Concierge.com's insider take:
When Hotel Les Ottomans opened in 2006 in a renovated 18th-century mansion in Kuruçeşme, a little way up the Bosphorus on the European side, it unequivocally raised the bar for boutique hotels in the city. The sultans themselves would have appreciated local designer Zeynep Fadılloğlu's lavishness and attention to detail. Handmade Turkish furnishings mingle with imported Indian, South African, and Venetian artifacts, from the stunning "tree branch" chandelier in the Yalı Hatun restaurant (which serves outside in the summer) through the open-plan reception area and lounge, to each of the ten suites on the upper floor. The cheaper quarters ($1,200 and up) are of a standard that would pass for la crème in other hotels: Individually themed, they are usually split-level and sufficiently spacious, whereas the larger suites with their extra living rooms and office space almost feel excessive. In terms of bang for your buck, comps abound, including free minibar and breakfast, and yacht trips on the Bosphorus; frequent packages throw in things like a couple's massage in the excellent Caudalie Vinotherapie Spa, or open entry to the in-house Q Jazz bar. The team of helpers includes a butler, a translator, a dietitian, and a professional shopper. The downside is that only four of the ten suites face the Bosphorus; the others look out onto the hotel's garden, which is abruptly interrupted by the busy coast road.
From the editors of Condé Nast Traveler:
It may not look like much from the outside—a white facade behind a skimpy porte cochère—but on the inside, where it counts, Les Ottomans is a well-executed fantasy. This mansion-turned-hotel sits just a few feet from the Bosphorus, and each of the 12 huge suites is a high-Orientalist dreamworld of deep-pile carpets, red glass lanterns, and luxurious swags of embroidered silk drapery. Best of all are the windows, which open fully with the touch of a button, letting in the sound of lapping waves and inviting you to perch on the sill and dangle your legs while eating the blini and caviar that greet each guest's arrival. The discreet staff, while short on English, are sweetly well-intentioned, as is the personal chambermaid who stands sentry outside your room and straightens it upon each departure. The lavish Caudalie Spa, with its stepped hot tub, and the elegant dining room, Club Ottomans, make staying in all the more decadent. If there's one shortcoming, it's the location, a 40-minute car ride from the old city of Sultanahmet.2007 Hot List
When to go: October through November, when nights are brisk but days are sunny.
Which room to book: The Saphir, which, though not one of the largest, has a full view of the Bosphorus.
Amenities: 24-hour Room Service, Bar/lounge, Gym, Pool, SpaSubscribe now to Condé Nast Traveler for just $1 an issue! ›
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