Pera Palace Hotel in Istanbul, Turkey

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Updated: August 13, 2020

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Review of Pera Palace Hotel in Istanbul, Turkey.

Pera Palace Hotel – Step back in time at this iconic hotel in the heart of Beyoglu.

Sleep in the same digs favored by Agatha Christie, Ian Flemming, Alfred Hitchcock, Jacqueline Kennedy, and many, many more luminaries at this legendary hotel. Opened in 1895 as Istanbul’s first luxury hotel (for, among other clients, passengers on the Orient Express), much of the décor remains the same, including the mahogany and wrought iron electric elevator that was the first in Istanbul and the second in Europe. Seven stories of rooms encircle a lounge, lit by majestic crystal chandeliers and six Ottoman-style domes that filter in daylight. It’s not hard to imagine yourself as a dignitary from another era when here. To feel like Agatha Christie, in particular, book her favorite room, 411.

Pera Palace Hotel – Location

  • Address: Meşrutiyet Caddesi No:52, Tepebaşı Beyoğlu/İstanbul.
  • Nearest Metro/Subway: Tünel funicular (0.2 mile, 5-minute walk), Sishane Metro (0.2 mile, 4-minute walk).
  • Area: In a busy, posh, and international-feeling fringe of Beyoglu, and an easy walk to tons of restaurants, bars, shops, and entertainment. You can hop on the Metro to get to the Sultanahmet historical district in just under half an hour or take the old and fun funicular at Tünel that links to the tram in Karaköy and gets you there in around 35 minutes.
  • How to Get There: It’s easy to take the Metro or funicular from here. The hotel can also arrange taxis and drivers.
  • Handy to: Pera Museum, Istiklal Avenue, Galata Tower

Pera Palace Hotel – The Basics

  • Ages: Guests of all ages stay here, although the majority are in the over-40 range. Children are welcome.
  • View: Rooms have views of the city and some out to the water.
  • Private Pools/Jacuzzis: Indulge in a Turkish bath experience at a beautiful and intimate marble hamam or have a soak in a jet stream tub.
  • Parking: Parking garage on the premises.
  • Extras: Many rooms at the hotel have interesting histories. Room 101, preferred by Atatürk who is considered to be the father of modern Turkey, has been turned into a museum and is a beautiful time capsule of early 20th-century Istanbul.
  • When to Book: April through June are busy and require booking a month or so ahead, but the annual New Year’s Eve celebration means that end of December through early January can be booked up months in advance. At other times of the year, a few weeks’ advance booking should be fine unless you have a particular room in mind (the Agatha Christie room, for example, is very popular).
  • How to Book: Booking.com will have the best rates.
  • Phone: +90 212 377 4000
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Website: perapalace.com

Pera Palace Hotel – Amenities

  • Spa: The beautiful Pera Spa offers an array of massages and treatments, including the Greta Garbo Beauty Package (yes, she was another esteemed guest) that includes a massage and facial.
  • Pool: There’s a small indoor swimming pool in the spa area that’s more for a dip rather than swimming laps.
  • Fitness Center: The fitness center is small but fairly well-equipped with an assortment of machines and weights.
  • For Disabled Guests: There are no specifically designed wheelchair accessible rooms but the wide hallways and good lifts make it reasonably easy for those with limited mobility.
  • For Families: There are extra beds for free. Babysitting services are also available.

Pera Palace Hotel – Food and Drink

  • Restaurants: Agatha Restaurant (named after Agatha Christie, of course) is the hotel’s main fine dining venue and features French, Italian, and Turkish cuisines. $$$. • During the summer, the outdoor Orient Terrace is the more popular choice with its bistro tables and views of the Golden Horn. You can also just get a snack or a drink here. $$.
  • Lounge/Bar: British-style high tea is served daily from 3-6pm in the maroon velvet-clad Kubbeli Saloon Tea Lounge, at the center of the hotel and to the tune of live piano music. Drinking a cocktail in the iconic Orient Bar is a must.
  • Café: For something sweet or an afternoon break, the delightfully pink Patisserie de Pera serves confections as sugary as the setting with specialties from around the world.
  • Breakfast: A buffet breakfast with Turkish and a few international choices are served at the Agatha Restaurant and at Orient Terrace in the summer.
  • Room Service: 24-hour room service available.

