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15 Best Boutique Hotels in Istanbul: Hip to Historic

It’s not surprising that exotic Istanbul, Europe’s largest city, is home to many deluxe hotels.

We’ve visited Istanbul several times – before or after Mediterranean cruises and at the beginning of a longer Turkey trip.

We’ve been fortunate to bed down in many of the best places to stay in Istanbul including the storied Ciragan Palace Kempinski as well as the Ritz-Carlton Istanbul. (See our hotel reviews of these two luxury Istanbul hotels at the end of our guide on the best Istanbul hammams.)

But we’ve also stayed at several smaller beautiful boutique hotels in Istanbul.

When you’re planning your visit, you’ll want to check out Istanbul’s boutique hotels – here’s our curated list of the top 15.

Boutique Istanbul Hotels

Best boutique hotels in Istanbul

Tucked away in character-filled residential or embassy neighborhoods, the following boutique places to stay in Istanbul offer a more intimate stay in a city which – with a population of 15+ million – can sometimes feel overwhelming.

1) Sumahan on the Water

Sumahan on the Water is one of our favorite boutique hotels in Istanbul.
One of the top hotels in Istanbul, Sumahan on the Water is found on the Asian side

Take the mahogany water taxi across the Bosphorus Canal to this boutique 5-star hotel in Istanbul, and you leave the cacophony of the city for another world.

The hotel’s complimentary boat service transports you in 30 minutes from Istanbul’s cosmopolitan European side, past ancient palaces and mosques, to the less-touristy Asian side.

Taxi boat for Sumahan on the Water
A free water taxi ride takes you across the Bosphorus Canal to Sumahan on the Water

After sightseeing all day, we could feel the fatigue melt away as we stepped ashore into the calm oasis that is Sumahan on the Water.

The architect owners transformed what was once a 19th century Ottoman distillery into the present-day hotel in 2005.

They preserved details of the building’s historical past – like black painted metal girders and exposed brick walls – adding an industrial edge to the hotel’s design.

Book lovers will appreciate the hotels’ cozy water-view library, well-stocked with 800+ books on Turkish subjects, most in English.

A Turkish hammam offers traditional bath-and-massage treatments too.

Another plus: The hotel is expertly run and service is warm.

Rooms

We love the industrial chic look of the rooms at Sumahan on the Water, Istanbul.
We love the industrial chic look of Sumahan’s rooms!

The hotel has 13 rooms, all of which face the Bosphorus.

In summer, guests sit out under the trees on the lawn and read or watch the boat traffic along the Bosphorus.

In winter, a fireplace in your room makes it cozy for enjoying the ever-changing watery panorama.

We loved our two-storey loft suite.

Upstairs was a king-size bed and huge grey-and-white marble bathroom with walk-in shower.

Downstairs, French doors opened from the ground-floor living room onto the hotel’s lawn and garden.

Sumahan on the Water is one of the best boutique hotels in Istanbul.
Each room is different, but they all have Bosphorus Canal views and fireplaces

Dining

For breakfast (included in the rate), the terrace is open in warm weather – you can linger over cappuccino while eyeing ferries and tankers glide by.

For dinner, Sumahan’s Waterfront restaurant features fresh fish, along with Turkish mezes and an international à la carte menu.

You’d be hard-pressed to find a more romantic restaurant in Istanbul if dining alfresco.

Waterfront Restaurant at Sumahan on the Water, Istanbul
Sumahan’s Waterfront Restaurant overlooks the Bosphorus Canal

Location

Located in the Cengelkoy village area, Sumahan is a short stroll away from excellent people-watching cafés and fish restaurants.

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Sumahan on the Water: Check rates and availability

2) Tomtom Suites

The stylish Tomtom Suites in Istanbul features very modern amenities like in-room espresso machines and free WiFi.
The stylish Tomtom features very modern amenities like in-room espresso machines and free WiFi

Fancy a stay in a former Franciscan nunnery?

The mod Tomtom Suites fits the bill.

Don’t be misled by the odd name, which is based on the hotel’s street name. Tomtom Suites is one of the best boutique hotels in Istanbul.

What was an 1850s convent is now the very modern Tomtom Suites in Istanbul.
What was an 1850s convent is now the very modern Tomtom Suites

Once home to French nuns, the restored hotel building is a mix of the historic (polished hardwood floors, high ceilings and thick stone walls) and contemporary (sound-proofing, high-tech lighting, Bose sound systems).

