Pick Istanbul hotel by what you want to do


October 07, 2007|By New York Times News Service

I am going to Istanbul, Turkey, for the first time in October. I have reservations at the Ritz-Carlton and the Sumahan. I like the idea of staying on the Asian side instead of the New Town. Any thoughts on this? I don't need to be where everything is happening.

If you are interested in staying on the Asian side, the Sumahan (Kuleli Caddesi, 51, Cengelkoy; 90-216-422-8000; sumahan.com), where rooms start at $280, is ideal for travelers "who like the idea of holing up in a very cozy design hotel and gazing at the gorgeous Istanbul skyline across the water," said travel writer Seth Sherwood. But it is not convenient for seeing the city's big attractions, like the Grand Bazaar and the Suleymaniye Mosque; the hotel's ferry service will not get you near these attractions.

On the other hand, the Ritz-Carlton (Suzer Plaza, Elmadag, Askerocagi Caddesi, 15, Sisli; 90-212-334-4444; ritz carlton.com), on the European side, is a bit more expensive (from 290 euros, $412 at $1.42 to the euro) but closer to all the old palaces, mosques, bazaars and dining and nightlife districts like Beyoglu and Tunel. So it is "probably better for first-time travelers to Istanbul."

If you want the best of both worlds, consider Les Ottomans (Muallim Naci Caddesi, 68; 90-212-359-1500; lesottomans.com; from 800 euros), one of the newest and most opulent hotels in the city. It's along the water on the European side and has maintained an "old-time maritime feel." It is also an easy taxi ride from Taksim Square, Beyoglu and Sultanahmet (the Old City). In addition, it has an excellent hammam spa.

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