Pera Palace Hotel – Rooms

  • Room Types: Deluxe Pera Side Room • Deluxe Golden Horn Side Room • Grand Pera Studio Room • Greta Garbo Room • Agatha Christie Room • Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Room • Ernest Hemingway Suite • Pierre Loti Suite • Senior Suite • Mata Hari Suite • Alfred Hitchcock Suite • Presidential Suite
  • Smoking Rooms: Pera Palace Hotel is 100% smoke-free.
  • Best Room: The Presidential Suite with balcony is named after Austro-Hungarian Emperor Franz Joseph, and you might feel like him (or at least his close kin) if you stay here. The space is massive and the furnishings opulent, but it’s the floor to ceiling windows with views over the Golden Horn and a terrace from which to enjoy the views even more that seal the deal. Those with smaller budgets and a penchant for literature will love any of the 5 Earnest Hemingway Suites or the most famous room, the 411 Agatha Christie Room.
  • For Families: There are several family rooms and cots are available at no extra cost.

Pera Palace Hotel – Local Transport

  • Walking: The hotel is in the heart of Beyoglu with restaurants, bars, cafes, and museums mere minutes away on foot.
  • Subway, Metro, and Bus: The Tünel funicular stop is a 5-minute walk (0.2 mile) and the Sishane Metro station is 4 minutes (0.2 mile) away on foot. Both can help you get nearly anywhere in the city.
  • Taxis, Uber, Lyft: Uber operates in Istanbul, or the hotel can call you a reliable taxi.

Pera Palace Hotel – What’s Nearby?

Recommended Tours

Best Nearby Restaurants

  • Meze by Lemon Tree – This very popular restaurant specializes in modern Turkish fare served in a slick dining area. 1-minute walk (50m).
  • Eleos – Blink and you’re in Greece at this upstairs restaurant swathed in blues and whites and serving delicious Greek food. The view over the Bosphorus makes it particularly romantic. 3-minute walk (0.1 mile).
  • Antiochia – Specializing in dishes from Antakya in southeastern Turkey, the food here is exceptional and enjoyed in a modern, convivial setting. 4-minute walk (0.2 mile).
  • Sofyali 9 – Known for its delicious mezes, jovial locals flock here on weekends, but weeknights you should be able to get a table. 4-minute walk (0.2 mile).
  • Kafe Ara – Hidden just enough off Istiklal Avenue to feel relaxed, this casual, slightly Parisian-feeling café spreads out over the pavement and offers a selection of salads, Turkish food, sandwiches, and more. 7-minute walk (0.3 mile).
  • Dürümzade – Made famous by a visit by Anthony Bourdain, the dürüm here is still good, though perhaps not as good as when Tony came by. That said, it’s friendly, well-priced, and a good stop for a quick and delicious meal. 8-minute walk (0.4 mile).
  • Hayvore – This old fashioned, very reasonably priced lokanta-style place serves ready-made Black Sea cuisine including soups, pizzas, and pilafs. 9-minute walk (0.4 mile).
  • Cuma – The breakfasts here are a modern, healthy, and luxurious version of Turkish breakfast spread that’s served in a garden terrace or in the boho chic interior. 11-minute walk (0.5 mile).
  • Dandin Karaköy – Cool café-style eatery serving pizzas and sandwiches to start and some absolutely decadent cakes and pastries to finish. 13-minute walk (0.6 mile).
  • Karaköy Güllüoglu – The most renowned baklava in Istanbul, with a huge selection. 15-minute walk (0.7 mile).
  • Van Kahvalti Evi – Famous for their Turkish breakfasts, this friendly, down-home neighborhood café is a favorite with locals. 16-minute walk (0.6 mile).