Service is exceptional.

The first time we stayed here, the front desk staff went out of their way to help us discover Istanbul on our own. (We wanted help catching the nearby Istanbul Tram that runs to the old Sultanahmet district and tourist sites.)

The Tomtom Suites is one of the best places to stay in Istanbul.
The Tomtom Suites is one of our favorite places to stay in Istanbul!

Rooms and suites

There are 20 rooms and suites spread out in two buildings, connected by glass floor walkways and reached by a glass elevator.

Choose from garden or courtyard views; several room categories range from “standard” to “luxury suite.”

Light, bright and spacious, they feature marble bathrooms, handmade rugs, and colorful original ceramics and works of art.

The rooms also have king-size beds, which we North Americans are used to, but which can sometimes be hard to find in Turkey, where smaller European-size beds are more common.

At Tom Tom Suites, the decor is understated, but the suites are extremely comfortable.
The décor is understated, but the suites are extremely comfortable

Excellent value

Tomtom also delivers excellent value for the price.

A member of Small Luxury Hotels, it’s a 5-star Istanbul hotel. But you pay significantly less for a room at Tomtom than at other 5-star hotels in Istanbul (like the Four Seasons at Sultanahmet, #8 below).

This was one reason we chose to stay here for a second time when visiting Istanbul at the start of our recent Turkey/Greece Windstar cruise on the Star Pride.

Rooftop restaurant

Dining is a culinary treat at Nicole, Tom Tom Suites.
Dining is a culinary treat at Nicole

Tomtom’s rooftop restaurant, Nicole, is one of the city’s finest (see TripAdvisor reviews).

It serves artistically prepared Mediterranean cuisine inspired by fresh local ingredients. You have a choice of four multi-course set menus, which change every few weeks.

The terrace has city views of the Bosphorus Canal and minaret-guarded mosques.

It’s a beautiful spot to sit on warm summer evenings!

On the rooftop, Nicole is one of the best restaurants in Istanbul.
On the rooftop, Nicole is one of the best restaurants in Istanbul

Ditto for breakfast.

Think an amazing Turkish spread with over 15 little plates of hummus, sliced meat, cheese, smoked salmon on toast, yogurt, fruit, mini-muffins and more – plus cooked-to-order eggs.

Turkish breakfast at Tomtom Suites, Istanbul
A Turkish breakfast to help start the day

Location

The hotel isn’t within walking distance of the historic Sultanahmet district. But it’s only a short tram ride away.

It’s located in the heart of Istanbul’s lively Beyoglu district, chock-full of nearby restaurants and galleries.

Yet it’s very quiet, on the same cobblestone alley as the Italian consulate.

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Tomtom Suites: Check rates and availability

3) Six Senses Kocatas Mansions

Six Senses Kocatas Mansions is one of the top hotels in Istanbul on the Bosphorus Canal.
Six Senses Kocatas Mansions is a stunning sanctuary on the Bosphorus Canal

“History meets hospitality where East meets West” – such is the claim on the Six Senses Kocatas Mansions’ website. 

Its mansions were built in the 1800s in Istanbul’s northernmost neighborhood on the European side.

Today, the restored property is one of the finest Istanbul luxury hotels – possibly the most luxurious hotel in Istanbul (though the Ciragan Palace Kempinski and Raffles Istanbul might disagree).

Offering extraordinary views right over the Bosphorus Strait and with seven restaurants, a pool and a spa, it’s the perfect hotel if you’re looking for a resort-style stay.

To explore Istanbul’s attractions, the hotel has a private boat for transfers on the Bosphorus to the center of the city.

Rooms

Six Senses Kocatas Mansions room
Rooms are serene and contemporary

Spread out over two mansions, the historic hotel encompasses 43 guest rooms, taking inspiration from the bygone days of the Ottoman Era. 

While there are plenty of period features, all have modern amenities like a smart TV and espresso machine. 

Dining

With seven dining and drinking establishments, including a coffee lounge, a patisserie, a traditional Italian restaurant (Scalini Istanbul) and the Toro Latin Gastro Bar, you know you’ll eat well at Six Senses Kocatas Mansions. 

Italian restaurant at Six Senses Kocatas Mansions
From afternoon tea to a fine Italian restaurant, there are lots of different dining options!

