When I was researching where to stay in Istanbul, the Pera Palace Hotel kept coming up, time and time again. It was simply fate – even before I discovered the writers legacy living between the perfectly manicured walls.
I have to apologise in advance for the photo dump, but it was such a breathtaking hotel that I couldn’t resist. This was a break we took awhile ago, so apologies for the grainy photos – but a timeless 5-star hotel like this won’t have changed in the interim (though my camera equipment has gotten much, much better.)
In their own words: “Pera Palace Hotel is more than just one of the Turkey’s most elegant hotels; it is a historic monument that represents the character, style and spirit of Istanbul.
We greet our guests in Pera (Beyoğlu) with our 127 years of experience. Pera Palace Hotel offers excellent leisure with diverse, art-driven places that culminate in a warm crescendo… elegantly displaying the historical sense of Istanbul.”
The passengers of the Orient Express, a very luxurious train that traveled from Paris to Istanbul after an 80-hour journey in 1888, were usually high-class bureaucrats, writers, and rich people. The construction of the Pera Palace Hotel was comissioned as they needed needed luxurious accommodation.
Our ‘Deluxe Golden Horn Side King Room’ was superb. Every detail in the room was elegant, plush and so very comfortable.
The marble lined bathroom was both clever and practical; modern meets tradition.
To give you a proper idea of the immense shower…
We weren’t quite brave enough to try the in-hotel spa Hamman experience, opting to relax in our bathrobes instead…
…but you’ll understand when you see the view framed by our French balcony. It was intoxicating both in the pastel morning and the deep twilight.
In the 126-year history of the hotel, there have been many prominent people who have stayed. Agatha Christie, Alfred Hitchcock, Queen Elizabeth II, Greta Garbo, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Shah Reza Pehlevi and many actors, directors, politicians and writers. Also, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, Shah of Iran Reza Pehlevi, King of Great Britain Edward VIII, King Pierre of Serbia, German Ambassador Von Papen, and American First Lady Jacquelin Kennedy.
Agatha Christie stayed here many times during her travels through 1926-1932. Her often preferred room 411 (below) was converted into a museum after a while and is still being visited by enthusiasts like myself. When we checked in, we simply asked if we could see the room, and miraculously no-one else had booked it.
In 1926, the writer had disappeared for 11 days. According to claims, the author was staying at the Pera Palace Hotel during this time. After the death of the author, Tamara Rand, a famous psychic, claimed that the details of the time when the author disappeared were hidden in her room at the Pera Palace Hotel.
Later, in the author’s room, a key was found to reveal the secret of her 11 lost days, at the spot described by the psychic. However, due to the disagreement between hotel management and Warner Bros. who wanted to make a movie from this story, this mystery has never been solved.
Literary works that Pera Palace Hotel is included are as follows: Ernest Hemingway’s The Snows of Kilimanjaro, Graham Greene’s Travels With My Aunt, Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express.
Breakfast was a delicious array of local and international favourites (including doughnuts!)…
…was served each morning in the opulent dining room.
It was like walking through the pages of a perfectly gilded tome – but in a way that wasn’t aloof. We felt so comfortable relaxing in the lounges with a cocktail, admiring the ornate rooms.
We made the right choice when choosing where to stay in Istanbul – The Pera Palace was wonderful. A jewelled home for a few nights.
Opened in 1895 with an exceptional ball, the hotel was one of the most brilliant buildings in Istanbul. The hotel was the first building in the Ottoman Empire to be powered by electricity, other than the Ottoman Palaces. It was also the only place in the city to accommodate hot running water for its guests and was home to the first electric lift in Istanbul.
The Hotel is 36 km from Istanbul New Airport and 5 km from the Historical Peninsula, and the location is within walking distance of Istiklal Street and Taksim Square.
We loved exploring Istanbul, both from the Ritz-Carlton Hotel and the Pera Palace Hotel, then Cappadocia from our cave hotel. The Pera Palace was marginally closer to the centre of Istanbul, but both were so easily accessible via taxi and pubic transport. They were just wonderful. [To book your own hotel stay at the Pera Palace, feel free to use my booking.com affiliate link at no extra cost to you.]
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