Swissôtel Istanbul – The Bosphorus
Swissôtel celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2011 but it’s still scooping up awards for luxury and service, if not cutting-edge design. This big-brand establishment is also a hotel of choice for low-key potentates and visiting royalty – the more blingtastic of sovereigns prefer the Çiragan Palace or the Four Seasons. Swissôtel is located just up from the water on a wooded hilltop, and many of its 500 five-star rooms boast truly magnificent skyline views over the Bosphorus. Amenities include 14 different restaurants, Turkish baths, spas, saunas, fitness centres, an indoor pool, tennis courts, a jogging path (extremely rare in the city), etc. Be aware that this enviable list of comforts is housed in a luxuriously anonymous hotel where the usual chintzy interior abounds; the marble décor throughout leads to the assumption that several marble quarries have quite possibly been emptied to fit out the hotel.