Pool and spa

You’ll find five treatment rooms and a hammam at the spa here.

If you’re visiting in the summertime and fancy relaxing alfresco, chill out around the gorgeous swimming pool with views right over the Bosphorus. 

Six Senses Kocatas Mansions pool
It’s no hardship to relax by this pool!

Location

The hotel is located in the prestigious ​​Sariyer district of European Istanbul (known for its excellent seafood restaurants). It’s about a 1-hour private water taxi ride on the Bosphorus Canal to reach the heart of the city. 

As we’ve stayed at a Six Senses hotel before (in Thailand) – and love the brand – we seriously considered staying here on our last visit to Istanbul. But we ultimately settled on returning to the Tomtom Suites (#2 above), as we wanted to be closer to everything.

Now, if we had a week in Istanbul, we might make a different decision!

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Six Senses Kocatas Mansions: Check rates and availability

4) Pera Palace Hotel

Pera Palace is one of the best boutique hotels in Istanbul.
The Pera Palace Hotel today after a two-year restoration

Quick! Where did Agatha Christie write “Murder on the Orient Express”?

Room 411 in the opulent Pera Palace Hotel, so it’s believed.

Room 411 of the Pera Palace Hotel, where Agatha Christie would stay
Room 411 (complete with the original antique furniture), where Agatha Christie would stay

Book this storied hotel and you follow in the footsteps of Christie and other celebrities and royalty, including King Edward VIII, Mata Hari, Emperor Franz Joseph, Alfred Hitchcock, Greta Garbo and Ernest Hemingway, all of whom have been welcomed here.

Several rooms are even named after some of them.

It’s easy to see why Pera Palace is consistently regarded as one of the best hotels in Istanbul!

The Agatha Christie room at Pera Palace Hotel, a room with a view
The Agatha Christie room, a room with a view

Built in 1892 for passengers journeying on the Orient Express train from Venice to Istanbul, the Pera Palace was extensively restored and re-opened in 2010 after a two-year closure.

Riding in the old-fashioned wrought iron elevator is a delightful experience!

British writer Daniel Farson waxed lyrical about it, saying: “It is the most beautiful elevator in the world. It ascends like a lady who curtsies. Tourists cannot take their eyes off this utterly pretty and aristocratic elevator.”

When checking in at the Pera Palace, Istanbul, you're taken up to your room in an historic elevator.
When checking in, you’re taken up to your room in this historic elevator

You can also see the velvet sedan chair once used to carry guests from the Orient Express train station to the hotel.

Indeed, Pera Palace is somewhat of a museum-hotel.

Room 101 – open to visitors – displays clothing, furniture, eye glasses, china tea cups, letter openers and other personal items belonging to Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the beloved “Father of Turkey.”

Some of Ataturk's clothing on display in the Ataturk Museum Room, Pera Palace Hotel.
Some of Ataturk’s clothing on display in the Ataturk Museum Room

Rooms

For purists, the hotel may not qualify as a “real” boutique hotel because of its size – it has 115 rooms, including 16 suites.

But the hotel feels smaller than other “grand” hotels, and because we liked it, we’ve included it here in our round-up of “Istanbul boutique hotels.”

A Pera Palace studio room
A Pera Palace studio room

All rooms feature historical furniture, Murano chandeliers and hand-woven Turkish carpets. White marble bathrooms have claw-foot tubs.

Tip:  Book the “Golden Horn” view rooms which come with a Juliette balcony.

Dining

Check out the pretty pink French-style patisserie serving handmade chocolates and French cakes.

Guests also love the English afternoon tea served in the Kubbeli Lounge. Think nibbling on crustless tea sandwiches and scones while listening to soft live piano music.

With high-domed ceilings and beautiful corner windows, the Kubbeli Lounge at Pera Palace Hotel, Istanbul, is a lovely spot for afternoon tea.
With high-domed ceilings and beautiful corner windows, the Kubbeli Lounge is a lovely spot for afternoon tea

We were less impressed with the lower-level Agatha Restaurant, however.

It wasn’t very busy when we had dinner, and we would have preferred a more lively atmosphere.

This admittedly likely influenced our view of the dining experience.

Location

In the heart of Istanbul in the Beyoglu district, Pera Palace is within walking distance of famous Istiklal Street and Taksim Square.

