Ranking as the world’s fifth-largest city, Istanbul serves as Turkey’s modern cultural and economic hub. However, every step through the city brings to light a relic of times gone by, owing to its tumultuous past at the heart of Ottoman history.
Known for its location at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, straddling the Bosphorus strait, Istanbul is a true melting pot of cultures, a fusion of east and west, and has soaked up the best of both worlds.
Beautiful landmarks, vibrant nightlife, scrumptious artisan cuisine, and epic markets characterise this monumental city. Istanbul’s hotels radiate its tremendous character and range from gorgeous boutiques to enormous buildings of architectural excellence. Here are the best cool and unusual hotels in Istanbul, Turkey (in no particular order)…
1. The Elysium Taksim – a sleek, sexy and unique design hotel that features Turkish Baths and stunning city views
Luxury and comfort come together in a beautiful paradise at the The Elysium Taksim, a stunning boutique located close to Istanbul’s historical monuments in the heart of Takism, offering easy access to the life and soul of the city.
The hotel’s restaurant Fanus offers the opportunity to experience the most delicious tastes of Turkish & World cuisine, in a lavish setting. The Elysium Spa features a wide range of professional therapies and moments of pure detox in its massage rooms, 2 Turkish baths, sauna, steam room, and indoor pool.
The bedrooms are minimalist by nature and offer a striking blend of quirky décor and high-end amenities.
- To book, check prices or availability for The Elysium Taksim
2. Hotel The Public – Special Category – one of the coolest and Instagrammable hotels to stay in Istanbul perfect for design-loving Millennials and Gen Zs
Unforgettable moments are an ever-present reality at Hotel The Public – Special Category. The 52 high-ceiling rooms merge high-tech amenities with historical texture, and are perfect for the intellectually curious traveller.
The hotel has its own innovative culinary culture, offering bold tastes from modern global dishes in its own, exclusive style. The inner garden has been specially designed for guests who want to relax away from the hustle and bustle of a city, and fuses a magnificent hotel scent with live plants, accompanied by the beautiful skies of Istanbul.
100% natural cosmetic products, as well as amenities made from recyclable packaging and electricity-saving, LED light combinations, are some of the policies the hotel adopts, to echo an ethos of sustainability.
- To book, check prices or availability for Hotel The Public – Special Category
3. Hagia Sofia Mansions Istanbul, Curio Collection by Hilton – a stunning, exotic and very unique boutique where old-world Istanbul meets contemporary
An oasis of tranquillity at the heart of Turkey’s most beguiling city, the Hagia Sofia Mansions Istanbul, Curio Collection by Hilton are nestled amongst the Ottoman architecture, ancient streets, and hallowed monuments of the Sultanahmet Quarter.
This row of former mansion houses has been transformed into a stylish vacation haven, reminiscent of the rich and colourful history of Istanbul.
Awash with geometric patterns, vibrant colours, and hand-carved furniture, this prestigious location is honoured, and the sumptuous fabrics and ornate chandeliers offer a very unique, Middle-Eastern charm.
Each of the rooms showcases locally made textiles, traditional marble bathrooms with a mini-Hamman, and hand-carved beds, whilst the main restaurant with its vaulted ceiling opens out onto tranquil gardens.
- To book, check prices or availability for Hagia Sofia Mansions Istanbul, Curio Collection by Hilton
4. Room Mate Emir – a cool, hip and trendy boutique hotel located in Istanbul’s lively Beyoğlu district
Designed to give guests everything they need, this trendy city-centre boutique hotel is located in a neighbourhood with an authentic, local feel, while still catering to visitors with a wide array of shops, restaurants, and bars.
Room Mate Emir was renewed in 2014 whilst maintaining its original façade, the works of successful interior designer Lázaro Rosa have created an aesthetic atmosphere radiating a sense of timeless luxury.
The hotel’s 47 designer rooms feature quality, unique décor, alongside a minibar and a desk, amongst other high-end amenities. The chic colour scheme around the hotel varies from a pale soft-wood tone to a glamorous pink, arousing a sense of exclusive wonder.
- To book, check prices or availability for Room Mate Emir
5. Glens Palas Istanbul – a gorgeous and creative lifestyle boutique hotel with quirky-chic decor in the hip district of Nisantasi
A marble-adorned lobby and original chandeliers create a lavish feel upon entrance, which is reciprocated by the stunning city and waterfront views from the hotel’s restaurant.
