The only city in the world that occupies two continents, Istanbul is a fusion of culture, heritage, and tradition. Stand on the western side of the Bosphorous River, and you’re in Europe. But cross the bridge and stand on the eastern side of the river, and you’ll find yourself in Asia. Plus, some of the coolest Istanbul hotels have views of both continents from their rooms!
Although Istanbul isn’t the capital of Turkey today (that’s Ankara), it was previously the Roman, Latin, and Ottoman capital. During the reign of the Ottoman Empire in the 13th century, Istanbul made quite a name for itself.
While toilets were incredibly rare, even for kings and emperors, Istanbul boasted more than 1,400 public toilets through its streets. Thankfully, the chaotic, lively city is known for more tasteful attractions today than its toilets!
The awe-inspiring metropolis attracts millions of visitors every year, each one keen to check out the iconic religious structures, dive into the delectable cuisine, and surround themselves with the unique atmosphere you can only find in Istanbul.
The city is home to a huge number of palatial lodges, boutique inns, and glamorous hotels. In fact, there are so many that you might have a hard time choosing just one. To help you out, we’ve put together a list of the 12 best boutique hotels in Istanbul!
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Where to Stay in Istanbul
Istanbul is one of the largest cities on earth, and it’s filled with diverse neighborhoods that boast their own unique charm and vibe. There are 39 districts in total, 25 of which are on the European side and 14 of which lie on the Asian side.
If this is your first time in the city, we recommend staying in Sultanahmet. This area was the beating heart of Istanbul back when it was known as Constantinople. It’s bursting with incredible attractions, such as the Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque, as well as many of the best hotels in Istanbul.
For families with kids, we suggest booking a hotel in Eminonu/Sirkeci. This lively neighborhood is where you’ll find countless stores and street sellers, as well as the Grand Bazaar and Spice Bazaar. It’s within walking distance of the city’s major landmarks but provides more cost-effective and varied accommodation than Sultanahmet.
Karakoy is a great choice if you’re looking for something a little cooler. This trendy neighborhood boasts the best nightlife in Istanbul, with the most lively clubs, lounges, and bars.
It’s brimming with stylish cafes, independent boutiques, and swanky restaurants. Plus it’s home to some of the coolest hotels in Istanbul!
For a more affordable alternative, consider Beyoglu. This dynamic area also has a great nightlife scene and fantastic restaurants, as well as a number of thought-provoking museums and more budget-friendly accommodation.
The 12 Best Boutique Hotels in Istanbul
1. Hotel Poem
Set in the middle of Sultanahmet, just steps away from iconic landmarks such as the Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, and Topkapi Palace, Hotel Poem is a one-of-a-kind hotel that pays tribute to Istanbul’s most famous visitors. Each of the 20 colorful rooms in this quirky hotel is named after a composer, writer, poet, or actor with a strong connection to the city.
Whichever category of accommodation you choose, you’ll be treated to a surprisingly spacious room with ultra-plush bedding and a pillow menu, tea and coffee making facilities, and soundproofed windows with fantastic views. As a cute added extra, each room contains a piece of art that commemorates the person it’s named after.
For complete luxury, book the penthouse. This room is absolutely huge and boasts tilted windows over the bed, a large private balcony with impressive sea views, and an indoor jetted hot tub.
As well as the unique guest rooms, Hotel Poem also features a breakfast room where you can dig into a decadent Turkish breakfast each morning and a peaceful garden where you can relax away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
2. Hotel Amira
One of the best boutique hotels in Istanbul if you need an escape from a stressful routine, Hotel Amira offers you a peaceful retreat in the center of one of the busiest cities in the world. The skilled masseurs invite you to let your cares melt away as they work their magic, while the spectacular rooftop bar will awaken your senses with views almost too dazzling to be true.
There’s a huge choice of rooms available, with the perfect option whether you’re traveling solo, with your partner, or with kids. The standard rooms are bright and graceful, with happy pops of color, Istanbul-inspired art, and modern bathrooms with hot tubs or rainwater showers. For families, there are spacious suites made up of connecting rooms, so you can relax together while still enjoying your privacy.
A generous breakfast buffet is served each morning with all the Turkish classics. Then in the afternoon, an elegant tea is available. Don’t fill up too much, or you’ll miss out on the chance to dine at the hotel’s superb Amiralto restaurant!
Guaranteed to make you feel like royalty, the White House Hotel Istanbul is one of the most decadently decorated hotels we’ve seen in the city. The hotel’s architecture is a wonderful blend of East and West, with its quintessential Roman façade merging into the Ottoman style of the interior.