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Pera Palace Hotel: Check rates and availability

5) A’jia Hotel

Overlooking the Bosphorus, the A'jia Hotel is one of the best places to stay in Istanbul.
Overlooking the Bosphorus, A’jia Hotel mixes the modern with the historic

How would you like to lay your head down in what was once the grand mansion of a Pasha?

Rooms

A’jia Hotel has maintained its historic Ottoman-era outside.

But inside, it’s a different story.

This Istanbul design hotel has 16 spacious and modern rooms and suites, with dreamy bathrooms all done up in creamy marble and tile.

Fancy an extra treat? Stay in the Mezzanine Deluxe Suite, with incredible views over the Bosphorus and a roll-top bathtub right in the bedroom. 

Waterside terrace

When you want to relax and soak up the water views, a long bar on the waterfront terrace is the perfect place to do just that.

Location

Snuggled up to the Bosphorus Canal on the Asian side of Istanbul, A’jia Hotel is about 30 minutes away from the bustle of the city center.

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A’jia Hotel: Check rates and availability

6) Romance Istanbul Hotel

The Romance Istanbul Hotel is right in the heart of the action.
The Romance Istanbul Hotel is right in the heart of the action

Okay, so the above boutique luxury hotels in Istanbul all look wonderful.

But what you really want to know is where to stay in Istanbul that’s right in the thick of the historic quarter – somewhere just a short walk away from the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace and the Grand Bazaar.

Enter Romance Istanbul Hotel – it’s smack-dab in the historical center.

And no surprise here… As its name suggests, it’s one of the most romantic hotels in Istanbul, according to guests who’ve stayed here. (See TripAdvisor reviews.)

Rooms

The Romance Istanbul Hotel is one of the most romantic hotels in Istanbul!
This 4-star Istanbul hotel has rooms that are oh-so-romantic!

Think 40 rooms with wooden floors, Turkish rugs, satin and velvet furnishings, chandeliers and French balconies.

Some have terraces, or you could even opt for the Royal Suite with a jacuzzi. 

Location

Sitting just to the west of Topkapi Palace, and a 10-minute walk from the Blue Mosque, this boutique hotel in Istanbul’s Old City is in a prime spot to enjoy some of the city’s highlights. 

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Romance Istanbul Hotel: Check rates and availability

7) Hagia Sofia Mansions

Hagia Sofia Mansions in Istanbul
Walking by, you’d think Hagia Sofia Mansions is a row of residential houses on the street (not a hotel)

Forget boutique hotels. How about a boutique house? 

At Hagia Sofia Mansions, part of the Curio Collection by Hilton, one could be yours – well, for the duration of your vacation, at least!

The hotel’s rooms are all suites with their own individual entrances leading to the narrow tree-lined street outside. They looked so interesting when we walked by that we decided to bookmark this hotel for our next Istanbul visit (we’re pretty sure we’ll visit again!).

Inside, sumptuous décor and world-class hospitality are there to welcome you – you’ll quickly see why it’s one of the best 5-star hotels in Istanbul near the Blue Mosque and other historic sites.

Rooms 

The hotel has 78 rooms and suites to suit your specific needs. 

Room at Hagia Sofia Mansions, Istanbul
The rooms are elegantly designed

Traveling with family? Opt for the family connecting room. Need level access? Accessible rooms are available. 

Rooms boast features like a walk-in shower, Turkish bath, sumptuously comfy king bed with high-quality linen and an HDTV. 

Dining 

Dining-wise, choose between the Green House Garden Restaurant or the Guest House Terrace Restaurant. 

The open-air Green House Garden Restaurant boasts a fountain, lush plants and green décor, offering a slice of nature in the heart of the city. Enjoy an aperitif or smaller meal here – and you can try shisha at the end of the night! 

Green House Garden Restaurant at Hagia Sofia Mansions, Istanbul
The Green House Garden Restaurant has seating inside and out

The Guest House Terrace Restaurant, adorned in Ottoman décor, looks out over the Hagia Sophia and serves à la carte breakfast, lunches and dinners. 

Spa

Descend underground to the spa, where you can enjoy a traditional Turkish Hammam experience.

It’s the perfect place to relax and unwind after a busy day of sightseeing.

The spa at Hagia Sofia Mansions is set in a renovated Roman cistern
The spa is set in a renovated Roman cistern

Location 

As the name suggests, this hotel is in a prime location to enjoy Istanbul’s most iconic sights. 

The Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque and Basilica Cistern are just one block away. There are also good metro links to the rest of the city.

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Hagia Sofia Mansions Istanbul: Check rates and availability

8) Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at Sultanahmet

Ochre exterior of the Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at Sultanahmet
The Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at Sultanahmet is a one-of-a-kind retreat

For luxury, you can never go wrong staying at a Four Seasons property.

There are two of these deluxe hotels in Istanbul. But for a boutique stay, the Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at Sultanahmet – housed in a former prison built by the Ottomans in 1918 – is the one you want.

It reopened in 2022 after an extensive 2-year renovation. Providing a true 5-star experience in the heart of the city, it’s widely regarded as the best hotel in Sultanahmet, thanks to its range of amenities, stellar service and peaceful setting.

Rooms 

A total of 65 rooms are on offer here, some with views of the resort’s lush central courtyard. 

All have chic designs with tasteful Ottoman period art and comfortable furniture, along with plush beds that’ll feel like a cloud after you’ve spent all day exploring Istanbul. 

Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at Sultanahmet guest room
Let your room envelop you in a haven of comfort

Of course, the bathrooms are nothing but opulent, with marble furnishings and state-of-the-art technology. 

Dining

In total, there are five dining options at this Four Seasons Hotel, including in-room dining. 

Feast on modern Anatolian cuisine at Avlu Restaurant or sample modern mezzes at Lingo Lingo Bar and Restaurant. 

Or grab a sweet Turkish delicacy at La Pistach Patisserie. Or take in views of the looming Hagia Sophia as you dine on Turkish and international fare at Sureyya Teras Lounge. 

For good food in Istanbul, Avlu Restaurant offers a warm setting in a hidden courtyard

Spa

The hotel’s refurbishment included a deluxe new spa. You can book a couple’s hammam treatment or enjoy a range of massages and facials – ideal for shaking off jet lag after a long flight.

Location

If mention of the Hagia Sophia views didn’t quite give it away, this hotel is right in the heart of the action of Sultanahmet, close to Topkapi Palace and the Basilica Cistern. 

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Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at Sultanahmet: Check rates and availability

9) AJWA Sultanahmet

Hand-crafted historic armchairs at AJWA Sultanahmet boutique hotel in Istanbul
Hand-crafted historic armchairs, intricate archways, a hammam – this hotel gives you a taste of Istanbul’s majestic past

Offering top-notch hospitality in a dreamy setting, AJWA Sultanahmet knows exactly how to impress their guests. 

With locations in Istanbul and Cappadocia, the hotel merges Ottoman and Seljuk design to create the ultimate high-end hotel experience. 

If you’re looking for luxury hotels in Istanbul with a distinct historic Turkish sense of place, AJWA will likely tick all your boxes. 

Think authentic silk Tabriz carpets, four-poster beds, lavish wallpaper, mother-of-pearl furniture and flower arrangements everywhere you look. 

It also has a hammam.

The hotel aims to emulate a private mansion, giving guests an exclusive, intimate experience. 

Rooms

Choose from a deluxe room, family suite, corner room or Sultan suite, all boasting antique furniture, underfloor heating systems (ideal for chilly winter days!) and a pillow menu, among other amenities.

Note: This hotel only has rooms with double or twin beds – no king-size beds.

AJWA Sultanahmet guest room
Sleep well!

Dining 

The dining scene centers around the top-rated Zeferan Restaurant, a fine dining restaurant serving primarily Azerbaijani cuisine, with panoramic views of the sparkling old town. There’s also a patisserie. 

Location 

As the name suggests, AJWA Sultanahmet is situated in the heart of Sultanahmet. It’s a short walk to the Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace.

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AJWA Sultanahmet: Check rates and availability

10) The Bank Hotel Istanbul

Lobby of The Bank Hotel Istanbul
Welcome to The Bank Hotel Istanbul!

In the hip and burgeoning neighborhood of Karakoy, separated from Sultanahmet by the Golden Horn, you’ll find The Bank Hotel Istanbul.

A member of Design Hotels, a collection of boutique and design-driven luxury hotels around the world, it’s one of the most unique hotels in Istanbul.

Located on fabled Banks Street – once the financial center of the Ottoman Empire – the Bank Hotel Istanbul is housed in a former bank.

