There’s nothing quite like waking up and enjoying a traditional Turkish breakfast next to the blue waters of Istanbul’s famous strait. There’s no doubt that the shores along the Bosphorus offer some of Istanbul’s most celebrated scenery. One of the finest hotels on the Bosphorus is the Çırağan Palace, which happens to be right on the water’s edge. This opulent building was once the residence of the Sultan, and these days its luxury suites offer you a stay you’ll never forget.
Stepping into the palace is almost like stepping back in time to the heyday of the Ottoman Empire. You find a veritable feast of Turkish cuisine to choose from. Tuğra Restaurant serves traditional Turkish food fit for a sultan, and there’s a place waiting for you at his table. The incredible dishes on the menu include a 500-year-old classic of Ottoman cuisine: İskilip Dolması, which is a dish of roasted meat served over a bed of bulgur pilaf. You might prefer to try Teşrifat-ı Naim Efendi, a fillet of beef wrapped in paper and oven-roasted, served with buttered rice and yogurt. You can indulge your sweet tooth in traditional style too, with sakızlı muhallebi (a milky dessert flavored with mastic), rose sherbet, or almond and clotted cream ice cream. After all this, treat yourself to an authentic Turkish bath or hamam and enjoy a rejuvenating body scrub.
Another of Istanbul’s fantastic hotels on the Bosphorus is the Four Seasons Hotel Bosphorus, which is also located on the central Çırağan Avenue. Guests can sit and dream the day away as they watch the ships and ferries drift along the water. The hotel’s renowned Aqua restaurant offers a combination of traditional and modern dishes. Its central location and captivating views make it the perfect spot for dinner, where the menu appeals to your eyes as well as your appetite. Zucchini flowers stuffed with ricotta cheese and a Parmesan and mozzarella tuna confit are just some of the delights on Aqua’s menu. The design of this hotel was also inspired by the Ottoman era, so you’ll find an authentic hamam experience offered in the hotel’s spa as well.
As you look across to the Anatolian side of the city, you see the tastefully understated Ottoman waterfront mansion, which is one of the most stunning buildings lining the strait. If just looking at this beautiful building isn’t enough, then cross over and pay a visit to the small boutique hotel, A’jia, housed inside. The wonderful contrast between the modern interior design and centuries-old architecture makes for an unforgettable experience, and waking up to the sounds of the waves lapping against the shores will make your stay in Istanbul all the more memorable.
As you travel along the water from Kanlıca to Çengelköy, you’ll see an eye-catching building right up against the water. This is the Sumahan on the Water, an old distillery and rakı (anise-flavored Turkish alcoholic drink) factory that was restored and transformed into one of the most acclaimed hotels along the Bosphorus. Situated in the heart of an authentic neighborhood and boasting some of the best views across the water, this hotel is sure to bring out the romantic in you and leave you with memories of Istanbul you’ll never forget. The hotel’s stylish Tapasuma restaurant brings together the tastes of traditional Turkish cooking with Mediterranean flavors and is the perfect place to celebrate a special occasion. Cracked wheat and green onion wrapped in chard leaves, zucchini flowers stuffed with seafood, marinated sea bass, and semolina halva (a Turkish dessert) are just some of the delicious creations on the menu.