The luxury hotel scene in Istanbul is quite developed, with many high-end hotels and resorts throughout the city. These hotels offer a range of amenities, including spas, swimming pools, and fine dining options.
Additionally, many of these hotels are located in historic or culturally significant areas, providing guests easy access to popular tourist sites and landmarks.
In this post, we’ll be exploring the top hotels in Istanbul, including the most luxurious and expensive options. From five-star hotels in Istanbul to luxury hotels in Istanbul, I’ve got you covered. If you’re looking for the ultimate in luxury and indulgence, you won’t want to miss this guide to Istanbul’s most expensive and luxurious hotels. So let us start.
How I Chose the Best Luxury Hotels in Istanbul
While this list of the most luxurious hotels in Istanbul is undeniably subjective, my criteria include factors such as tradition, location, and the level of luxury they provide.
However, it’s important to note that in this competitive and ever-evolving landscape, opinions may vary. If someone were to argue for a different hotel to be at the top of the list, I wouldn’t necessarily disagree. Istanbul’s luxury hotel scene is constantly evolving.
That being said, the reason Ciragan Palace Kempinski Istanbul occupies the number one spot on my list is because it offers a unique experience that’s deeply rooted in tradition. While there are newer and undoubtedly excellent hotels in the city, none of them can match the allure of staying in an Ottoman palace.
In my opinion, Ciragan Palace Kempinski is on par with iconic hotels like The Plaza in New York and Claridge’s in London when it comes to representing the essence of Istanbul’s luxury and history.
I hope you’ll find this read enjoyable, and should you have any questions or require further information about the hotels, please feel free to reach out to me anytime.
The Best Area to Stay in Istanbul
You don’t need to stay near the Sultanahmet area if you have already been to Istanbul a couple of times and have seen the most important tourist attractions. For first-timers, Sultanahmet will be their destination, so hotels’ location and transportation options are important factors. Any of the hotels on this list is a good choice. These hotels are among the most expensive in Istanbul. The breakfasts, spa treatments, and other services will be of the highest quality.
For those visiting Istanbul for the first time, exploring its historical buildings and museums is a must, in addition to other tourist activities. So you will be visiting Sultanahmet district for sure. Let us look at the map down below.
As evident, there are numerous options on the southern side of the European part of the Bosphorus in Istanbul, primarily because this is where the main attractions are located. In Istanbul, having Bosphorus views in your home or hotel is considered exceptionally prestigious. It’s similar to having a Central Park view in New York or a sightline of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
If you are looking to book a hotel room with a view of the Bosphorus, it is important to carefully review the options available when making your reservation. Some hotels may offer rooms with a view of the Bosphorus, while others may not. When making your reservation, be sure to look for options that specifically mention a Bosphorus view.
You may want to call the hotel or check their website to make sure that you have selected the right room type. Finally, when you arrive at the hotel, be sure to confirm that your room does have a Bosphorus view.
How to get the best Prices for luxury hotels in Istanbul?
While luxury hotels can often come with a hefty price tag, there are ways to secure better deals. It’s worth keeping an eye out for special packages offered during certain seasons or weeks, as hotels may have discounts available. By tracking these offers, you may be able to snag a better price for a stay at a luxurious hotel.
The cheapest months to stay in Istanbul are typically during the off-peak tourist season, which is from November to April. However, keep in mind that prices may also depend on the specific location, type of accommodation, and other factors. It is always recommended to check prices and compare deals before making a final booking.
Istanbul offers a high number of luxury hotels, each with its unique charm and elegance. Here’s my list of the best luxury hotels in Istanbul that will make your stay truly unforgettable:
11. Sumahan on the Water
Sumahan on the Water stands out as one of Istanbul’s premier boutique hotels. It offers a tranquil experience, far removed from the bustling attractions and tourist crowds. Situated on the Asian side of the city, Sumahan may not be the most convenient choice for first-time visitors.