The original vault serves as the wine cellar, and in the bar, a former safe is now a drinks cabinet.

The hotel also retains other eclectic architectural features from the 19th century, when the building was constructed.

Rooms

Guest room at The Bank Hotel Istanbul
High ceilings and arched windows are some of the room features

While on the smallish side, the hotel’s seven types of rooms and suites pack a punch when it comes to luxury. 

If you can swing it, go for the penthouse suite with a roll-top bathtub and the most unbelievable views of Istanbul.

But all rooms boast blackout curtains, LCD TVs, goose feather blankets, luxury bathrobes and a coffee machine. Carrera marble bathrooms have rain showers.

Dining

Serica Restaurant specializes in “soil to plate” food, with inspiration from Turkey’s diverse landscapes. 

There’s also a lobby bar and restaurant and the Bank Roof Bar for more casual dining. 

Spa

Open by appointment, the hotel’s spa has a Turkish hammam, steam room, sauna, treatment rooms and fitness center. 

Location 

The Bank Hotel may be across the Golden Horn from Sultanahmet, but Sultanahmet is easy to access by foot, car or metro.

Also, we love the less-touristy neighborhood of Karakoy, in which it’s located. On our most recent Istanbul sojourn, we had lots of fun strolling along Karakoy’s cobblestone streets, past dusty antique shops, buzzing cafés and contemporary galleries.

You’ll find a large array of restaurants in this area too, and it’s in close proximity to Galata Tower and Istiklal Avenue, the main shopping street of the city. 

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The Bank Hotel, Istanbul: Check rates and availability

11) Boutique Saint Sophia Sultanahmet

If small, intimate, affordable and a close-to-everything location is your style, consider Boutique Saint Sophia, one of the best 4-star hotels in Istanbul.

With just 26 rooms, this establishment offers a bespoke experience that you’ll only find in the small hotels in Istanbul.

Rooms 

While set in a 19th century building, room at the Boutique Saint Sophia Hotel are modern, with amenities like a Tchibo coffee machine, pillow menu, rain shower and free minibar. 

Dining 

In the Pita Lounge, feast on a traditional Turkish breakfast; cheese, bread, spreads, eggs, pancakes and baked goods. You can even wash it down with a champagne cocktail! 

Location 

You couldn’t get more central than Boutique Saint Sophia Sultanahmet.

It basically rubs shoulder with the Hagia Sophia.

It’s so close to the Hagia Sophia that you can hear the early morning call-to-prayer (bring earplugs).

The hotel also overlooks Sultan Ahmet Park and is only a 5-minute walk to the Topkapi Palace Museum complex.

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Boutique Saint Sophia Sultanahmet: Check rates and availability

12) Hotel Sultania

The Hotel Sultania has a ground floor restaurant that spills out onto the quiet street.
The Hotel Sultania has a ground floor restaurant that spills out onto the quiet street in front

Overlooking Gulhane Park, Hotel Sultania is another great boutique 4-star hotel in Istanbul.

It’s every bit as regal as its name suggests.

Every detail, from the complimentary Turkish delight at check-in to the plush bedroom furnishings, is fit for a sultan or sultana. 

And with tasteful period décor and Istanbul’s best historical attractions just a stone’s throw away, you’ll feel as if you’re walking through history as soon as you step into this hotel. 

Rooms

Choose between a family suite room, the Harem Suite room and a Sultan Suite room. All come with a tea and coffee maker, ultra-comfy king-size bed and artwork on the walls. 

Rooms at the Hotel Sultania have lots of opulent Ottoman palace touches!
Rooms at the Hotel Sultania have lots of opulent Ottoman palace touches!

The Sultan Suite room – the most luxurious of the lot – is modeled after a bedroom in an Ottoman Palace. You’ll quite literally feel like a king or queen when staying here. 

Dining 

Hotel Sultania may be historic, but the menus of its two eating establishments effortlessly fuse traditional Turkish cooking with modern flavors and preferences. 

Sultania Restaurant, which is on the ground floor and has an outdoor area, is ideal for sandwiches or light bites. The Anatolian Olive Restaurant enjoys an incredible view of the city from its floor-to-ceiling windows and offers European and Middle Eastern dishes.  

Spa

It’s not just about history at Hotel Sultania. There’s also an impressive spa with a hammam, sauna, fitness center and treatment rooms.

