Ajwa Hotel Sultanahmet
A stunning façade, with arched windows that glitter at night, hints at the beauty within. Interiors do not disappoint: acres of gleaming marble, silk Tabriz carpets beneath hand-painted ceilings, furniture adorned with mother of pearl, original artwork jostling for attention with elaborate tiles. Despite its grand designs, Ajwa Hotel Sultanahmet has the intimacy unique to a boutique bolthole.
There’s a spa with a Turkish hammam, indoor pool, treatment rooms, steamroom, sauna and snow fountain. A wooden-panelled patisserie on the mezzanine serves up delicious baked treats (ask for the home-made baklava), washed down with aromatic teas. Sumptuous rooms and suites are rooted in a sense of place, with Seljuk motif-inscribed headboards, velvet camel-hair sofas and elaborately tiled bathrooms.
You’re in an excellent location: the Old City is a cultural jigsaw whose layers of history can be pieced together through its Byzantine and Ottoman architecture. A 10-minute walk takes you to all the iconic landmarks, from the dazzling Blue Mosque and mosaic-adorned Hagia Sophia, to the cavernous Basilica Cistern and Topkapı Palace with its mysterious harems. After a day soaking up Istanbul’s charms, return to the rooftop restaurant to see the city from a different perspective – from up high on the top floor.