Opened in 1895 to accommodate the pampered travelers arriving aboard the Orient Express, the historic Pera Palace Hotel (Pera Palas Oteli), located in Tepebaşı, Beyoğlu overlooking the Golden Horn (map), holds a unique place in the annals of Istanbul lodging-places.
Extensive renovations completed in 2010 have preserved the hotel's orientalist décor, strongly evocative of fin-de-siècle Constantinople, and brought the hotel's technical systems up to the 21st century while carefully preserving the ambiance and detail of its public rooms and the 115 guest rooms (17 of them suites).
The hotel's other services have likewise been upgraded: the Agatha Restaurant is for upscale dinner, the Brasserie 1892 is less formal, the Orient Bar and Patisserie de Peraprovide drinks and snacks.
Sumptuous formal afternoon tea is served in the central domed hall (Kubbeli Salon) for about TL50 per person.
An elaborate spa and indoor swimming pool provide professionally-assisted relaxation.
The location in the Tepebaşı hotel district is good, 1.6 km (1 mile) southwest of Taksim Square right next to the Palazzo Corpi (formerly the US Consulate-General), where I once took Turkish lessons. More...
Whether you stay here or not, stroll in for a look. If you do so between 3 and 4 pm, you may ask to see Room 101—Atatürk's suite kept as a museum. No charge for the visit.
—by Tom Brosnahan