Location 

Hotel Sultania is in a central location of Sultanahmet, about a half-mile from the Hagia Sophia. 

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Hotel Sultania, Istanbul: Check rates and availability

13) Witt Istanbul Suites

View suite at Witt Istanbul Suites
A suite with a view!

If you fancy staying out of the hustle and bustle (but still close-in and with easy access to everything), consider the highly-rated Witt Istanbul Suites.

Reflecting a retro-modern design, with lots of space-age-looking leather and wood touches, it’s definitely one of the coolest hotels in Istanbul! Like The Bank Hotel Istanbul (#10 above), it’s a member of Design Hotels.

Rooms

Step into your home away from home at Witt Istanbul Suites.

Accommodations comprise 17 suites with kitchenettes (with a microwave, fridge and Nespresso machine).

The suites all have soundproof walls and floors.

They’re kitted out with rocking chairs, safe boxes large enough for your laptop and well-appointed gray marble bathrooms with six(!) rain showerheads. 

Because each suite is like a mini-apartment, the hotel is ideal for longer stays or if you want a residential-style hotel experience. 

Suite at Witt Istanbul Suites
The suites are serene and spacious

Dining 

Turkish breakfast is served daily – think cheese, bread, a range of egg dishes, olives, handmade jams, honey from Bodrum and the like. You can either enjoy it in your room or in the lobby.

As for other meals, there are some food preparation facilities in select rooms, and you can also order takeout from neighboring restaurants. 

Roof garden

Enjoy the city views from your deck or wander on up to the hotel’s rooftop garden to read your book and relax among the edible herbs and flowers.

View of Istanbul from a patio suite at Witt Istanbul Suites
Check out the view from this suite’s patio!

Location

For something off-the-beaten track, Witt Istanbul Suites is perfect. 

It’s located in the Cihangir neighborhood, known for its street art and quirky cafes.

It’s just a short walk to Taksim (the more modern part of Istanbul) and Istiklal Avenue. To reach Sultanahmet, it’s an easy metro or taxi ride. 

As it’s out of the tourist-focused area, Witt Istanbul Suites is an excellent boutique Istanbul accommodation choice if you’re looking for somewhat lower rates combined with great value.

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Witt Istanbul Suites: Check rates and availability

14) Hotel Ibrahim Pasha

The Hotel Ibrahim Pasha is one of the best 3-star hotels in Istanbul.
The Hotel Ibrahim Pasha is one of the best 3-star hotels in Istanbul

Are there lovely small boutique hotels in Istanbul in the 3-star category? Of course! Say hello to the Hotel Ibrahim Pasha.

It’s named after Suleiman the Magnificent’s Grand Vizier, Ibrahim Pasha, who lived in the 16th-century Ottoman palace next door.

This 3-star Istanbul hotel commemorates Turkish history throughout its boutique lobby and rooms. 

At the same time, while the hotel may be named after an Ottoman hero, it offers contemporary facilities, including a well-stocked library, airport pick-up service and a gorgeous rooftop terrace exclusively for guests, with jaw-droppingly beautiful views of the city. 

Rooms

Standard rooms are on the smaller side.

But even they are something to write home about. They feature velvet chairs, queen-size beds with fresh linens and plush pillows, rain showers and under-floor heating.

There are also larger deluxe rooms with two single beds or a queen bed (no king beds).

Hotel Ibrahim Pasha guest room
Hotel Ibrahim Pasha guest room

Location 

You couldn’t get closer to the Blue Mosque if you tried – you’re so close that you could almost touch it. To be more precise, a two-minute walk takes you right to the door, with the Hagia Sophia just a few steps further. 

The Hotel Ibrahim Pasha is definitely one of the best Istanbul hotels for enjoying the attractions of the old city!

And as it’s located on a quiet street, it feels a little like an oasis in the middle of the city. 

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Hotel Ibrahim Pasha: Check rates and availability

15) Orientbank Hotel Istanbul

The Orientbank Hotel Istanbul is located in the cool Sirkeci neighborhood.
The Orientbank Hotel Istanbul is located in the cool Sirkeci neighborhood

Taking its inspiration from Istanbul’s position at the crossroads of east and west, the building housing the Orientbank Hotel Istanbul was constructed in 1912 by August Jasmund, a Prussian architect, as the German Orientbank.

