Once a prison, this mustard-yellow Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at Sultanahmet surrounds a landscaped courtyard garden—formerly the exercise yard. The three-story Neoclassical property, with marble staircases, is just a 5-minute stroll from the famed Grand Bazaar and spice market, where you can pick up local goodies like blue and white Iznik ceramics or rugs and work on your bargaining skills. Despite the chain’s polished pedigree, the hotel retains hints of its past, including an inmate’s inscription on a marble pillar and watchtowers capped by minarets that now conceal the elevators. Rooms are warm and beautifully arranged, with headboards and bedposts that recall the dome and minarets of the nearby Blue Mosque, with views of the courtyard. Guests receive access to the Kemer Golf and Country Club and Swissôtel pro-tennis courts, a 45-minute and 25-minute drive, respectively, but you can rely on the concierge to sort out the transportation. While the formal dining at Seasons isn’t anything to write home about, the A’Ya Rooftop Lounge has stunning views of Hagia Sophia that, when illuminated at night, makes up the difference. Take a walk over to the Fish et Meat House for a smorgasbord of styles and foods. Editor's Pick: Gold List 2018
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