formerly an Ottoman Palace and has amazing views of the Bosphorus and the Asian side of Istanbul. It has good access to the Dolmabahce Palace and is a short car ride from Taksim Square and Istiklal Street for shopping and restaurants. The rooms are a bit outdated but are bright and all have a beautiful window seat as an homage to the history of the building where the Sultan’s harem would sit in the window seats and watch the bustle of royal life. The rooms were also very spacious and definitely had more of a Turkish decor than a modern design. The property has multiple dining options including adorable dining igloos along the Bosphorus for the cooler weather where you can eat mezze in a warm igloo while overlooking the Bosphorus. The hotel also has a beautiful spa, indoor pool and hammam treatment room. The service here was also very good and consistent with what you would expect from the Four Seasons brand. 

Accessibility Tip: We stayed in an accessible room for this hotel and recommend having that due to the hotel being a bit older, other rooms could be more challenging for accessibility.  All the common areas were accessible. The challenge with this resort for accessibility is that it is a very steep hill to get out of the hotel and onto the main street. We could not walk around the hotel area because we always had to have a car to get out of the hotel.

A spacious hotel room with two blue and white rugs and a neatly made bed.

Four Season Hotel Istanbul at Sultanahmet

We conducted a site inspection at this hotel during our stay. This hotel is also all about the location. This hotel is located in the heart of Istanbul’s old city within just a few steps of the Hagia Sophia. The location is great for first-time guests, who have limited time in Istanbul or to at least stay a couple days of a longer vacation. The hotel is small, with only 65 rooms but it recently went through a total renovation. The rooms definitely have a more modern and Turkish design. Many of the suites have small balconies with stunning views of the Hagia Sophia that are worth the Instagram alone. This hotel used to be a prison and has a beautiful courtyard where their main restaurant is located. The hotel is a very recognizable yellow color and when you are in this courtyard it feels very bright and cozy almost giving European villa vibes. 

Accessibility Tip: Getting to this hotel can be a challenge as the streets in the old city are very bumpy, cobblestone and steep. The hotel itself also has some significant steps to manage to get to the courtyard area that the hotel provided ramps for but the ramps would definitely be too steep to navigate alone. 

A bed with white sheets atop a tan and scarlet rug in a hotel room.

Raffles Istanbul

This hotel is located in a more residential area and is connected to the Zorlu Center, a very popular and upscale shopping mall. It is in a high-rise building that probably has great views from the rooms on higher floors. The decor and feel of this hotel are much more formal luxury. The room was very nice with a modern design and, again, very spacious accommodations. Being connected to the mall was nice and offered many dining options.  The service was also very good and the staff truly tried to anticipate your needs. We had a very early flight to catch the next morning and they were very gracious to offer breakfast to be brought up to the room. Every guest is assigned a butler that we, unfortunately, did not really get to use because of only staying for one night. This is an excellent hotel for that feeling of over-the-top luxury and service and perhaps clients who enjoy high-end shopping. One thing to note is that it is not very close to either the historic Istanbul area or the Bosphorus.

A bed and a brown table in a hotel room with floor-to-ceiling windows.

Need to Know

This trip report is part of our ongoing series on travel to Istanbul. In need of further inspiration? Check out Judy and Glenn Tudor’s guide, 1 Week Guide to Affordable Luxury in Istanbul.

Advisor - Judy & Glenn Tudor

Travel Advisor

Judy & Glenn Tudor

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