imperial1Budget travellers who came to Turkey 10 years ago and have since upgraded their expectations as regards accommodation might get a curious feeling of deja vu when approaching the Ottoman Hotel Imperial in its peerless position right beside Ayasofya.

Wasn't this...?

And, yes, once upon a time this was indeed the site of the sprawling Yücelt Hostel, a mainstay for decades of the backpacker market.

Now, though, that ghost has been so comprehensively vanquished that it might as well never have existed. Today the Ottoman Imperial Hotel is one of Sultanahmet's most delightful upmarket hotels, the best of its rooms with balconies so close to the great church-mosque that you almost feel as if you could reach out and touch it.

What's more it boasts, in Matbah, a terrace restaurant whose focus is firmly on the fashionable concept of Ottoman cuisine, with many dishes on the menu that you'll look hard to find elsewhere. And while you eat them you will have the pleasure of gazing down onto the picturesque brick chimneystacks of the Sinan-designed Cafer Medresesi, the hotel's next-door neighbour. imperial2

Bedrooms here are spacious and delightful, richly decorated with lush Ottoman fabrics and furnished with great attention to detail. As is very much the vogue in Turkey they have bathtubs actually in the bedrooms - I loved miine although elderly guests might struggle with the few steps up to the platform on which it sat. Big, comfortable beds come with good reading lights, and you can can make yourself a cup of tea or coffee before you go to bed with the kettle supplied. 

There's plenty of sitting space in the rooms, too, with big, inviting armchairs and an ottoman as well. Expect to find magazines laid out on the coffee table so that you don't even need to bring reading materials with you.

Breakfasts here are a veritable feast fit for a sultan and you take them in the glass-sided indoor restaurant on the terrace which is also used for winter dinners. In addition there's a truly delightful little Ottoman lounge where you can sit quietly during the day should it be too cool for the terrace.

Thumbs up: Unbeatable location, wonderful restaurant, very comfortable beds

Thumbs down: Not everyone will want to take a bath in view of the person with whom they're sharing the room

Click here to book now

Tel: 0212-513 6151


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