Four Seasons Hotel, The Bosphorus, Istanbul

East meets west in dazzling splendour

It's perhaps surprising that this year's European Capital of Culture should sit astride two continents. But stand on the terrace of this 19th-century Ottoman palace, once known as Atik Pasha, and you can gaze from Istanbul's European heart across the Bosphorus strait to the city's Asian shores, barely a kilometre away.

Home to the Four Seasons since June 2008, the palace is one of a number of opulent waterside residences known as yalis that are sprinkled along both banks of the Bosphorus. Some are so close to the water, the waves lick up against their walls.

The dusky pink three-storey Atik Pasha is not quite as over-the-top as the neighbouring Dolmabahçe Palace (the largest palace in Turkey, built in 1856 as the main summer residence of the famously profligate Ottoman Sultan Abdulmedjid). But it still impresses with its scale and situation.

On arrival at the hotel, in spite of the opulent entrance hall's chandeliers and highly polished marble floors, your gaze is immediately drawn to the other side of the building, towards the shimmering Bosphorus strait. The hotel has 190m of private waterfront. Outside, a vast marble terrace – features a fountain and gardens, as well as a bar, the waterside Mediterranean Aqua restaurant and a swimming pool with umbrellas and sun-loungers.

At night, the terrace is dramatically lit with flaming torches, while the illuminated Bosphorus Bridge, linking east and west, twinkles in the background.

Location

The hotel teeters on the edge of the Bosphorus in the district of Besiktas. There are plenty of sightseeing and dining opportunities close to the hotel along the water's edge and in the hills behind. The area is full of fine Ottoman relics and Byzantine churches, while Bebek, one of the city's wealthiest neighbourhoods, is a walk away along the waterside.

The Old City, where many of Istanbul's principle historic sites, including the Bazaar Quarter, Hagia Sofia, the Blue Mosque and the Topkapi Palace, are about a 20-minute drive away (although this depends on the traffic, which is frequently at a standstill).

A far better idea is to take to the water on either the private shuttle that links the Four Seasons with its sister property, the Four Seasons Istanbul at Sultanahmet, in a converted neo-classical prison in the heart of the Old City; or on one of the public ferries from the nearby Besiktas pier.

Comfort

There are 141 guest rooms and 25 suites. The historic main building is flanked by two contemporary wings, which seem a little out of step with the surroundings. Rooms in the palace are the most sought-after, with head-on views of the water, where you can watch myriad boats and ships silently sliding past your windows at all times of the day and night.

Although hard to fault the luxury quotient – particularly the dreamy beds – décor-wise, don't expect an Iznik-tiled Turkish delight. Instead, it's all tastefully restrained with a contemporary twist. There are varying shades of coffee and aqua blue, billowing silk curtains, mahogany furniture and Turkish accents in the form of embroidered cushions, mirrors, subtle ceiling decorations and framed antique prints. Bathrooms, which all have a separate bath and shower, are wall-to-wall marble with kilim-scattered floors.

There is also an extensive spa replete with no fewer than three Turkish hammams that are a far more luxurious prospect than the usual paradigm you'll find elsewhere in the city.

Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at the Bosphorus, Ciragan Caddesi 28, Besiktas, Istanbul, Turkey (00 90 212381 4000; fourseasons.com/bosphorus )

Rooms 5 stars
Value 3 stars
Service 4 stars

Doubles start at €324, room only.

Suggested Topics
News
news

Emergency call 'started off dumb, but got pretty serious'

News
people

Britain First criticised for using actress's memory to draw attention to their 'hate-filled home page'

Arts and Entertainment
JK Rowling is releasing a new Harry Potter story about Dolores Umbridge
booksJK Rowling to publish new story set in wizard's world for Halloween
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has refused to deny his involvement in the upcoming new Star Wars film
filmBenedict Cumberbatch reignites those Star Wars rumours
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Russell Brand was in typically combative form during his promotional interview with Newsnight's Evan Davis
people

Thought you'd seen it all after the Jeremy Paxman interview?

Arts and Entertainment
On The Apprentice, “serious” left the room many moons ago and yet still we watch
tv

Greatest mystery about the hit BBC1 show is how it continues to be made at all, writes Grace Dent

News
i100
Life and Style
tech

Voices
Funds raised from the sale of poppies help the members of the armed forces with financial difficulties
voicesLindsey German: The best way of protecting soldiers is to stop sending them into conflicts
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from David Ayer's 'Fury'
film

"History is violent," says the US Army tank commander Don "Wardaddy" Collier

Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Junior Application Support Engineer (ERP / SSRS)

    £23000 - £30000 per annum + pension, 25days holiday: Ashdown Group: An industr...

    IT Systems Analyst / Application Support Engineer (ERP / SSRS)

    £23000 - £30000 per annum + pension, 25days holiday: Ashdown Group: An industr...

    SCRUM Master

    £30 - 50k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a SCRUM Master to joi...

    Franchise Support Assistant

    £13,520: Recruitment Genius: As this role can be customer facing at times, the...

    Day In a Page

    Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

    Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

    Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
    Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

    Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

    The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
    New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

    New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

    Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
    Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

    Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

    The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
    DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

    Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

    Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
    The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

    Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

    The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
    Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

    Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

    The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
    11 best sonic skincare brushes

    11 best sonic skincare brushes

    Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
    Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

    Paul Scholes column

    I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
    Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

    Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

    While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
    Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

    Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

    Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

    A crime that reveals London's dark heart

    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
    Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

    Lost in translation: Western monikers

    Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
    Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

    Handy hacks that make life easier

    New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
    KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

    KidZania: It's a small world

    The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker