Ciragan Palace Kempinski in Istanbul: The Former Home of Ottoman Sultans
For any traveler looking to stay in a hotel fit for kings in Istanbul, there's no need to look farther than Kempinski's Ciragan Palace. Once home to Ottoman sultans, the locale is a fitting nominee for a Luxist Award in the best international vacation category.
Built on the European side of the Bosporus by Sultan Abdulaziz between the years of 1863 and 1867, the original Ciragan Palace lasted until 1910, when it was decimated by a fire. The walled-in ruins became a soccer stadium for decades; in 1989, the site was restored to its former glory, with a modern hotel complex built next to the refurbished palace.
Gallery: Ciragan Palace Kempinski Istanbul
Beyond the hotel's walls, Istanbul beckons. The city of 12.6 million is Europe's second-largest metro area, and its streets are filled with attractions accumulated over thousands of years. Highlights include the Hagia Sofia, a millennium-and-a-half-old building converted from cathedral to mosque to museum, as well as the Galata Tower, an ancient edifice that offers panoramic views of Old Istanbul.
Today, the hotel's atrium greets guests with grandeur worthy of a sultan. A vast chandelier hangs from the ornate ceiling; a magnificent white stairway winds between the first and second floors. Visitors who stay in the Palace Suites are greeted by a private butler and ushered to rooms graced by balconies overlooking the water; some also include 65-inch LCD televisions or private steam rooms. The most modest rooms start at about 350 Euros, while the most opulent suites easily exceed 2,000 Euros per night.
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