However, for those who have already explored Istanbul on a couple of occasions, Sumahan provides a splendid opportunity to discover the city’s Asian side, complete with charming cafes, restaurants, and access to the hotel’s exceptional spa facilities.
Should you be keen to explore the European side, you can conveniently take a taxi or use public transportation from the hotel to reach Üsküdar ferry port, where you can catch a ferry to the European side.
In sum, Sumahan offers a unique and distinctive experience in Istanbul.
10. St Regis Istanbul
St. Regis Hotels & Resorts is a luxury hotel chain owned and managed by Marriott International. The St. Regis Istanbul is situated in the upscale Nişantaşı neighborhood, with designer shops, high-end fashion brands, and local restaurants just a step away. The hotel is also surrounded by stunning Art Deco and Art Nouveau architecture.
Although it is not close to major tourist attractions in Istanbul, you can visit the attractions with a taxi ride (30 minutes) to the historic district. I think it is pleasant to stay in this area away from the tourist crowd. If you’ve already explored the tourist attractions in Istanbul and are now looking for leisure and shopping options, this hotel might be a better choice for you. Also St. Regis offers one of the best Rooftop Bars in town which might spice up your Istanbul experience.
9. Soho House Istanbul
Soho House is a worldwide private members club that currently operates clubs, hotels, and venues globally. Membership is exclusive and primarily consists of individuals from the media, arts, and fashion industries. Guests can purchase a membership at the Houses, but non-members are also welcome.
Soho House Istanbul is set in Palazzo Corpi. The Palazzo Corpi is a 19th-century building in Istanbul. It was originally built for a Genoese merchant Ignazio Corpi by an Italian architect between 1873 and 1882. Currently, the building is being leased by Soho House. The Palazzo Corpi holds the distinction of being the first diplomatic building owned by the United States government in Europe and one of the first to be purchased by the United States.
Significance of the Beyoglu District
Beyoglu district, also known as Beyoglu or Pera, is a neighborhood in Istanbul, Turkey that is known for its rich cultural and artistic heritage. It is located on the European side of the city, on the north shore of the Golden Horn. Beyoglu is a lively and vibrant area, with a mix of historic and modern architecture, trendy shops, art galleries, museums, and a diverse selection of restaurants and cafes. It is also known for its nightlife, with a variety of bars, nightclubs, and live music venues.
Additionally, it is home to many important landmarks such as Taksim Square, Istiklal Street, and Galata Tower. Overall, Beyoglu is considered one of the most dynamic and eclectic neighborhoods in Istanbul, making it a must-visit destination for tourists and locals.
I would recommend you return to the artistic neighborhood of Beyoglu regularly. You will discover new surprises each time, including the Salt Beyoglu Gallery for contemporary art and the fantastic Arter Museum.
8. JW Marriott Istanbul Bosphorus
Constructed 180 years ago by Italian architects, this building has undergone a skillful renovation while preserving its original structure and stunning 35-meter atrium. It now stands as one of Istanbul’s most refined properties, showcasing its marine heritage.
JW Marriott Bosphorus is located in the Galata neighborhood of Istanbul, directly across the Galata bridge. This area is renowned for its shopping, dining, and entertainment options. Additionally, it is also conveniently located near popular tourist spots like Galata Tower, Taksim square, and the newly build GalataPort.
Editors NoteI highly recommend visiting the rooftop bar at JW Marriott Bosphorus for its stunning view of the Bosphorus, delicious food, and great cocktails, even if you don’t stay at the hotel.
Additionally, the hotel is conveniently located near major tourist destinations such as Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Basilica Cistern, Grand Bazaar, and Spice Bazaar, which can be reached in about a 10-minute tram ride. Therefore, if it’s your first trip to Istanbul, this hotel is possibly the most conveniently located luxury hotel in Istanbul, rivaled by the Peninsula Hotel, Four Seasons Sultanahmet, and the Hilton Hagia Sophia Mansions (which is not included on this list).
