Where to stay in Istanbul

One of Istanbul's most opulent waterside residences, versus a delightful 'budget' hotel overlooking the Blue Mosque.

Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at the Bosphorus

This hotel started life in 1856 as an Ottoman palace the summer residence of Sultan Abdulmedjid. It is one of the most opulent waterside residences in Istanbul and, being situated in the heart of the Besiktas district, there are plenty of sightseeing and dining opportunities on your doorstep.

How they rate it

When booking a room ask to be in the main palace as these rooms have "head-on views of the water", says Aoife O'Riordain in The Independent. The rooms have "dreamy beds" and the decor is "tastefully restrained with a contemporary twist". Make time for a trip to the "extensive spa". It boasts "no fewer than three Turkish hammams that are a far more luxurious prospect" than the ones you'll find elsewhere in the city.

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The menu

For fine dining the hotel offers Aqua, specialising in Italian and Turkish cuisine, with dishes including orange almond crusted lamb saddle and sea-food risotto.

The cost

Double rooms cost from €324 room only. Find out more at Fourseasons.com/bosphorus, or call 00 90 212381 4000.

Hotel Ibrahim Pasha


Two turn-of-the-century Ottoman homes have been merged to create this delightful budget hotel. It is set on a side street, slap bang in the middle of Sultanahmet. That's also where you'll find all the must-see City attractions. The hotel's main selling point, though, is its roof terrace, which enjoys views across to the Blue Mosque.

How they rate it

"Why sightsee with the crowds when you can do it over the rim of a rose sitting on the roof terrace?" says Nick Redman in the Sunday Times Travel magazine.

The hotel itself "has none of the tawdriness you'd expect for the price and location". There are aged flagstone floors, a reception desk resting on a Corinthian capital, and an open wood fire. The standard rooms are "modern, spick and span" and Redman's favourite is room 301. But if you can take one of the slightly more expensive deluxe rooms, "they're calm retreats of honeyed-wood floors", some with "deep square bathtubs".

The menu

The hotel only serves breakfast, but it is happy to recommend nearby restaurants.

The cost

Double rooms start from €110, while a deluxe room costs from €140. For more information, visit Ibrahimpasha.com, or call 00 90 212 518 0394.

What the travel writers are saying

Sleep close to nature and the stars with a stay in a treetop retreat, says The Times. For a luxury option, check into Bermicourt in France. This large, round treehouse is perched in a large sycamore and comes with a bathroom, TV and minibar. It sleeps two and offers delicious gourmet food served from the nearby chateau. The set menu is a bargain at €29. That buys you ravioli of Radinghem snails with a cepes emulsion, followed by hare casserole then lemon cream with pistachio nougat. The treehouse costs £140 for two, room only (Lacourdermi.com).

Disappear into the trees with a stay in the mirror cube at Treehotel in Sweden. Just 60km south of the Arctic circle, the mirror cube is wrapped around a single pine tree. From certain angles it "seems not to exist at all", as it reflects the surrounding forest. The cube costs from £339 per night and sleeps two. You can book a stay through Blacktomato.co.uk.

Try reading James And The Giant Peach while staying in one of the "fruit-like spheres" on Vancouver Island in Canada. These wooden globes hang in the trees and sway gently in the wind. A stay costs from £85 a night see Freespiritspheres.com.

Wake up to views of the Zambezi just upstream from Victoria Falls at the treehouse lodge of Tongabezi in Zambia. A seven-night, full-board trip costs from £3,150pp, including flights, with Exsus.com.