Çırağan Palace Kempinski Istanbul, Istanbul $$$$
Concierge.com's insider take:
This mid-19th-century palace, located on the site of an 18th-century residence belonging to the last Ottoman sultans, housed the Turkish parliament for two months before becoming a city dump: You follow that? Well, all you need to know these days is that this is one of only two grand hotels on the European shores of the Bosphorus (the other is the just-opened Four Seasons) and it straddles two neighborhoods: colorful harbor-front Ortaköy with its outdoor restaurants and Beşiktaş, where you can hop on a Bosphorus ferry. Nearly all the 315 rooms are in an adjacent modern buildinga charmless E-shaped block that is most remarkable for its water views. What you don't want is one of the 102 Park View rooms in back; unfortunately, to upgrade to the least expensive sea-view room adds about $165 per night. If you do so, you won't gain much in decor: Recent renovations haven't dimmed the corporate, ahem, magnificence. Throughout are armoires, headboards, desks, and nightstands in matching fancy wood veneers; the same cluster of faux-bazaar brocade pillows adorn each bed; superior rooms add an Arabian Nights canopy over the top. Still, they're large, the common areas are numerous and plush, and you can escape into the opulent hammam or the pool that butts right up against the Bosphorusas do the three restaurants.
From the readers of Condé Nast Traveler:
2011 Gold List
Overall Score: 91.8
- Design: 94.2
- Food: 85.1
- Location: 89.3
- Rooms: 95.9
- Service: 94.3
Also appeared in the Gold List in 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005
Amenities: Pool, SpaSubscribe now to Condé Nast Traveler ›
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