Opened in summer 2005, A’jia was one of the first design hotels on the Istanbul scene. It remains one of the city’s most fabulous, although prices are thankfully a shade lower than some of the more blingy arrivistes. The 16-room establishment occupies a lovely yali (Ottoman wooden mansion) built by Ahmet Rasim Pasa on the Asian shore of the Bosphorus near Kanlica, a village famous for its creamy yoghurts. Not that Ahmet Rasim Pasa would necessarily feel at home if he were to return. The interior has been given a sleek, contemporary and minimalist overhaul, complete with oh-so-glamorous restaurant. White and beige dominate in the cool communal areas, while it’s all about cream furniture and dark wood in the rooms. The hotel’s removed location may be either a major attraction or seriously off-putting, depending on your inclination: although you can get to the Old City or Beyolu by water (nearby ferry or the hotel’s complimentary speedboat), or by taxi over the bridge, it’s clearly not an ideal base for efficient sightseeing. Conversely, the hotel is in a zone of calm, modern luxury away from the hectic city, with spectacular views of the Bosphorus.