Sultan Abdülaziz built the Çiragan Palace in 1874 and committed suicide inside it two years later – possibly because he’d made a mess of his reign, but more probably because he had psychic premonition of the cleaning costs associated with the palace’s magnificently OTT central-tiered atrium (home, incidentally, to the world’s heaviest chandelier). The waterside palace became home of the Ottoman Empire’s nascent parliament before a major fire ushered in a long period of neglect. Now refitted and run to an extraordinarily high standard by hotel kingmakers Kempinski, amenities include a hamam, an amazing outdoor pool that appears to flow into the Bosphorus and several superb restaurants including the award-winning Tugra. Other eateries include the Gazebo Lounge, which serves a highly recommended afternoon tea, and Laledan, which dishes up a stupefyingly rich Sunday Brunch complete with sushi stand and oyster bar. The palace section of the building holds a small history museum and non-guests are invited to wander through. However, a key code and a Lichtenstein bank account are needed to access the Çiragan’s dozen palace suites, which share an additional private lounge and a team of butlers. At 376-square-metres, the Sultan Suite is said to be the third most expensive in Europe. Libya’s mini despot Saif al-Gaddhafi was reportedly a regular, but it seems he won’t be using the suite’s Molton Brown toiletries any time soon.