Glens Palas Istanbul boasts a variety of room styles, however all are sprinkled with a sense of luxury. The comfortable features and complimentary Wi-Fi in rooms can be enjoyed whilst you watch out over the daily life of Nişantaşı streets, a hip district of Istanbul, with top-of-the-range coffee in hand.
The hotel’s restaurant treats plates like works of art, finessing the unique flavours from the sea. The hotel is within walking distance to luxury shopping malls.
- To book, check prices or availability for Glens Palas Istanbul
6. Tulip City Hotel – a fun, quirky-chic and funky hotel perfect for partying Millenials and Gen Zs looking for a unique stay
This designer hotel boasts artistic hues and eccentric, baroque furnishings bound by a spectacular, multicoloured lighting system. The unconventionality of this hotel is matched in its guestrooms by a monochromatic, creative flair.
All rooms at the Tulip City Hotel are equipped with a minibar and a flat-screen TV with satellite channels. In the morning, a buffet breakfast is served, and for lunch and dinner, the Hardal Restaurant serves international cuisine such as pasta, fajitas, and hamburgers.
By night, guests are invited to the eclectic hotel bar, which serves a beautifully curated selection of cocktails. The Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque lie within a 5-minute tram ride from this conveniently situated, candescent hotel.
- To book, check prices or availability for Tulip City Hotel
7. Opera Hotel Bosphorus – a chic, trendy and creative hotel where guests can appreciate stunning sea views and a unique design
Put into service in 2011, Opera Hotel Bosphorus boasts a stunning Skyview Lounge Bar & Restaurant terrace, perfect for unforgettable birthdays, boutique wedding ceremonies, and lavish cocktail evenings.
The bar’s theme changes day by day – On Saturdays, the Jazz Nights are a growing phenomenon across the city’s local residents, and the Sunday brunches are just as delectable as they are classy.
The principles of comfort and elegance run through the property, and the guestrooms boast marvellous views of the world-famous Bosphorus Straight through floor-to-ceiling windows. A gradient blend of ritzy wall colours features in the rooms and bathrooms, whilst smooth wooden furnishings present a beaming glow of splendour, inviting guests to a lavish hospitality experience.
- To book, check prices or availability for Opera Hotel Bosphorus
8. Soho House Istanbul – a beautiful sophisticated neoclassical upscale hotel perfect for the ultimate relaxation
The Soho brand has evolved from a drinking scene to a forerunner of the most humming international hubs. When Soho House Istanbul opened its doors in 2015, the city became a head-turning creative force.
Housed in the former home of a Genoese merchant in an ornate 19th-century palazzo of marble and frescoes, this hotel screams grandeur in every direction.
The bedrooms occupy a glass annex arched out in the brand’s instantly identifiable style with a Turkish twist. Guests can enjoy Soho’s signature access to the members’ clubhouse, where DJs perform in an ambient setting.
The juxtaposition of old and new, of east and west, is emanated beautifully through this architectural masterpiece.
- To book, check prices or availability for Soho House Istanbul
9. Han 1772 Hotel – a cool, unique and very Instgrammable boutique hotel to stay in beautiful Istanbul
A caring, personalized service is integrated with minimalist decoration and a strong nod to Istanbul’s fascinating history at the Han 1772 Hotel.
The Han 1772 Hotel is adorned with intimate stone walls oozing a true sense of Middle-Eastern comfort, and divine plants to add a very fitting spot of nature.
Above the inner courtyard, symmetrical pillars lead up to the open-top roof, allowing the Turkish sun to fill the hotel with radiant sunshine.
The bedrooms are a piece of art in themselves, with gorgeously-crafted rugs placed beautifully by the modern light beams under the bed. An old-world sophistication is fused with chic embellishments to form a truly one-of-a-kind experience.
- To book, check prices or availability for Han 1772 Hotel
10. W Istanbul – a fun, hip and very Instagrammable modern hotel that blends contemporary decor, partying and the soul of the city
Upon entrance to this quirky hotel, the billowing curtains, oversized Turkish fez and other adornments are found glittering atop a minaret, creating an authentically exclusive hospitality experience.
The bedrooms at W Istanbul showcase sleek modern furniture, plush velvet seating, and a vibrant mood lighting system to set a playful yet sophisticated tone.
The fashion-forward design elements and chic colour schemes perfectly coalesce with the signature crisp cotton linens and ruby-red satin duvets.
Bliss spa amenities and rainforest showers offer the perfect morning wake-up, whilst light night cravings can be cured at the W MixBar, which offers tasty snacks and beverages. The hotel boasts Turkish touches through ottomans and marble Hamman-style washbasins.