The elegant rooms feature delicate peach and cream color palettes, enhanced with glamorous golden details and delicate carvings. Traditional French windows and period-inspired furniture contrast with sophisticated multi-jet showers and modern coffee machines.
Head to the rooftop garden for some of the most beautiful views you’ll see during your time in Istanbul. During the day, you can see the towers of the Hagia Sophia and the multicolored rooftops of local homes, while at night, the panorama comes alive with twinkling lights that stretch from the city streets across the Bosphorus.
The rooftop garden is where breakfast is served each morning. Although the hotel doesn’t provide lunch or dinner, there’s an almost never-ending choice of places to eat and drink on your doorstep.
If you’re looking for special places to stay in Istanbul with your partner, the Romance Istanbul Hotel is tough to beat.
This hotel boasts stunning guest rooms, each of which is designed according to a unique talismanic shirt with its own story. Replicas of the shirts (the genuine ones form part of the sultan’s clothing collection inside the Topkapi Palace) are all on display inside the hotel.
While all the rooms are gorgeous and boast Ottoman-style headboards, luxurious bedding, parquet floors, and handmade carpets, the Romance Suite is the best room for a couple in love. This intimate space features a king-size bed, a huge marble bathroom with a shower and hot tub, and a private veranda with spectacular city views.
The Romance Restaurant is the perfect place for a romantic dinner for two alongside classic cocktails. If you’d prefer dinner with a view, you’re invited to visit the sister hotel, Yasmak Sultan, where you can enjoy dinner with a view from the rooftop Olive Anatolian Restaurant.
Once a lavish mansion that perished in a devastating fire in 1983, the Bosphorus Palace Hotel was reconstructed as a mansion before being transformed in 1996 to the elegant hotel it is today. The Neo-Ottoman building used to be divided into two spaces, one exclusively for women and the other only for men. Today, the extravagant hotel invites all travelers to enjoy every inch of its facilities.
The 12 guest rooms that make up the hotel all enjoy their own unique decoration and designs. Wonderfully high ceilings, thick carpeting, and stunning marble bathrooms with luxurious amenities come as standard. Make sure you find your complimentary chocolates when you first check-in!
If you’re celebrating a special occasion, we recommend you splash out on the Palace Room. This opulent suite has a gorgeous Ottoman style and flaunts floor-to-ceiling windows with incredible sea views, as well as a giant bathroom with a hot tub and shower.
You’ve got to dine at the hotel’s restaurant at least once during your stay. It boasts a small number of tables on the outside terrace directly next to the river. It’s a fantastic place to start your day with a hot mug of Turkish coffee.
6. SuB Karaköy
An industrial-style hotel with a modern, edgy vibe, SuB Karaköy is one of the most unique hotels in Istanbul. With brushed gray walls, bold colors, rugged wooden decorations, and quirky retro features, this hotel is absolutely bursting with character.
The guest rooms are incredibly stylish with hardwood floors, bolted metal headboards, and modern mismatch lighting. To ensure you have the perfect night’s sleep, there’s luxurious 300 thread count bedding, duck down duvets, and a comprehensive pillow menu. And so you don’t miss any of your gadget-led life back home, there’s a flat-screen TV, iPod docking station, free Wi-Fi access, and laptop-sized safe.
Head for the bright and colorful SuB Lounge first thing in the morning for classic Turkish breakfast dishes. Before you pop out for the evening, stop by again to enjoy a glass of local wine or raki!
Set in the middle of Karakoy, the hotel is perfectly positioned if you want to explore locally-run businesses. Just steps away, you’ll find a massive selection of cafes, bars, restaurants, lounges, and clubs.
Ideally located in the center of Sultanahmet, within easy reach of highlights such as the Archaeological Museum, Hagia Sophia, and Basilica Cistern, the Neorion Hotel is the perfect place to base yourself if you plan on spending as much time as possible exploring.
The comfy guest rooms with plush bedding, a pillow menu, and air conditioning guarantee you’ll have a great night’s sleep, while the tea and coffee maker, powerful shower, and top-end bathroom amenities ensure you’ll wake up happy.
For a little bit of luxury, treat yourself to the Deluxe Room. This huge guest room features a stunning painting over the king-size bed, a separate lounge area with a flat-screen TV, and a cute balcony with wonderful city views.
At the end of a long day exploring, the Neorion Spa invites you to relax and unwind. Take advantage of the indoor swimming pool, hydro massage tub, and Turkish baths. If that’s not enough, take a look at the incredible massage and treatment menu for even more pampering!
