The rates at this marble-rich, cabana-lined hotel range from merely expensive to stratospheric. Before the hotel's opening in June 2008, Istanbul's engaged socialites had been vying to be the first to be married on the hotel's regal waterfront terrace.
The honor went to Selim Hamamcioglu, scion to a construction fortune, who married the Brazilian heiress Marcella Batista before an international coterie and a flotilla of paparazzi.
Voted by Travel + Leisure in 2007 as Europe's best hotel, this Turkish neoclassical building located in the heart of Sultanahmet was originally a dilapidated prison for political dissidents. Much of the original marble and tile were retained and recycled into the hotel's present-day, five-star interior design.
Rooms have plush furniture purchased from local vendors; the architect even stayed true to tradition by applying paint as they did in the Ottoman palaces -- with a spatula. The opulent and luxurious bathrooms, all with separate toilet cabin, present a formidable amount of competition for time spent sightseeing, and the king-size beds are amazingly comfy. Plus, almost all of the rooms have views of something fabulous.
The Four Seasons Sultanahmet is also now reaping the rewards of its newly opened sister property, the Four Seasons the Bosphorus.
Guests of this hotel may use the considerable amenities of the other, and it is even possible to divide your stay among the two -- the staff will pack up your room and lay it out in the new space precisely where you left it.