JW Marriott Istanbul Bosphorus offers luxurious rooms, as well as an outstanding rooftop bar, ensuring a memorable stay.
7. Six Senses Kocataş Mansions
Six Senses Kocataş Mansions, Istanbul offers you an extraordinary experience on the shores of the Bosphorus. You will experience the boutique hotel experience in two historical mansions from the Ottoman era with the hospitality of Six Senses. While listening to the chirping of birds in the green area surrounded by olive and lemon trees, you will enjoy yourself in the blue of the Bosphorus.
The brand is known for its focus on sustainable tourism, wellness, and providing guests with unique and personal experiences. You can enjoy their award-winning SPA while you are exploring Istanbul.
The only drawback of the hotel is that it is not well-situated for visiting the main tourist attractions. But Overall, The Six Senses Kocatas Mansions is an excellent choice for those seeking to immerse themselves in the culture and history of Istanbul, while also enjoying a tranquil and secluded experience. It boasts a prime location with breathtaking views of the Bosphorus. Also with luxurious amenities, and exceptional service, the hotel is sure to provide a truly memorable stay.
6. Shangri-La Bosphorus
The Shangri-La Group is known for its luxurious properties that feature high-end amenities, exceptional service, and elegant design. The properties are designed to provide guests with a sense of serenity and relaxation, making them a popular choice for both leisure and business travelers.
The Shangri-La Bosphorus, Istanbul is located in a building that was originally constructed in 1929 as the Besiktas Tobacco Warehouse. Designed by architect Victor Adaman, it was among the first industrial buildings in Turkey. After being used as a warehouse for several years, it was later converted into a television factory until 1985. The building stood empty for 20 years before Shangri-La Hotels signed an agreement to operate the hotel.
The hotel offers stunning views of the Bosphorus Strait and the city skyline. The hotel’s location provides easy access to many popular tourist attractions in Istanbul. The Dolmabahce Palace, the Taksim Square, and the Bosphorus Bridge. The Shangri-La Bosphorus hotel is conveniently located near Besiktas Port, just a 2-minute walk away, from where you can take a boat to the Asian side of Istanbul. And in just 25 minutes, you can start exploring the other side of the city.
Additionally, it is in close proximity to many popular tourist attractions. I suggest taking a 10-15 minute walk to Kabatas and taking the tram to Sultanahmet, as navigating Istanbul’s traffic can be challenging during peak hours.
What makes Shangri-La great for Tourists?
The Shangri La may not have much outdoor space, but it makes up for it with its indoor views of the Bosphorus Strait. The rooms are decorated with sumptuous grays and neutrals, creating a seamless flow from the room to the sea. The subtle Asian details in the design are a delight. The Cantonese Shang Palace restaurant sets the standard for dining in Istanbul and the CHI spa elevates the traditional Turkish Bath experience.
Furthermore, Shangri-La’s proximity to the Besiktas Ferry Port makes crossing the Bosphorus an exceptionally convenient and hassle-free experience.
Shangri-La Bosphorus is definitely one of the top choices for travelers seeking a high-end experience in Istanbul.
5. Hotel Raffles Istanbul
Raffles Hotel Istanbul is situated in the Zorlu Center, a modern and striking complex with a luxury shopping mall and performing arts center, with high-rise buildings that house offices, apartments, and the hotel.
The location of the hotel might make you think that it would be generic or artificial, but it is bustling with locals and visitors, and Raffles’ signature service infuses the hotel with warmth. The hotel is grandiose in its design, featuring large public spaces adorned with massive chandeliers, mosaics and artworks from the hotel’s extensive collection. This hotel’s luxury exceeds all expectations.
Hirsch Bedner Associates, an interior design company based in Los Angeles, has decorated the space with luxurious Byzantine silk, gold mosaics, traditional Turkish textiles, and a collection of specially commissioned artwork including paintings, sculpture, video art and photography.
