Istanbul has it all: stagger-fab mosques and ancient churches, sprawling palaces, island-hopping and retail galore plus, an embarrassment of zig-a-zig-ahhh inducing hammams and spas. Tuck the city’s best eats n’ treats neatly into your pocket with our Baklava-sized guide to mouthwatering must-sees and read on for the Top 5 Istanbul picks as chosen by fans of LUXE.
Well aren’t you a glam bunch! In at number five is the impressive Mehmet Gürs product-driven modern Turkish eatery Mikla, with a rooftop deck and bar to die for thanks to unbeatable Golden Horn aspects that’ll have you swooning. Hands down the best panorama in town and what’s more, one of the only places serving a decent martini. We’ll drink to that.
Marmara Pera Hotel, Meşrutiyet Cd. 15, Beyoğlu, miklarestaurant.com
4. Çirağan Palace Kempinski
Landing at number four is the extravagant and capacious, if somewhat OTT palace within a palace boasting the best pool in town, smart spa and hammam plus killer Bosphorus views. Add in terrific service and eating options aplenty, including the socialite’s favourite brunch at Laledan.
Çirağan Cd. 32, Beşiktaş, kempinski.com/en/istanbul/ciragan-palace
3. Kiliç Ali Paşa Hamami
No trip to Istanbul is complete without a hammam experience, and this painstakingly restored, raw-stone spa is a masterpiece; its traditional therapies make for a revitalising pitstop after an afternoon of shopping in Karaköy. Start with a refreshing serve of sherbet in the calming entrance then it’s time for suds and rubs in the marble-ous wetrooms.
Kemankeş Mh. Hamam Sk.1, Karaköy, kilicalipasahamami.com
2. 10 Karaköy
This old dame more than holds her own in Istanbul’s hip young hood with mod Med diner Rudolf and neon-lit roof-topper ON10. Spacious rooms meld classical styling with contemporary art but you’ll have to nab a loft suite or the penthouse if you want any private alfresco action. Kemeraltı Cd. 10, Karaköy, morganshotelgroup.com
1. Georges Hotel Galata
Handsome boutique stay Hotel Georges knocks the big brands off the top spot with 20 spruce, understated pads, most with Bosphorus and Golden Horn vistas, and island style Turkish Aegean fare at Galatada24. Stroll the cobbled streets for some of the best boutiques in the city, starting with concept store Lunapark opposite. Serdar-i Ekrem Cd. 24, Galata, georges.com
Still thinking about that Baklava? Feast on our edit of Istanbul secrets…