As the capital of many empires, Istanbul is one of the oldest cities in the world. Straddling the border between Europe and Asia, this humming metropolis of over 15 million people boasts plenty to explore, from the bustling Grand Bazaar to the iconic Hagia Sophia to the tranquil shores of the Bosphorus River.

Turkey is famous for its hospitality, meaning there are many great hotels with amazing service. It’s a great place to splash out. I especially love that many of the hotels are located in historic buildings, so you’re always soaking up the history of the city no matter where you go.

But (as anywhere), there are also plenty of subpar options. To help you save time and money, here is my list of the best hotels in Istanbul:

1. Celine Hotel Ottoman Mansion

This four-star hotel is located in a former Ottoman mansion in Sultanahmet, a short walk from Istanbul’s main attractions. I love that the whole place retains its historic atmosphere and character. It is decorated in late Ottoman style, with grand wooden ceilings, gilded paintings, hardwood floors and period furnishings. There is also a fireplace in the lounge.

The rooms have wooden wardrobes and desks, comfortable beds, flatscreen TVs with satellite channels, electric kettles, safes and minibars. You will also receive two complimentary bottles of water in the room each day. Bathrooms have marble sinks, deep tubs, and rainfall showerheads (a big plus in my book). There are also free toiletries, bathrobes, slippers and a hairdryer.

Every morning in the interior patio, you can enjoy an excellent complimentary breakfast. I am especially pleased that it has both Turkish and Western options, with a variety including fresh pastries and breads, fruits, eggs and sweet cakes.

Book here!

2. Sultan Hamit Hotel

This three-star hotel is a great option for an affordable stay in the heart of historic Sultanahmet. The staff is very welcoming and accommodating, and the traditional breakfast each morning is full of fresh fruit, cold cuts, cheeses, breads, pickled vegetables and dips. The rooms are sparsely decorated and a bit dated, but always kept very clean.

Although the rooms are on the small side, they are equipped with a surprising number of amenities. In all rooms, you will find a minifridge, a desk, wardrobe, flatscreen TV, AC, safe and electric kettle for making tea and coffee. Bathrooms are small (with shower pressure that’s a little weak), but they’re clean and come with free toiletries, slippers, and a hairdryer. Overall, this is a good no-frills choice for travelers on a budget who want to be within walking distance of major attractions.

Book here!

3. AJWA Sultanahmet

I love the timeless decadence of this gorgeous five-star hotel. Walking into the grand lobby feels like stepping into a palace. The entire place is decorated with mother-of-pearl furniture, handmade silk carpets, original artwork, unique marble work and hand-painted ceilings. There is also a luxurious spa with hammam, indoor pool, steam room, sauna and massage services. There are also two restaurants (an Azerbaijani gourmet restaurant and a French patisserie). A restaurant is on the roof, and I love that you can enjoy a huge breakfast while taking in the stunning views over the Bosphorus River. (Just be aware that it’s a dry hotel, so alcohol is not served.)

All rooms are decorated in the same Ottoman style, and also boast specially commissioned tilework and heated floors. All spacious rooms have complimentary minibars, wooden desks, flatscreen TVs, Nespresso machines and electric kettles (this is Turkish, after all) with a large selection of teas. The beds are comfortable, and you can even choose your pillow from the pillow menu. Bathrooms are spacious and feature marble sinks and tubs, multiple showerheads, bidets and complimentary toiletries. It almost feels like your own personal traditional hammam.

This is the ultimate in luxury in the heart of the old city. Plus, while you’re a short distance from all of the city’s historic attractions, there’s a free shuttle available that can take you to the main sights if you need it.

Book here!

4. Helich Hotel Istanbul Karakoy

This four-star hotel offers attractive rooms with epic views of the city. Breakfast is actually served every morning on the roof terrace so you can enjoy the view as you start your day. The breakfast buffet also has a lot of variety. In the evening, the rooftop turns into a bar, so be sure to come here at least once to enjoy the impressive panorama.

The rooms here are bright and airy, with large-scale drawings of important Istanbul landmarks on the walls. All rooms are also equipped with air conditioning, desk, mini fridge, electric kettle, flat screen TV and safety deposit box. Bathrooms are a bit dated but have nice large vanities so you can spread out all your stuff. The staff is exceptionally helpful, and there’s even a hotel cat, which gives the place a homely feel (cats are loved and very well cared for in Turkey). The location is also great because you have the best of both worlds here — it’s close to the ferry that will take you to all the historical sites, but within walking distance to the atmospheric streets of Galata.

Book here!

5. Para Palace Hotel

Built in 1892 to host passengers of the Orient Express, this elegant five-star hotel exudes timeless old-world charm. It was the first building in the Ottoman Empire to have electricity (aside from palaces) and many famous guests have stayed here (Agatha Christie is believed to have written Murder on the Orient Express here). The hotel is designed in a mix of neoclassical, art nouveau and oriental styles, with a grand lobby featuring high ceilings, marble floors and elaborate chandeliers. There’s also an impressive array of amenities, including an indoor pool, spa (with traditional Turkish bath, sauna, steam room, and massage services), as well as a well-equipped fitness center. There are also several eateries, including a French patisserie, a tea lounge and a gourmet restaurant that serves a fantastic Turkish breakfast buffet.

Elegant rooms and suites feature period furnishings with antique furniture, rich fabrics, hardwood floors, and floor-to-ceiling windows. All spacious rooms are equipped with TV, mini-bar, safe and Nespresso machine. Hammam-inspired marble bathrooms include complimentary toiletries as well as comfortable bathrobes, and many feature antique clawfoot tubs. Most rooms have balconies that offer views of Para and the Golden Horn. Just a 10-minute walk from Galata Tower, this is a unique, historic and luxurious place to stay.

Book here!


Istanbul, the city where East meets West, is a fascinating mix of culture and history. I love wandering the bustling streets as the symbolic call to prayer echoes from minarets all around. It’s got this unique feel that’s not quite European, but not Asian either. Definitely plan to spend some time soaking up the city. But no matter how long you have, choose one of the hotels above and you’re sure to have a great stay!

Book Your Trip: Logistical Tips and Tricks

Book your flight
Find cheap flights using Skyscanner. It’s my favorite search engine because it finds websites and airlines from all over the world so you always know that no stone is left unturned.

Book your accommodation
You can also book your hostel Hostelworld. Use if you want to stay somewhere other than a hostel Because it consistently offers the cheapest rates for guesthouses and hotels.

Don’t forget travel insurance
Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft and cancellation. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I have had to use it many times in the past. My favorite companies that provide great service and value are:

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Travel credit cards allow you to earn points that can be redeemed for free flights and accommodations – all at no extra cost. Check out my guide to choosing the right card and my current favorites to get started, and check out the latest great deals.

Need help finding activities for your trip?
Get your guide There is a huge online marketplace where you can find great walking tours, fun excursions, skip-the-line tickets, private guides and more.

Ready to book your trip?
Check out my resource page for the best companies to use when you travel. I list all the ones I use while traveling. They are best in class and you can’t go wrong using them on your trip.

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