The 244-room, 5-star Ritz-Carlton Hotel Istanbul soars above Dolmabahçe Palace and the European shore of the Bosphorus (map), affording guests splendid views from all sides (and from many of the rooms).
Many Istanbullus believe the hotel should not have been built here as it changes the skyline so much and distracts from historic Dolmabahçe Palace and Mosque.
Lest you think you can rent a room on the highest floor to enjoy that spectacular view, the upper floors are actually luxury apartments, not part of the hotel proper, so you won't be there.
That being as it is, from the rich colored stone and gleaming brass to the superb training and attentiveness of the excellent staff, the hotel is otherwise deluxe in every regard.
A bonus: east-facing rooms have fantastic views of the Inönü Stadium, home of the Beşiktaş Spor football (soccer) team. On match days, you can see everything better than anyone actually seated in the stadium!
Although the hotel is not far from Taksim Square, the uphill walk along a heavily-trafficked road is not a pleasant one. Most of the time you'll find yourself using taxis to get around. Here's a map:
It's easy to reserve a value-priced private airport transfer to the hotel in a Mercedes-Benz vehicle that costs only slightly more than a taxi, and significantly less than two taxis (which you'll need if you have 4+ people and/or lots of luggage), and far more pleasant, comfortable and trustworthy. More...
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Ritz-Carlton Hotel Istanbul
Asker Ocağı Caddesi No. 15, Elmadağ (map)
80200 Şişli, Istanbul, Turkey
—by Tom Brosnahan