Guests can enjoy the best views of the Bosphorus and the Princes’ Islands from the balcony in each room. The hotel also features two pools, one on the roof, and a 3,000 sq m spa with products from The Organic Pharmacy for guests to relax and unwind.
The drawbacks are that the view of the Bosphorus Strait is viewed from a slight distance and the location is not optimal for visiting tourist attractions using public transportation.
4. Mandarin Oriental Bosphorus
Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group is a luxury hotel company that operates a global portfolio of hotels, resorts, and residences. The group was founded in 1963 and is headquartered in Hong Kong. Mandarin Oriental hotels are known for their luxurious accommodations, exceptional service, and distinctive Asian-inspired design.
Mandarin Oriental Bosphorus has received numerous accolades, including being recognized as the “Best Design Hotel on a Global Level,” “Best New Hotel in Europe,” and having the “Best Hotel View in Turkey” by the Haute Grandeur Excellence Awards, which honors premier hotels and spas around the world.
Additionally, the spa at Mandarin Oriental Bosphorus, with its exclusive treatments, extensive wellness programs and a 3500 square meter spacious and airy area, was honored by the Haute Grandeur Excellence Awards for “Best Spa Design in Europe” and “Best Health & Wellness Spa in Turkey” awards.
Mandarin Oriental Bosphorus is located on the European side of the Bosphorus, with breathtaking panoramic views. The hotel stretches to the century-old Naile Sultan Grove and the historic streets of Kuruçeşme.
Mandarin Oriental features luxurious rooms and suites, each one equipped with a terrace or balcony, that reflect the magnificent harmony of contemporary design and iconic Ottoman heritage. The hotel offers excellent dining options, including the renowned Novikov restaurant.
The hotel is situated in the Kurucesme area, which is located further away from the major tourist attractions, but it is close to the upscale neighborhood of Bebek in Istanbul, and offers a variety of nearby options for fish restaurants and shopping.
3. The Peninsula Istanbul
The Peninsula Hotels is a prestigious hotel brand that can only be found in exclusive locations around the world and is owned by The Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels Limited (HSH). They are opening their Hotel in Istanbul on the 14th of February in 2023 in Galataport. Galataport Istanbul transforms the city’s historical port into a world-class cruise port. It is a new neighborhood that offers unique shopping, gastronomy, and cultural-art experiences, while also hosting 177 rooms of The Peninsula Istanbul.
The Peninsula Istanbul is located in the area that includes the restored Central Han, Karakoy Passenger Terminal, Çinili Han, and the New Ballroom Building. The hotel’s lobby is located in the Karakoy Passenger Terminal, which dates back to the 1940s and is Turkey’s first modern port terminal.
As the hotel group they belong to is of top-notch quality services, and the amenities they are offering are promising, it can be said that this luxurious hotel in Istanbul will likely be one of the best ones. Moreover, its location is simply great!
2. Four Seasons Bosphorus & Four Seasons Sultanahmet
Why I Chose two Hotels for the 2nd Place?I’ve decided to rank both Four Seasons hotels in Istanbul as the second-best options on this list because they are both outstanding and offer distinct qualities. Your choice between them depends on your preferences.
If you desire an incredible Istanbul view from a hilltop location, conveniently close to the main attractions, then Four Seasons Sultanahmet is the ideal pick. On the other hand, if your preference is to stay along the Bosphorus and experience palace living, then Four Seasons Bosphorus is the perfect choice.
Four Seasons Bosphorus
Four Seasons Bosphorus is elegantly located on the picturesque shores of the Bosphorus, the hotel is a restored 19th-century Ottoman palace that blends Istanbul’s historical architecture, traditional Turkish hospitality, and modern amenities.
Indulge in one of the traditional hammams, unwind by the outdoor pool, and savor the flavors of Anatolian cuisine while taking in the stunning views of the city’s waterfront and its iconic minarets and towers. It features a variety of guest rooms and suites, as well as a spa, fitness center, and multiple dining options.
