The Four Seasons is indisputably the most charming place in Istanbul. Nothing is left to chance in this old restored prison: neither decor, nor service. An excellent place to enjoy top-class service in the heart of one of the most beautiful historical sites in the old town.
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The Four Seasons is ideally located in the heart of the historical centre of Sultanahmet, only a few feet from the Blue Mosque, the Saint-Sophie Mosque and the Topkapi Palace. Allow 25 minutes for the transfer to the airport (11 miles).
The standard and superior rooms are all located on the ground floor of the hotel. They are large (538 ft²) and they are as well decorated as the communal areas. They have air conditioning and are comfortably equipped: satellite TV, video player, two direct phone lines, and a fax or modem connection, mini bar, safe, CD player and radio alarm. The bathrooms are large and very comfortable. There you will find a bathtub, a shower cabin, toilet with telephone (semi-separate), a hair-dryer, a make-up mirror and combs. The decor is also refined: the washbasin is set within a nice small piece of wooden furniture with a marble top. The Deluxe rooms are located in the corners of the building on the upper floors with a view over the monuments of Sultanahmet (2nd and 3rd floor). We loved their brightness (4 windows) and the large window above the bathtub.
Istanbul's Four Seasons was built in 1996 on the site of the old prison of Istanbul, which was itself built in 1917. The neoclassical exterior of the prison has been preserved exactly as it was (same buildings, same painting on the façade and same rib-shaped windows). By contrast, the interior has been redone. The walls of the cells were destroyed in order to make way for the communal areas as well as 54 double rooms (standard, superior or Deluxe) and 11 suites. Of the prison, there remains only the director's bureau (arranged as a suite), the yard's marble stairway, the surveillance towers (where lifts are located today), some tiling in the decor and the inscriptions of a prisoner on a marble column. The hotel's decor is very original: the Ottoman style rubs shoulders with modernism, while marble and ceramics are combined with wood. All the colours and pieces of the decor have been chosen with taste and harmony to make this a very refined hotel. On the ground floor there is a bar with three rooms: the lounge, the blue room (very nice) and the winter garden. On the top floor of the hotel, two large terraces offer a very beautiful view over the mosques of Sultanahmet and the Princes' islands. Unfortunately they have not been equipped with a bar. But nothing stops you from ordering a drink on the ground floor and coming to drink it here.
Food and drink
The restaurant of the hotel is in the old yard where the prisoners used to go for a walk. Possibly the only downside of the Four Seasons. The metal structure and the half-smoked glaze of this "kiosk" do not really match the rest of the buildings. Fortunately, the nice gardens, coloured with flowerbeds and fed by the fountains song, soften the place and make it charming. The paved path that surrounds the kiosk is very nice for eating outside when it is nice. All meals are served a la carte. At breakfast you can choose a la carte and/or one of the four menus (American, continental, Turkish or diet). The lunch menu offers a choice of 9 starters, 9 main courses and 5 fruit desserts. For dinner you will have plenty of choice: a gourmet menu, a menu with Turkish specialities and a menu with international dishes (7 starters, 4 soups, 5 types of pasta, 8 main courses and 8 fruit or chocolate desserts). The wine list is amazing: Almost all the world wines are represented here: Turkish, Australian, American, Chilean and French, of course (Château Neuf du Pape, Pouilly fumé, Sancerre, Chablis, Tokay...).
Every Sunday, the restaurant provides a large and copious buffet for brunch. It is a very attractive place, even for non residents in the hotel. The hotel is planning to expand by adding rooms and restaurants in a new building next to the original building.
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