/Where to Stay in Istanbul

Where to Stay in Istanbul

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.

2016-01-09T13:33:02+00:00 February 8th, 2010|Categories: Accommodations, Culture, Istanbul|9 Comments


  1. shayma February 9, 2010 at 5:15 am - Reply

    oh lovely, Katie! Thank you so much. I shall definitely be printing out lots of pages from your blog re Istanbul and places to eat. I was there 6 years ago and things have changed since then. besides, we seem to have the same taste when it comes to food and the types of places we like. wonderful and comprehensive write-up.

  2. Mamma Parla February 9, 2010 at 3:39 pm - Reply

    After reading this post I will be dreaming of my next visit to this amazing cultural mecca!

  3. eru February 11, 2010 at 5:04 pm - Reply

    La Maison (A small boutique hotel) would be a good place to stay as well. It’s in Ortakoy, just across (on the other side of the road) the Ciragan Palace Kempinski.If you can afford Ciragan then you can stay there of course. Just to give an idea the Sultan Room in Ciragan is rated 21600 euros per night. Cheapest is around 400 euros. Back to La Maison, La Maison has a wonderful Bosphorus view but to see the view you need to go all the way up to terrace. It’s walking distance to besiktas and that’s a good place to walk as well. Only problem would be the traffic in summer. To avoid that you can walk from Besiktas to Ortakoy.

  4. Tackling Istanbul, Revised December 19, 2010 at 8:44 am - Reply

    […] Where to Stay: Ditch the Sultanahmet district and head for Beyoğlu, a more liberal and lively part of town packed with restaurants and well connected to the rest of the city. I recommend these accommodations: House Apart, Hotel Marmara Pera, Grand Hotel de Londres, Tomtom Suites, and Lush. More in this post. […]

  5. Krekor Greggy July 21, 2011 at 5:53 pm - Reply

    Just a note, we would recommend staying in Sultanahmet Old City.

    Taksim area is very cosmopolit and crowded. You will feel the real ancient times when you stay in Sultanahmet area in nice boutique hotels.

    We definitely recommend Esans Hotel in Old City Istanbul. http://www.esanshotel.com

    It is also very highly recommended to visit Chora Church in Istanbul old city.

    • Katie July 24, 2011 at 9:48 pm - Reply

      Chora Church (aka Kariye Camii) is one of the most beautiful places on the planet

  6. katherine December 2, 2012 at 4:11 am - Reply

    Do you know of the Amira hotel in Sultanahmet? Love to hear what you know about it….

    • Katie December 3, 2012 at 11:01 am - Reply

      I don’t know that hotel and I never recommend visitors stay in Sultanahmet, as it is so dead at night and the area is so touristy.

  7. Reydan May 23, 2013 at 6:44 pm - Reply

    Dear Katie,

    I couldn’t agree you more.

    Sultanahmet and Taksim area is always crowded.

    I would highly recommend Retaj Royale Istanbul Hotel.

    Located in Airport Area and if you would like to visit Taksim they have free shuttle service.

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