Hotels in Istanbul Lodging Guides

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Hotels in Istanbul run the gamut from sumptuous palaces fit for a Sultan to backpacker's doss houses resemble something out of Midnight Express. The good news is that you shouldn't have any difficulty finding something to suit your needs and wallet, just as long as you know where to start:

The golden rule when looking for a hotel in Istanbul is to ignore the protestations of your Taksi driver. If you let him know that you're looking for a bed for the night you'll be whisked around the city (with the cab's meter spiraling out of control) before being left stranded at his 'brother's' hotel. The chances are that it won't be in the best part of town and it will be less than salubrious.

It's a much better idea to work out where you want to stay before you set out. Most visitors opt for the historic quarter of Sultanahmet, which corrals together the city's biggest attractions (including: Topkapi Palace, the Aya Sofia and the Blue Mosque). However, Sultanahmet goes to bed considerably earlier than the rest of Istanbul. A second concentration of hotels can be found north of The Golden Horn, centring on Taksim Square. After dark the area comes alive and there are a reported 1000 bars on Istiklal Cadessi to keep you busy well into the small hours. Taksim is also better placed for anyone wanting access to the business district.

Top Ten Istanbul Hotels :

Luxury hotels :

Çiragan Palace (Tel: 212 258 3377) A lavish Ottoman palace set on the banks of the Bosporus.

Four Seasons Hotel (Tel: 212 638 8200) Set in the heart of Sultanahmet this former prison is now one of Istanbul's most popular addresses.

Hyatt Regency (Tel: 212 225 7000) While the Hyatt Regency's architecture is unlikely to take your breath away, its facilities will (which include: a Turkish bath, swimming pool, gym, hairdressers, restaurant and a choice of three bars).

Pera Palace (Tel: 212 251 4560) Built over a decade ago to provide lodgings for travelers arriving on the Orient Express. Previous guests include: Kemal Atatürk, Agatha Christie and Mata Hari (although we're not sure what they would have made of the renovation job).

Mid range hotels :

Merit Antique Hotel (212 513 9300) Four attractive turn of the century apartment blocks knocked into one well appointed 21st century hotel.

Yesil Ev (Tel: 212 517 6786) Another Sultanahmet favourite, beautifully decorated in traditional Ottoman style.

Kybele (Tel: 212 511 7766) A relaxed family atmosphere and décor that's just the right side of unusual. The attractions of Sultanahmet are on the doorstep.

Cheap hotels :

Hotel Empress Zoe (Tel: 212 518 4360) An ever popular choice with guidebook writers thanks to the tasteful décor and great views of Sultanahmet from the rooftop terrace bar.

Hotel Nomade (Tel: 212 511 1296) A cosy pansiyon located in the old town, complete with rooftop bar.

Sultan's Inn (Tel: 212 638 25 62 cheap, cheerful well located and they'll pick you up from the airport.

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