Beyazit Camii (Beyazit I's Mosque)

At least once a week someone planning a trip to Istanbul asks me where to stay. While hotels in the Sultanahmet district and the five-star options along the Bosphorus are the best known accommodations, I always suggest that visitors stay in Beyoğlu, a set of neighborhoods spread over the hills between the Golden Horn and the Bosphorus instead. Beyoğlu’s neighborhoods like Cihangir, Tünel, Pera, and Asmalımescit are packed with restaurants, bars, shops and clubs. This is the city’s most vibrant destination for nightlife and socializing and is a far more exciting place to stay than Sultanahmet (which tends to be quite desolate at night) or along Bosphorus (where hotels are flanked by a the traffic-strangled road). Here are a few accommodations in Beyoğlu that I recommend:

The House Apart: Apartment rentals in Cihangir and Tünel mod cons and IKEA furnishings.

Marmara Pera: A 4-star hotel in Pera geared towards business travelers and discerning tourists. Some rooms have Bosphorus views and Mikla, the rooftop restaurant, is worth a visit whether you are staying at the Marmara or not.

Grand Hotel de Londres: In Pera near the Marmara with a range of rooms that vary wildly in price depending on the presence or absence of windows. The price and location make the windowless rooms a worthy sacrifice for budget travelers.

Tomtom Suites: 20 suites and a panoramic roof terrace near the Italian consulate in Tophane.

Lush: A boutique hotel just off Taksim with 35 individually designed rooms, some with their own Turkish bath.

Any of these places will put you in striking distance of Istiklal Caddesi, the main shopping avenue, the funicular that heads down to the Golden Horn and Galata Bridge from Tünel, and great restaurants like Mikla, Refik, Canım Ciğerim , Antiochia, and Pera Sisore. For more on food and sightseeing in Istanbul, delve into the ParlaFood Istanbul archives.