8. Celine Hotel
Set inside a renovated 19th-century mansion, Celine Hotel is an excellent choice if you want to be in the center of all the action. With Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, and Grand Bazaar all just a short walk away, you couldn’t be in a better position. If you decide you want to explore further afield, there’s even a tram station just minutes away that will quickly whisk you to other parts of the city.
Celine Hotel is made up of 14 Ottoman-style rooms that blend old and new. Marble bathrooms with underfloor heating, ancient wood wardrobes with built-in lighting, super-fast Wi-Fi throughout, and customized bathrobe and slipper sets are just some of the things you can expect when you stay here.
A traditional Turkish breakfast is served each morning in the quaint inner courtyard. Before you head out for the day, stop by the cute coffee drinking courtyard and treat yourself to a strong Turkish coffee.
One of the most unique Istanbul hotels, the Georges Hotel Galata boasts an eclectic French-Ottoman design alongside a history that goes back more than 100 years. Named after its original owner, Ottoman Doctor de Castro, the hotel was built in 1882 and prides itself on its exemplary service that you just don’t get from most modern hotels.
Its remarkable service is one of the reasons it has received awards and appeared on prestigious lists. The personalized butler service, excellent concierge, and superb waitstaff do everything, so you don’t have to lift a single finger if you don’t want to!
The guest rooms at the Georges Hotel Galata are nothing short of sublime. Boasting cool white walls, exposed brickwork, parquet floors, king-size beds with Egyptian cotton linen, and marble bathrooms with fluffy Turkish towels and opulent toiletries, they are some of the most stylish rooms we’ve ever seen. As an added bonus, all rooms feature outdoor spaces with luxurious mahogany table and chair sets.
If you want to be close to all of Istanbul’s major attractions while still being able to enjoy some peace and tranquility, choose the Antusa Design Hotel & Spa. Just minutes away from all the biggest and best sights, this modern boutique hotel inspires calmness and serenity throughout.
When exploring has left you worn out, head for the hotel’s luxurious spa. Here you can pamper yourself with a traditional Turkish bath experience that will leave you feeling like a whole new person. If that’s not quite your thing, there’s also a sauna, steam room, salt room, and massage rooms to get you back on your feet.
Head upstairs to the Zeugma Terrace Restaurant for incredible views accompanied by classic Turkish dishes. Here you can treat your taste buds to iconic plates such as pide (Turkish pizza), kebap (seasoned skewered meat), and manti (small filled dumplings) while admiring panoramic vistas of the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia.
11. AJWA Sultanahmet
For a true one-of-a-kind experience, make a reservation at the AJWA Sultanahmet. One of the best Istanbul hotels, this five-star complex offers all the grace and glamor of a private mansion, alongside the incredible levels of service and quality facilities you’d expect from such a high-caliber hotel.
From antique furniture covered in delicate mother-of-pearl and thick carpets made from Tabriz silk to remarkably detailed hand-painted ceilings and unique tiles made exclusively for the hotel, every inch of the AJWA Sultanahmet is decadent!
Guest rooms were cleverly designed to encourage your mind and body to relax. Designer wallpaper, French beds, solid walnut furniture, and handwoven silk carpets come as standard in each elegant room. Underfloor heating, 4K ultra-HDTVs, automatic curtains, and free high-speed Wi-Fi satisfy all your modern tech needs.
Add into the mix a gourmet fine dining restaurant with gorgeous city views, an indulgent spa, and a central location close to all major landmarks, and you’ll find the AJWA Sultanahmet is tough to beat.
12. W Istanbul
One of the most unique hotels in Istanbul, W Istanbul stands out from the crowd by providing travelers with a contemporary space to lay their heads in the middle of a bustling, age-old city. Hidden away inside the historic Akaretler Row Houses, the hotel’s façade looks like any other building in Istanbul. But step through the front doors, and you’ll find yourself inside an ultra-modern hotel you’ll instantly fall in love with.
Guest rooms feature trendy mood lighting, sleek furniture, and sumptuous velvet seating, creating an unparalleled vibe that’s simultaneously elegant and playful. Each suite features an individual design with smile-inspiring pops of color, Bose sound systems, flat-screen TVs, and high-speed internet access.
If you’re celebrating a special occasion, we definitely recommend you book the Extreme WOW Suite. Guaranteed to take your breath away, this incredible room is on the top floor and flaunts a circular bed in the center of the room, a private terrace with sunset views, a DJ booth, a dining room with a bar, and a spa-like bathroom with a hammam and steam bath. There’s even a lift that takes you directly to your room!
That completes our list of the 12 best boutique Istanbul hotels! Did we miss any cool boutique hotels in Istanbul? Comment below so we can add them to the list!
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