We absolutely loved the Pera Palace - hands down the best 5-star we've stayed in. The history, the ambience, the service.....all just perfect!
Historically, this hotel cannot be beat. Built by the Orient Express as a luxury hotel for its passengers to stay in Istanbul, the vibe remains. It was the first and only building to be powered by electricity, other than the Ottoman Palaces. It was also the only address in the city to provide hot running water for its guests and was home to the first electric elevator in Istanbul.
The basic rooms are spacious - particularly given European standards - and extremely well-appointed (Moulton Brown products, yay!). Nespresso coffee, lots of windows, beautiful bathrooms, a pillow menu fergodsake!.
The staff is without doubt what puts this hotel up and over to 5 stars....they are friendly without being fakey, clearly are sincere in wanting to help you, and really go out of their way to make your stay the very best it can be. Example: They gave us a great recommendation for a special dinner on our last night....a place with a great view, fantastic food..etc. They sent a porter to WALK US TO THE RESTAURANT!!!! Seriously. And he was sweet and chatty the entire 10-minute walk. It's these little touches - going above and beyond - that make a five-star. Period.
If you are at all historically inclined, a must-see is the Attaturk room. Rich with history from the founding father of Turkey, it's an incredibly special place. The bed he slept in as he wrote the Turkish constitution, his sitting room, letters written during this important time. It's a must-see, and you need to ask for someone to take you into the room (they are quite modest about it..).
The bar is also rich with history - Hemmingway, Agatha Christie, Greta Garbo, Queen Elizabeth - this was the place to stay in Istanbul once-upon-a-time, and it is again. It's dark, velvety, comfy, sumptuous. Order something old-school.
Finally, the reference in my title to "Istanbul Passage" is a great book by Joseph Kanon that takes place post-WWII in Turkey. Many of the scenes are in the Pera Palace. Very cool.
Windstar clients: Stay here. You'll be glad you did.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Gazing over the golden years of history, Pera Palace Hotel, Jumeirah overlooks the magnificent view of the Golden Horn and is located in Tepebaşı district of Pera once known as the “Little Europe”. With its 115 rooms, including 16 suites, retaining the characteristics of the 19th century elegance through historical furniture, the hotel combines refined elegance with state-of the-art technology to fulfill the needs of 21st century travellers. Enjoy a range of revitalized restaurant and bar choices, including the Agatha Restaurant, The Kubbeli Saloon, the French style Patisserie de Pera and the legendary Orient Bar & Terrace and rejuvenate yourself in the soothing atmosphere of Pera Spa. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Pera Palas Hotel