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skyline of Istanbul, Turkey, with a large mosque in the background and people milling about along the waterfront in the foreground

As the capital of several empires, Istanbul is one of the most ancient cities in the world. Stradling the boundary 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 serene shores of the Bosphorus River.

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

But (like anywhere), there are a lot of subpar options too. To help you save time and money, here’s my list of the best hotels in Istanbul:

1. Celine Hotel Ottoman Mansion

Guest room with wooden, Ottoman-style furniture at Celine Hotel Ottoman Mansion in Istanbul, Turkey
This four-star hotel is located in a former Ottoman mansion in Sultanahmet, just a short walk from Istanbul’s main sights. I love that the entire place retains its historic atmosphere and character. It’s decorated in a late Ottoman style, with grand wood ceilings, gilded paintings, hardwood floors, and period furnishings. There’s even a fireplace in the lounge.

The rooms feature wooden wardrobes and desks, comfy beds, a flatscreen TV with satellite channels, an electric kettle, a safe, and a minibar. You’ll also get two complimentary bottles of water in the room per day. The 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 get an excellent complimentary breakfast. I especially enjoy that it has both Turkish and Western options, with a ton of variety, including fresh pastries and breads, fruits, eggs, and sweet cakes.

Book here!

2. Sultan Hamit Hotel

Guest room two double beds and large windows overlooking the city at Sultan Hamit Hotel in Istanbul, Turkey
This three-star hotel is a great option for an affordable stay in the center of historic Sultanahmet. The staff is very welcoming and accommodating, and every morning there’s a traditional breakfast buffet filled with fresh fruit, cold cuts, cheeses, breads, pickled veggies, and dips. The rooms are minimally decorated and a bit dated, but always kept very clean.

Even though the rooms are on the smaller side, they come furnished with a surprising number of amenities. In all rooms, you’ll find a minifridge, a desk, wardrobe, flatscreen TVs, AC, safe, and an electric kettle to make tea and coffee. The bathrooms are small (with shower pressure that’s a bit weak), but they’re clean and come with complimentary 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 to the main attractions.

Book here!

3. AJWA Sultanahmet

Large guest room with a king bed, hardwood floors, and tapestries on the walls at AJWA Sultanahmet, a five-star hotel in Istanbul, Turkey
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 furnished with mother-of-pearl furniture, handmade silk carpets, original artwork, unique marble work, and hand-painted ceilings. There’s also a luxurious spa with a hammam, indoor pool, steam room, sauna and massage services. There’s two restaurants as well (an Azerbaijani gourmet restaurant and a French patisserie). One of the restaurants is on the roof, and I love that you can enjoy the huge breakfast spread while taking in stunning views over the Bosphorus River. (Just be aware that it’s a dry hotel, so no alcohol is served.)

The rooms are all furnished in the same Ottoman style, and even boast specially commissioned tilework and heated floors. All of the spacious rooms feature a complimentary minibar, wooden desk, flatscreen TV, Nespresso machine, and an electric kettle with a great selection of tea (this is Turkey after all). The beds are comfy, and you can choose your pillow from a pillow menu too. The bathrooms are large and have marble sinks and tubs, multiple showerheads, bidets, and complimentary toiletries. It almost feels like your own personal traditional hammam.

This is the ultimate for luxury in the heart of the old city. Plus, while you’re just a short walk away 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. The Halich Hotel Istanbul Karakoy

A bright guest room with wooden, Ottoman-style furniture at Celine Hotel Ottoman Mansion in Istanbul, Turkey
This four-star hotel offers sleek rooms with epic views over the city. The breakfast is actually served on the rooftop terrace every morning so you can take in the view while starting your day. The breakfast buffet has a ton of a variety too. In the evening, the rooftop turns into a bar, so definitely come up here at least once to enjoy the impressive panorama.

The rooms here are bright and cheery, with large-scale drawings of important Istanbul landmarks on the walls. All rooms also have air conditioning, a desk, a minifridge, an electric kettle, a flatscreen TV, and a safety deposit box. The bathrooms are a bit dated but have nice wide 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 homey feel (cats are loved and very well-cared for in Turkey). The location is excellent too as you have the best of both worlds here — it’s close to the ferry that will take you to all the historic sights, but within walking distance to the atmospheric streets of Galata.
Book here!

5. Pera Palace Hotel

A lrage guest room with windows adorned with pink draperies, hardwood floors, and other historic elements at Pera Palace Hotel in Istanbul, Turkey
Built in 1892 to host passengers of the Orient Express, this opulent five-star hotel exudes a timeless old-world charm. It was the first building in the Ottoman Empire to have electricity (apart from palaces) and tons of famous guests have stayed here (Agatha Christie supposedly wrote Murder on the Orient Express here). The hotel is designed in a mix of neoclassical, art nouveau and oriental styles, with a grand lobby boasting soaring ceilings, marble floors, and elaborate chandeliers. There’s an impressive array of amenities too, including an indoor pool, spa (with a 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.

The lavish rooms and suites feature period furnishings, with antique furniture, rich fabrics, hardwood floors, and floor-to-ceiling windows. All of the spacious rooms come equipped with a TV, mini-bar, safe, and Nespresso machine. The hammam-inspired marble bathrooms include complimentary toiletries as well as comfy bathrobes, and many bathrooms have antique clawfoot tubs. The majority of the rooms have balconies offering views over Pera and Golden Horn. Just a 10-minute walk from Galata Tower, this is the place for a unique, historic, and luxurious stay.

Book here!


Istanbul, the city where East meets West, is a fascinating blend of cultures and history. I love wandering the bustling streets as the emblematic call to prayer echoes from the minarets all around. It’s got this unique feel that’s not quite European, but not quite 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 a cheap flight by using Skyscanner. It’s my favorite search engine because it searches websites and airlines around the globe so you always know no stone is being left unturned.

Book Your Accommodation
You can book your hostel with Hostelworld. If you want to stay somewhere other than a hostel, use as it consistently returns the cheapest rates for guesthouses and hotels.

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

Want to Travel for Free?
Travel credit cards allow you to earn points that can be redeemed for free flights and accommodation — all without any extra spending. Check out my guide to picking the right card and my current favorites to get started and see the latest best deals.

Need Help Finding Activities for Your Trip?
Get Your Guide is a huge online marketplace where you can find cool 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 when I travel. They are the best in class and you can’t go wrong using them on your trip.

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