Guests can also enjoy the hotel’s outdoor pool and terrace, as well as its location near many of Istanbul’s top attractions. The hotel has been awarded as the best luxury hotel in Istanbul. The indoor pool at Four Seasons Bosphorus is amazing, boasting a beautiful mosaic tile floor, elegant Corinthian columns on either side, and skylights that allow for an abundance of natural light.
The location of the Four Seasons Bosphorus is ideal, and it is conveniently located close to many of the city’s top tourist attractions. On the other hand, the location of the Four Seasons Hotel Sultanahmet, is one of the best, if not the best, locations for visitors in Istanbul for the first time, as it is situated in the heart of the old city, near many of the city’s major tourist attractions, historical sites and landmarks.
Four Seasons Sultanahmet
If you’re the type of person who prefers to reside in a more genuine neighborhood and admire the Bosphorus view from the vantage point of a hill rather than being near to it, then there’s another Four Seasons Hotel in Istanbul that may suit your preferences.
The Four Seasons Hotel Sultanahmet is located in a century-old neoclassical building in the heart of Istanbul’s Old City, Sultanahmet.
The hotel is just a short walk away from many of the city’s top historic landmarks. The building housing the Four Seasons Hotel Sultanahmet, Istanbul was originally a prison, known as Sultanahmet Jail.
For a breathtaking view of Istanbul’s iconic Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia, head to the rooftop of the Four Seasons Sultanahmet. Not only is the hotel a unique experience, with suites housed in a century-old neoclassical Turkish prison, but it also offers the perfect spot to unwind with a cocktail or a Turkish coffee while taking in the sights of the city.
Overall, Both of the Four Seasons in Istanbul provide exceptional locations, top-notch service, delicious dining options, and luxurious amenities. Both hotels offer a truly elite and unparalleled experience
Editors NoteIf it was my first time visiting Istanbul and finances were not a concern, I would probably choose the Four Seasons Sultanahmet to enhance my experience of the city.
1. Çırağan Palace Kempinski
The Çırağan Palace Kempinski is the ultimate Istanbul hotel experience. While there may be other hotels in this list that are more lavish or have better locations or rooftop bars, the Çırağan Palace Kempinski is considered the epitome of luxury among locals.
It is a hotel that is often used as a benchmark for the highest level of excellence and many locals dream of having their weddings here. Even though some locals may not be familiar with Four Seasons or Mandarin Oriental, they certainly know of the Çırağan Palace Kempinski.
Çırağan Palace Kempinski combines an opulent former sultan’s palace with contemporary architecture. The hotel boasts a beautifully landscaped outdoor area, complete with palm trees and gazebos, and features a stunning waterfront infinity pool as its centerpiece. The interiors, with a beige and blue color scheme, are adorned with 19th-century furnishings, custom-made wool carpets, and grand columns, making this hotel a luxurious and unique experience.
History of the Ciragan Palace
The hotel is 19th-century Ottoman palace, which was originally built for the Ottoman Empire’s last sultan, Abdulhamid II. The palace got restored and converted into a hotel, with interiors that blend traditional Ottoman architectural elements with modern amenities.
All Rooms and Suites are decorated in a classic Ottoman style and offer views of the Bosphorus or the hotel’s lush gardens. The hotel’s facilities include several dining options, a spa and wellness center, an indoor and outdoor swimming pool, and a fitness center. The hotel also offers a variety of activities for guests, such as boat trips on the Bosphorus and Turkish baths.
Since its opening, Çırağan Palace Kempinski Istanbul has been a destination for royalty, world leaders, and celebrities. It has welcomed guests such as King Juan Carlos II of Spain, Prince Albert of Monaco, President Bill Clinton, and artists, designers, and business leaders like Sophia Loren, Sting, Oprah Winfrey, U2, Madonna, Zaha Hadid, Roberto Cavalli, Christian Louboutin, and many others.
