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Great escapes

Istanbul's crop of luxury hotels is renowned far beyond the city limits. Hayley Ard steps into the most exclusive hotels in the Ottoman capital

City Guide
Hayley Ard,

Istanbul is fast becoming Europe's first-choice destination for culture and luxury fashion. Grand Bazaar remains one of the most sought-after markets in Turkey, while the smaller boutiques of Nişantaşı repeatedly draw a crowd of style-conscious locals and celebrities. Good foundations are essential to holiday bliss, so we name the retreats trusted by the SHOP team for business and pleasure. It's the thoughtful service and lavish touches that elevate our picks above most other city hotels. Book well in advance to ensure that your trip runs smoothly.

The Ritz-Carlton
Few hotels engender the affection and loyalty that the Ritz-Carlton does. Well-loved for its impeccable service, the Ritz-Carlton celebrates Turkey's rich cultural heritage at every stage in its design. Guest rooms marry Ottoman-inspired décor with modern conveniences, such as 300-thread-count linen. Tipped to offer one of the most relaxing steam baths in the country, the Laveda Spa will surely add more names to the Ritz-Carlton's list of devotees. Treat post-flight skin to a boost of hydration with one of the spa's signature treatments: the indulgent six-hand massage is the quickest route to a golden glow.

The Ritz-Carlton, Süzer Plaza, Elmadağ, Asker Ocağı Caddesi No: 15, 34367, Şişli, +90 212 334 4444

Ceylan InterContinental
A firm favourite with celebrities and visiting heads of state, the Ceylan InterContinental offers guests round-the-clock attention from arrival to check-out. The Dolmabahçe Palace, worth a visit for its horseshoe-shaped Crystal Staircase, is a short walk away. Opulent flourishes, such as sleek woodwork and Versace china, make a stay at this hotel the ultimate uptown experience. The palm-lined atrium is the perfect place to while away an afternoon. After a strenuous day of sightseeing, dip into a box of lovingly-wrapped chocolates from the Amandine Patisserie.

Ceylan InterContinental, Asker Ocağı Caddesi No:1, 34435, Taksim, +90 212 368 4444

The Sofa Hotel
The Sofa Hotel ticks the box for understated luxury, providing attentive service and avant-garde trimmings as standard. Set within Nişantaşı, Istanbul's most fashion-forward shopping area, the Sofa is within easy reach of the city's top boutiques. Each room reflects architect Sinan Kafadar's unique aesthetic, fusing modern art with elegant design details. Fans of rare books will enjoy the Patika Bookstore, which stocks a wide range of titles from across the globe. Combat the effects of jet lag with a soothing rain shower and a bouquet of fresh blooms delivered from the helpful concierge.

The Sofa Hotel, Teşvikiye Caddesi No:41-41A, 34367, Nişantaşı, +90 212 368 1818

Hilton Istanbul
A visit to the Hilton Istanbul offers the perfect opportunity to de-stress and unwind as the holiday season begins. Upon arrival, take afternoon tea at the Lobby Lounge and Bar: a pianist makes a sophisticated addition to the high tea ritual. With spectacular views of the Bosphorus, the Hilton is well-placed to preview the city sights. Secure VIP treatment by upgrading to the King Presidential Suite: guests of this deluxe hideaway can look forward to floor-to-ceiling windows and access to the Executive Lounge. The upscale outdoor swimming pool is our latest obsession.

Hilton Istanbul, Cumhuriyet Caddesi, 34367, Harbiye, +90 212 315 6000

Conrad Istanbul
Nestled next to the Yıldız Palace, the Conrad Istanbul occupies a prime location beside the city's popular business district. Spacious rooms, finished in a muted colour palette, are spread across 14 floors. The pillow menu is bound to be a sure-fire hit with tired travellers. Part of the Conrad's appeal lies in its wonderfully creative restaurants. Take in the Istanbul skyline from the Summit Terrace. The cocktails served at this stylish bar are reliably delicious: we recommend a Brandy Alexander after sunset.

Conrad Istanbul, Barbaros Blv., Yıldız Caddesi, 34353, Beşiktaş, +90 212 227 3000

Hilton ParkSA
Best known for its convenient location and polished design, the Hilton ParkSA makes a great choice for first-time visitors and seasoned tourists alike. Wander up to the seventh floor and sample the traditional Turkish dishes on offer at the Artz Restaurant, or take a picnic lunch to nearby Maçka Park. It can be hard to stay connected abroad, but, with high-speed Internet access available in every room, the Hilton ParkSA is a haven for technology lovers. Visit the state-of-the-art Business Centre to take advantage of the hotel's extensive professional services.

Hilton ParkSA, Bayildim Caddesi No:12, 34357, Maçka, +90 212 310 1200



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