- To book, check prices or availability for W Istanbul
11. Stayso The House – a trendy and contemporary hotel that offers great facilities and stunning city views
The dynamic interior space at ‘Stayso The House’ combines with a breathtaking view of the Golden Horn. The unity of elegance, design, and comfort spreads into the 45 luxuriously appointed guestrooms.
With minimalist details, and aesthetic touches of soft colour tones, the rooms were designed to make guests feel special. A top quality, superior service compliments this brilliantly.
The beautifully appointed co-working and meeting spaces, and the state-of-the-art fitness suite, attract both the business traveller who does not want to compromise on routine and the leisure traveller in search of a touch of class. An industrial feel permeates the property’s charming vibe.
- To book, check prices or availability for Stayso The House
12. Walton Hotels & Spa Nisantasi – an upmarket spa hotel with stylish and chic decor and wonderful city views
Walton Hotels & Spa Nisantasi is decorated in warm colours, stunning artwork and quirky furniture to blend an old-world Middle-Eastern sophistication with the opulence of a futuristic gem.
Before even entering the luscious marble-floored lobby, the dazzling array of multi-coloured umbrellas outside are alluring to say the least, and the vivid arrangement of plants add a somewhat tropical feel.
The hotel’s graceful restaurant serves up Turkish cuisine, whilst the spa centre features a serene experience amidst a Turkish Bath and Finnish sauna. The hotel provides easy access to all of the trendy boutiques that constitute this global metropolis, and the Osmanbey Metro Station is only 300 metres away.
- To book, check prices or availability for Walton Hotels & Spa Nisantasi
13. Çırağan Palace Kempinski Istanbul – one of the most Instagrammable upscale hotels in Istanbul housed in a striking 17th-century Imperial Palace
Housed in a 17th-century Imperial Palace, Çırağan Palaca Kempinski is Turkey’s proud first member of the exclusive Leading Hotels of the World.
The hotel boasts a magnificent selection of restaurants and bars adorned with Waterview terraces, an outdoor infinity pool, and a spa. The spacious green gardens wreathed by lush palm trees provide a true Ottoman palace feel, and the outstanding Turkish hospitality brings together the best of Europe and Asia.
The hotel is ideally situated in the city centre, close to the cultural sights of Besiktas, on the banks of the Bosphorus. The Çırağan Palace Kempinski is the perfect spot for a grand introduction to this behemoth of a city.
- To book, check prices or availability for Çırağan Palace Kempinski Istanbul
14. The Elysium Styles Taksim – a colourful, funky and fun party hotel to stay in Istanbul which has an upbeat, youthful vibe
Steeped in whimsical charm, The Elysium Styles Taksim is a modern example of the artsy endeavours flooding into Istanbul, and its dazzling light-colour system elevates your mood immediately upon entrance.
The guestrooms beautifully contrast the choice of quirky patterns in the corridors, with a blissful all-white periphery decorated lightly by soft touches of colour.
These amenity-laden rooms all boast flat-screen TVs with satellite channels, and offer refined comfort in luxurious bedding. A delicious continental breakfast is served each morning in the restaurant, and the commodious chill-out areas which dot the hotel emanate great character.
The Suleymaniye Mosque and Ortakoy are situated within 2 miles, owing to the hotel’s supreme location.
- To book, check prices or availability for The Elysium Styles Taksim
15. The Galata Istanbul Hotel MGallery – a sleek and classy boutique hotel that boasts a historical Turkish Hammam dating from 1720
Embodying luxury and originality, the distinctive character which symbolizes this boutique hotel is displayed not only in its 200-year-old architecture, but in its stunning views over two colossal landmarks: The Galata Tower, and the Golden Horn.
The Galata Istanbul Hotel MGallery is a perfect spot for the traveller who prefers to rest in an elegant atmosphere girdled by traditional glimpses of the surrounding historical area, each room is embellished with old-world motifs in modernized forms.
The executive suites open out to the terrace, making for a truly remarkable hospitality experience. This stunning hotel puts all of Istanbul’s attractions at your fingertips, contributing to a relaxing, comfortable vacation.
- To book, check prices or availability for The Galata Istanbul Hotel MGallery
16. Boutique Saint Sophia – a stylish upscale boutique hotel set in an exceptional location surrounded by cultural and historic sites
An eclectic mix of opulence and old-world charm is evident in this gorgeous boutique hotel. The 26 rooms of Boutique Saint Sophia consist of 12 superior rooms, 10 deluxe rooms, and 4 grand deluxe rooms.