In 2021, it was extensively refurbished.

Today, it’s one of the top hotels in Istanbul, welcoming travelers to a lesser-explored part of Istanbul. 

Guests are looked after by All Butler Touch, a concierge service which you can access by WhatsApp. 

Rooms

Rooms have a modern design, with mood lighting and coffee machines, but still retain some period features – serving as a reminder that you’re in one of the world’s most historic cities! 

Beds are renowned for their comfort, and a pillow menu means you’ll have just the right amount of head support. Some rooms include a sitting area, ideal for planning out your day over a cup of Turkish coffee on the hotel’s free WiFi. 

Guest room at The Orientbank Hotel Istanbul
Rooms are plush and comfortable

Dining

The Lobby Lounge restaurant offers an à la carte signature breakfast, incorporating classic Turkish dishes with international foods. 

There’s also a live jazz club with food and drinks in the evenings.

Location

This 5-star hotel in Istanbul isn’t as close to the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia as others on this list – it’s in the Sirkeci area which neighbors Sultanahmet. 

It therefore has a bit more of a local feel. It’s also next to Istanbul’s Spice Bazaar. 

Google location

Orientbank Hotel Istanbul: Check rates and availability

That wraps up our guide to the top boutique hotels in Istanbul

Whether you fancy a high-end, 5-star hotel with a spa and a range of restaurants or more intimate and affordable accommodation, there are plenty of boutique places to stay in Istanbul. 

In fact, some of them are among the best hotels in Turkey. 

Whichever of these boutique and small Istanbul hotels you choose, you can be assured of top-notch facilities and well-furnished guest rooms. These unique boutique hotels will show you exactly why Turkey is so famous for its hospitality! 

Experience more of Turkey!

Cappadocia: It’s worth waking up early to go hot air ballooning in Cappadocia.

Bodrum: Which are the best luxury hotels in Bodrum? Check out the glam Macakizi and the art-filled Casa Dell’Arte.

Ephesus: So you’re visiting this ancient site. What are the best ruins and things to see in Ephesus?

Our top travel tips and resources

Hotels: Booking.com is great for scoring a “wow” hotel – or at least a decent one. (We especially like their flexible cancellation policy!)

Vacation homes, condos and rentals: We prefer and use Vrbo (Vacation Rentals by Owner).

Tours: For the best local food, walking and other guided tours, plus skip-the-line tickets to attractions, check out Viator (a TripAdvisor company) and GetYourGuide.

Car rental: Renting a car is often one of the best ways to explore off the beaten path. Discover Cars searches car rental companies so you get the best rates.

Travel insurance: SafetyWing is designed for frequent travelers, long-term adventurers and digital nomads. It covers medical expenses, lost checked luggage, trip interruption and more. We also have and recommend Medjet for global air medical transportation and travel security.

Travel gear: See our travel shop to find the best luggage, accessories and other travel gear. (We suggest these comfy travel sandals for city walking, the beach and kicking about.)

Need more help planning your trip? Check out our travel tips and resources guide for airline booking tips, ways to save money, how to find great hotels and other crazy useful trip planning info.

Pssst! If you make a booking or purchase through our site, we may earn a small commission (at no cost to you). Thanks!


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Best boutique hotels in Istanbul, Turkey
Best Istanbul boutique hotels

Photo credits: 3, 13, 30 © Janice and George Mucalov, SandInMySuitcase | Remaining images courtesy of the respective hotels (except 1 and 57)


Sumahan on the Water and Pera Palace provided us with complimentary media stays for review purposes. But as professional travel writers (who write for many magazines and newspapers as well as this blog), we always retain complete editorial control over our words.


About the authors

Luxury travel journalists and SATW, NATJA and TMAC “Best Travel Blog” award winners, Janice and George Mucalov are the publishers of Sand In My Suitcase. Between them, they’ve traveled to all 7 continents. See About.

Find destination guides, global food-and-wine stories, luxury hotel reviews, articles on cultural explorations and soft adventure trips, cruise reviews, insanely useful travel tips and more!

Leigh McAdam

Sunday 28th of October 2012

When I visited Istanbul my husband and I were budget travelers and found a hotel where every time you showered the toilet paper got wet. These places look divine!

Janice and George

Sunday 28th of October 2012

No problems with the showers here! They're all divinely comfortable places to stay...