Visitors to Istanbul come to see East meet West, old meet new. It's a tourism imperative that has been successfully realised at the W Istanbul, which officially opened last week.
The funky luxury brand from American hotel giant Starwood has taken over the Akaretler Row Houses near the Bosphorus, the historic former home of the guards of the Dolmabahce Palace. Inside, Ottoman glamour has been applied to the exotic, even erotic, W signature style: elaborate latticework recalls the screens of a harem, clever paint effects suggest that floors and ceilings are covered in gold.
But it isn't just the look that is of interest. The hotel is the centrepiece of a vast redevelopment of a swathe of the Besiktas district leased by the government to Sidar Bilgili, the Turkish businessman working with Starwood, on the condition that the buildings would be preserved. As well as the hotel, the surrounding streets have been turned into a classy shopping enclave that has already attracted Jimmy Choo and Marc Jacobs. It's a tourism model for the future.
The fusion of styles continues in the 134 rooms, some of which have outdoor space. Cosy beds and showers styled in hammam marble, 32in flat-screen TVs, iPod docks and Wi-Fi are standard.
THE FOOD AND DRINK
Enjoy a drink in Sip, the lobby lounge, or in the main bar, The Living Room, where meals are also served. Dine in Spice Market, by the chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, the Manhattan restaurant's first outing as a brand.
Work out in the gym, Sweat, or relax with a treatment in the Estée Lauder day spa. The Whatever Whenever service aims to meet any other needs.
Children and small pets welcome. One room has been modified for guests with disabilities.
From £319 per room per night. British Airways (0844 493 0787; ba.com) offers return flights to Istanbul from £158.
W Istanbul, Suleyman Seba Cad No 22, Akaretler, Istanbul, Turkey (00800 325 25252; www.whotels.com).