Lush Hotel, Istanbul $$$$
Concierge.com's insider take:
The lively nightlife and shopping area around Beyoğlu is generally neglected by hotel entrepreneurs, leaving a choice between brass-knobbed chains and shabby backstreet bolt-holes. But the arrival of a line of middle ground places is inevitable, and the Lush is the first to offer interesting accommodation without the fanfare. The hotel is integrated into a centenarian apartment building, and its strong suit is undoubtedly its 35 rooms, each individually designed by co-owner and architect Elif Özdemir. They are quirky and enjoyable, particularly room 305, where select pieces of traditional furniture are set against whitewashed brick and some curious landscapes are painted on the walls; the split-level suite 104 comes complete with its own little hammam, floor cushions, and water pipe. All are fitted with LCD TVs and Wi-Fi. The cheaper rooms are worth the price, as the quarters are immaculate and the bathrooms far above the neighborhood average; past the $300 mark, however, you'll be forced to weigh convenience against the amenities of a larger and better-equipped hotel. Having said that, the previously Spartan reception area has undergone a makeover in the last year, and the hotel has also introduced a small spa that offers a handful of different types of massage.