Best Nearby Cafés

Best Nearby Bars and Breweries

  • Mikla – Elegant rooftop bar and restaurant, atop the Marmara Pera hotel and with the best view in town. 1-minute walk (25m).
  • 360 – A lovely place for a chic sunset cocktail with an outstanding view. If you stay late on Fridays and Saturdays, it turns into a hip dance club. 5-minute walk (0.3 mile).
  • Corner Irish Pub – Always busy and always fun, get a pint of Guinness and classic pub food here alongside all the revelry that entails. 6-minute walk (0.3 mile).
  • Solera – A great place to sample Turkish wines. Over 100 of them are served by the glass at this warm and inviting spot. 7-minute walk (0.3 mile).
  • Unter – Grab a cocktail and bite to eat at one of the bars that pioneered hip, located in now very-hip Karaköy. 13-minute walk (0.6 mile).
  • Smyrna – Find the bohemian side of the city here. Drink a glass of wine or a cocktail and discuss art and literature. 17-minute walk (0.7 mile).

Nearby Clubs, Cinemas and Live Music

  • Borusan Art – Enjoy performances of classical, jazz, and other music from around the world at this fine music hall. 3-minute walk (0.1 mile).
  • Galata Mevlevi Museum – Come see a whirling dervish performance in this spectacular hall built in the 15th century. 5-minute walk (0.3 mile).
  • Salon – All kinds of live music is performed here – and it’s usually amazing. There are also dance and theater performances as well as occasional conferences and talks. 5-minute walk (0.3 mile).
  • Nardis Jazz Club – The best place for live jazz in Istanbul has performances by everyone from up and comers to big names. Book in advance if you want a table. 9-minute walk (0.4 mile).
  • Baska Sinema – Art house and experimental films are screened at this beloved cinema. 17-minute walk (0.8 mile).

Nearby Shopping and Cool Shops

  • Misela – Lauded, classic, and very stylish handbags by local designer Serra Türker. 3-minute walk (0.1 mile).
  • Denizler Kitabevi – Charming book, map, art, and postcard store right on Istiklal Avenue. 4-minute walk (0.1 mile).
  • Hiç – Gorgeous shop selling homeware and crafts by top Turkish designers. 10-minute walk (0.5 mile).
  • Mephisto – There’s a great ambiance at this book and music store. The helpful staff can direct you to Turkish artists and there’s a café upstairs. 10-minute walk (0.5 mile).
  • Ali Muhiddin Haci Bekir – The place to buy Turkish delight. This is where the locals go. 12-minute walk (0.6 mile).
  • Alaturca House – This is the best antique shop in an area known for antique shops. Find beautiful kilims, furniture, textiles, and much more in this dreamy spot. 13-minute walk (0.6 mile).
  • Nahil – Buy all your soaps, Turkish crafts, and children’s toys here, all made by disadvantaged women in Turkey’s rural areas. 14-minute walk (0.7 mile).

