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Istanbul is bustling and hot and beautiful and filled with things older than you could ever imagine. The very famous Hagia Sofia dominates the skyline but there are plenty other amazing sights to check off on your visit to Turkey’s largest city. A design hotel anywhere in the city but especially in Sultanahmet, Galata, Karaköy, or Nişantaşı will provide you with the chance to home in on all that this wonderful place has to offer — including its propensity toward all that is luxe and stylish.

Design Hotels Istanbul

A birthplace of two vast empires — Byzantine and Ottoman — Istanbul is a city of enigmas, a labyrinth of ages and a vibrant melting pot for a new great and hospitable nation, successfully combining European and Oriental values. Istanbul design hotels represent Eastern sumptuousness, tastefulness, and elegance perfected beyond measure. Check in to experience top service, sample fine Turkish cuisine, and relish in a most untroubled and exciting stay. A historic city, Istanbul is home to vibrant nightlife as well as the world’s greatest cultural treasures. Truly a place of contrasts, it flourishes and thrives on both sides of Bosporus.

Where to stay at a design hotel in Istanbul? Top neighborhoods at a glance

Sultanahmet: Sightseeing in the beautiful Old City

© Katelya Hotel The majority of Istanbul’s must-see attractions are located in the Sultanahmet, among them the striking Hagia Sophia, which can be seen dominating the skyline from anywhere in the city. Staying at a design hotel in Sultanahmet ensures locations within walking distances to Istanbul’s favorite bazaars, mosques, and palaces. A design hotel will also add a special flair to your trip with its beautiful combinations of traditional Turkish design and tribute paid to all that is glamorous and super stylish. Also enjoy top Turkish cuisine in the in-house dining halls such as saksuka, baklava, and lavish spreads of grilled meats and fresh salads and sides. The history of this area is awe-inspiring — it being the once hub of all life during the Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman empires, you can feel the thousands of years as you walk through the Old City, which is hemmed in by the mighty Walls of Theodosius. Follow these old walls and you’ll end up at the bright blue Sea of Marmara or at the Golden Horn on the other side.

Galata & Karaköy: Young & hip districts

© The Haze Istanbul Galata is Sultanahmet’s hipper, younger sibling — it is home to the iconic Galata Tower, the Istanbul Modern / Istanbul Museum of Modern Art and SALT cultural space, as well as an array of other monuments and sights and shopping opportunity. One of the more recognizable landmarks in the city, the Romanesque Galata Tower, has a balcony from which you can enjoy stunning views over the whole city as well as a fine dining restaurant if you’re looking for a real treat. For a cultural experience you’ll never forget, check out the Galata Convent of Whirling Derishes, a hypnotic and truly Turkish phenomenon. A design hotel in Galata promises elegant interiors, lavish patio dining halls, and breathtaking views. Staying at a design hotel in Galata is the way to stay if you want to cash in all the elegance Istanbul really has to offer. For all that’s new & fresh in Istanbul and Turkey generally, head to Karaköy, situated harborside and filled with trendy boutiques and happenings bars and cafes. A night out here will have you rubbing elbows with friendly locals and international hipsters alike. Karaköy’s design hotels are particularly stylish, cashing in on the trendy energy of the area as well as offering a flair unique to the establishment’s aesthetic and to Turkey. A day in this bustling neighbor is best spent weaving in and out of designer boutiques and the myriad art galleries tucked sweetly on street corners and in back alleys.

Nişantaşı: Upscale energy

© Sofa Hotel Istanbul, Autograph Collection If it’s class you’re after, a stay at a design hotel in Nişantaşı will get you there. This neighborhood, situated just one stop north of Taksim Square on the metro, is bursting at the seams with a posh energy best experienced at a design hotel. These establishments are fitted head-to-toe with stylish design concepts, like in the gorgeous reading room-meets-lobby, and first-rate facilities like in-house spa centers and rooftop pools. Where Turkish elegance and modern glamour meet in Nişantaşı, spend days popping into high-end stores on Abdi İpekçi street, stopping for a gourmet meal at a cute lunch spot, and checking out the Tesvikiye Mosque and Anadolu Licee. Make sure to reserve plenty of time for just wandering around and soaking up the elegant architecture between stops for coffee and forays into specialty shops selling rare art books or perfumes or handmade jewelry.

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Istanbul: Favorite Areas

Favorite Design Hotels in Istanbul