All feature wall-sized paintings which resemble the beauty of Istanbul’s remarkable history. In-room amenities include L’vert Bvlgari toiletries, luxury bed linens, a working desk, a rain shower, and a free minibar.
Mornings here are a graceful ritual of continental traditions, featuring a wide range of cheeses, homemade jams and marmalades, and different choices of bakery and pancakes to set you up for a memorable day of exploration.
- To book, check prices or availability for Boutique Saint Sophia
17. LUXIR HOTEL – a cute and creative boutique hotel located close to Galata Tower
LUXIR HOTEL is an intimate, quaint haven located a short walk from Cihangir Square and Takism Square. Its 24-hour front desk assistance offers a personalized service, which radiates the artsy charm of istiklal street.
The lobby is decorated elegantly with smooth wood and glamorous lighting.
A beautiful outdoor terrace offers sweeping views over Istanbul and allows guests to take in the beautiful sunshine.
A buffet breakfast is available each morning in the restaurant, however, for those who enjoy exploring local food, Middle Eastern and Turkish snacks can be found in abundance within a 5-minute walk.
A 3km stroll would take you to Istanbul’s city centre, or to the Hagia Sophia Museum.
- To book, check prices or availability for LUXIR HOTEL
18. Avantgarde Hotel Sisli – a trendy and chic hotel located in the heart of the city
One of Istanbul’s forerunners in accessible luxury, the Avantgarde Collection welcomes guests to an urban, art-lovers paradise at Sisli.
The Avantgarde Hotel Sisli is famed for its refined, multicultural textures paying homage to past and present through extensive amalgamations of bespoke furnishings amidst industrial décor.
The Hotel Office, a concept spreading throughout the world, invites the discerning traveller to relax in this lavish paradise without compromising on any of the components of a work-life balance.
With 103 rooms in total, taking understated yet colourful inspiration from the surrounding neighbourhood, guests can rest in pure finery, with the comforts of a great sound system, a wall-mounted TV, and exceptional bathroom amenities.
- To book, check prices or availability for Avantgarde Hotel Sisli
19. Gezi Hotel Bosphorus, Istanbul, a Member of Design Hotels – a high-end design hotel with eclectic decor located in Istanbul downtown
Peering out over the Bosphorus, the 17-story zinc and titanium façade fully embraces the city with a modern spin on the architectural styles of the 40s and 50s.
The Gezi Hotel Bosphorus, Istanbul, a Member of Design Hotels is a proud work of Turkish architect Sinan Kafadar, who fused a timeless design with modern green technology. A cosy atmosphere is ever-present and is amplified by the high-tech flourishes and a contemporary design. Panoramic windows offer sweeping views feature in all 56 rooms and 11 suites.
The onsite Turkish bath spa reflects far east rituals and treats guests to a luxurious steam room, sauna, ice fountain, colour therapy lounge, and jacuzzi.
- To book, check prices or availability for Gezi Hotel Bosphorus, Istanbul, a Member of Design Hotels
20. The Fox Hotel – a relaxed and modern pet-friendly hotel that is travel sustainable
This classy, artsy boutique hotel sports a prime location by the city centre, within easy reach to the Grand Bazaar, Topkapi Palace, and Takism.
A refined concierge service is on hand 24/7 at The Fox Hotel to map out memorable day-time explorations around this eclectic city, and its breathtaking monuments can be seen from the balconies of each individually-appointed guestroom. Rooms are decked out with modern amenities, including a TV with satellite channels, and relish a simplistic yet spacious appeal.
Both continental and halal breakfasts can be enjoyed each morning at the hotel’s restaurant, which exhibits a peaceful, Middle-Eastern charm. This budget-friendly boutique will add a tasteful, stylish charm to your Istanbul vacation.
- To book, check prices or availability for The Fox Hotel
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Beth was born under a wandering star, with drama in her veins and ink in her pen. After stints studying theatre in Dublin and Utrecht she used her creative streak to see as much of the world as she could on as little money. She toured Italian Schools with a children’s theatre troop, lived as an au-pair in both Rome and Washington DC, explored the British countryside, worked her way through much of Europe, Salsa danced in Cuba and road tripped down America’s west coast where she discovered her spiritual home; Portland, Oregon. In between adventures she resides peacefully with her family, cats and ukulele.