Nearby Attractions

  • Pera Museum – You’ll find excellent exhibits of 17th to 20th-century Ottoman art as well as changing, modern exhibits of international standards. 2-minute walk (0.1 mile).
  • Museum of Turkish Jews – An interactive museum full of videos, sound recordings, photos, and more that lead you through the fascinating history of Turkey’s Sephardic Jewish population. 7-minute walk (0.4 mile).
  • Galata Tower – This 70m, circa 1348 tower defines the Istanbul skyline, and you can go to the top for fine views out over Old Town and the Marmara Sea. You can find better views at rooftop bars and the queues to get into the tower are long, but it is a thrill to be inside one of the city’s iconic landmarks. 8-minute walk (0.4 mile).
  • Istiklal Avenue – This impressively busy, grand, and mile-long pedestrian street is lined with shops and restaurants – some international and others local. It leads to Taksim Square, a transport hub surrounded by high-end hotels, fast food restaurants, and important buildings such as the Opera House. 9-minute walk (0.4 mile).
  • The Museum of Innocence – A unique museum that parallels Pulitzer-Prize-winning writer Orhan Pamuk’s novel, The Museum of Innocence. The museum is both, a moving glimpse into Istanbul in the last half of the 20th century, and a romantic romp through the storyline of the novel itself. If you haven’t yet read the book (it’s excellent), you can buy one on the premises. 10-minute walk (0.4 mile).
  • Çukurcuma Hamam – Less grand than Kilic Ali Pasa but elegant, newly renovated, lesser known, and more economical, this is one of the city’s best hamams. It’s also one of the only ones whose baths are open to men and women at the same time. 11-minute walk (0.5 mile).
  • Kiliç Ali Pasa Hamam – This is the most luxurious hamam in Istanbul and it took over 7 years to restore its glory. The service is very professional and a treatment here will make you feel like Byzantine royalty. 12-minute walk (0.5 mile).
  • Basilica Cistern – The largest surviving Byzantine cistern in Istanbul is a dark, cool respite from the city streets. Walkways lead by subtly-lit columns to the Medusa head column base. 25 minutes by public transport (2 miles).
  • The Blue Mosque – Easily the most photogenic building in the city, the best way to take in the elegant domes and minarets of this mosque are by walking towards it from the Hippodrome. The interior isn’t as breath taking but is worth a visit. 25 minutes by public transport (2 miles).
  • Hagia Sophia – The history here is incredible: consecrated as a church in 537 AD, converted to a mosque in 1453, and made into a museum in 1935. The interior inspires audible gasps. Don’t miss the mosaics on the upper level. 25 minutes by public transport (2 miles).
  • Topkapi Palace – This ornate, grand complex was the court of the Ottoman Empire from the 15th to 19th centuries, and vies with Hagia Sophia as the city’s top sight. It’s a huge place, so give it at least a half day, and don’t hesitate to pay a little extra to get into the harem with its hallways, exquisite tiles, and fascinating history. 30 minutes by public transport (2.5 miles).

Nearby Markets or Grocery Stores

Pera Palace Hotel – The Hotel

The hotel has a grand entrance.

The grand entrance to the Pera Palace Hotel feels a bit Parisian and the formal welcome gives the feel of a golden era.

The Orient Terrace is very popular in the summer.

In the summer, the Orient Terrace is the place to be.

Orient Bar serves afternoon tea.

You can also sit in the Orient Bar for afternoon tea.

The Orient Bar is very opulent.

It just feels like you might meet a spy or a famous actor at the opulent Orient Bar.

The Tea Lounges ceiling is magnificent.

The ceiling over the Kubbeli Saloon Tea Lounge with its domes and chandeliers is a sight to behold.

The entrance is magnificent.

Even the entrance area of the hotel is gasp-worthy. Service is formal but with a smile.

The Presidential Suite is huge.

The Presidential Suite is sized like a giant apartment.

The suite's terrace offers great views.

Views from the terrace of the Presidential Suite look out over the city and Golden Horn.

The bedroom is very luxurious.

The luxurious bedroom area of the Presidential Suite.

The floors overlook the domes of the tea lounge.

Several floors of the hotel are above the domes that act as a ceiling for the Kubbeli Tea Saloon and the space opens up into a bright, atrium-like feel.

The Hemmingway Suite bed is very comfortable.

The bed in the Hemmingway Suite will make you awaken to all sorts of adventurous inspirations.

The sitting are is very spacious.

This sitting area is a lovely spot to read “The Hills of Kilimanjaro”, perhaps.

The bathroom has a standalone tub.

Bathe like Hemmingway (hopefully) did in this claw foot tub.

Bathrooms feature Italian marble.

All the bathrooms are elegantly decked out in Italian marble.

The common areas have original furniture.

Even the details of the terrace common areas have beautiful details – check out the mother of pearl inlay in that commode.

The Agatha Christie Room is warm and comfortable.

The bedroom of the Agatha Christie Room has a warm and comfortable, yet slightly mysterious air.

The room has a shrine to the author.

A shrine to Agatha in the Agatha Christie Room will make you ponder the mysteries of preparing tea or coffee.

The hotel has the world's second electric elevator.

Taking a ride in the second electric elevator in Europe (the first was at the Eiffel Tower) is a must.