The hotel has also been the site of numerous international government summits, meetings, weddings, and other events. While other hotels in Istanbul may attempt to replicate the grandeur of the sultans, there is no comparison to experiencing it in the actual palace walls of Çırağan Palace Kempinski Istanbul.
The Sultan Suite – Most Expensive Hotel Room in Istanbul
The Çırağan Palace Kempinski has received numerous awards, including the “World’s Leading Heritage Hotel” award from the World Travel Awards for eight consecutive years from 2015 to 2022. It is also the Home of the Most Expensive Hotel Room in Istanbul, which is the Sultan Suite in Çırağan Palace Kempinski, with a price tag of 45.000 € per Night.
Çırağan Palace Kempinski consists of two buildings: the historic palace, and a newer building. Rooms in the newer building are generally less expensive than those in the palace. To ensure you book a room in the palace building, make sure to check the building name when making your reservation.
Bonus: Pera Palace
The Pera Palace Hotel, which was opened in the heart of Istanbul’s Pera neighborhood in the late 19th century, is a living history itself. Pera (now Beyoğlu) is a neighborhood in the European side of Istanbul.
It was a major commercial and cultural center during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The area was home to many foreign consulates, businesses, and hotels. It was also a popular destination for European travelers visiting the city.
History of Pera Palace
The Pera Palace Hotel is a historic hotel located in the Beyoğlu neighborhood of Istanbul. It was built in 1892 by a Greek businessman and was originally intended to accommodate passengers arriving in Istanbul on the Orient Express. The hotel has played host to many notable guests over the years. Including Ernest Hemingway, Agatha Christie, and Atatürk, the founder of modern Turkey.
Agatha Christie, the famous British crime novelist, stayed at the Pera Palace Hotel in Istanbul several times throughout her life. She is said to have been particularly fond of the hotel and its Art Nouveau architecture. Her most famous novel “Murder on the Orient Express” was inspired by her experience traveling on the famous train that ran from Paris to Istanbul and stopped in Pera.
The novel was published in 1934, and it is one of her most famous works. In the novel, the fictional detective Hercule Poirot is called to investigate a murder that occurs on the train. The story unfolds with a stopover in Istanbul. It is believed that while staying at the Pera Palace Hotel, she used the hotel as a setting for the book, and also used the hotel’s name “Pera Palace Hotel” in her novel.
Today, the hotel has a special suite named after Agatha Christie, and it’s decorated with elements from the novel.
Kubbeli Tea Lounge
If you’re going to visit just one part of the Pera Palace Hotel, make sure it’s the Kubbeli Tea Lounge. It is considered the centerpiece of the hotel. This grand space, which was originally a ballroom, has been transformed into a Moorish-style tea salon and lounge area.
The hotel is noted for its Art Nouveau architecture and its elegant, luxurious design. It has undergone extensive renovations and restorations over the years to maintain its historic character while also providing modern amenities.
Today, the hotel offers guests a variety of room types, including suites and rooms with views of the Bosphorus. Also a range of on-site dining options and a spa. It’s considered as one of the most luxurious and historical hotels in Istanbul.
Istanbul’s best luxury hotels promise an unforgettable stay, combining modern comfort with rich history and culture.
From breathtaking views of the Bosphorus to exquisite dining options, these hotels offer the pinnacle of luxury. Whether you’re traveling for business or leisure, these accommodations will ensure that your stay in Istanbul is nothing short of magical.
Istanbul is a year-round destination, but spring and fall offer milder weather and fewer crowds.
Many of these hotels offer family-friendly amenities, but it’s advisable to check with the hotel directly.
Istanbul has an extensive public transport system, but most luxury hotels also offer transportation services.
Don’t miss experiencing a traditional Turkish bath (hamam) and savoring the local cuisine.
Yes, most of these luxury hotels are conveniently located near major historical sites and attractions.
Yes, you can easily book these hotels online through their official websites or popular travel platforms. If you make a booking using the link I’ve included in this article, I will receive a modest commission. Your support would be greatly appreciated.