Patisserie de Pera is very classy.

Patisserie de Pera is the most pink, sparkly, and classy place you’ll ever set foot in.

360 Istanbul Bar offers fantastic views.

Turn left out the front door of the hotel, turn right at the Grand Hotel de Londres, then take your first left, cross over, and take the elevator up to 360 Istanbul bar and its gorgeous views.

Mikla rooftop restaurant offers great views.

Turn left out the hotel door, cross the street, and you’ll see the Mamara Pera Hotel on the corner. Get in the elevator and push the button for the rooftop Mikla bar.

Balya grocery shop sells organic products.

Need something for that special diet or just craving organic produce? It’s a short walk past arty shops and interesting street life to get to the wonderful little Balya grocery shop.

Hayvore is a popular local-style cafe.

You can choose to take a couple of routes to the very local Hayvore eatery, but the most direct leads you down Istiklal Avenue.

Van Kahvalti cafe is very popular with locals.

Istanbul locals concur that Van Kahvalti cafe in the Cihangir neighborhood is the best spot for an affordable Turkish breakfast. It’s worth burning some calories on the short walk through charming old streets to get here.

Sok is a convenient supermarket nearby.

To get supermarket essentials, turn right out the door of the hotel and head towards Galata Tower to reach Sok.

Smyrna is great for a glass of wine.

For a bohemian vibe and sipping wine on a sidewalk café, you can’t beat Smyrna in the Cihangir neighborhood.

The stunning Hagia Sophia is a must-visit.

Hop on the Sishane Metro and transfer to the T1 tram to get to the Sultanahmet historic area and the stunning Hagia Sophia.

Cuma Cafe is known for its breakfast.

Serving arguably Istanbul’s best breakfast, walk through back lanes to this art neighborhood and the garden Cuma Cafe.

Museum of Innocence has a display of cigarette butts.

The unusual and beguiling Museum of Innocence is where you’ll be greeted by 4,213 cigarette butts smoked by narrator Kemal’s beloved Füsun.

Karakoy Gulluoglu serves amazing baklava.

You can walk to the temple of Istanbul baklava, Karakoy Gulluoglu, or if you need it immediately, hop on the funicular.

Dandin serves great light meals and desserts.

A brisk walk downhill takes you to Dandin in a very hip and lively area of Karaköy.

Cruise boats depart from the Eminonu Pier.

You can catch a Bosphorus river cruise from the Eminonu Pier.

Galata Tower is an iconic landmark.

Walk through some of the more ancient-feeling lanes in Istanbul to reach Galata Tower, a landmark and icon.

Nardis Jazz Club is very popular.

On the way toward Galata Tower is the hip and happening Nardis Jazz Club.

You can see whirling dervishes at Galata Mevlevi Museum.

It’s a quick walk down to Istiklal Avenue, then to the right, to see whirling dervishes at the gorgeous Galata Mevlevi Museum.

Sofyali Cafe offers great food and outdoor seating.

A couple of minutes through the lanes from the hotel brings you to great food and outdoor sidewalk tables at Sofyali Cafe.

Eleos is a classy Greek restaurant.

Craving Greek food? Walk straight downhill to Istiklal Avenue, cross the pedestrian street, and look for the small sign saying “Eleos” on a discreet doorway. Take the elevator up and you’ll be greeted by beautiful views and classy seating.

Antiochia is one of Istanbul's best restaurants.

One of the city’s best restaurants, Antiochia, is just a few steps away.

Meze by Lemon Tree is a top restaurant.

You can get a meal at one of the city’s top restaurants, Meze by Lemon Tree, literally across the street from Pera Palace Hotel.

Pera Museum is one of the city's best museums.

Turn left out the door and you’ll get to Pera Museum, arguably the top museum in the city.

Corner Irish Pub is very popular.

The happening Corner Irish Pub close by is great for grabbing a pint of Guinness.

The Casual Cafe Ara offers streetside seating.

Take a break from the crowds along Istiklal Avenue, or get some work done alongside a light lunch at Café Ara.

Dürümzade was highly recommended by Bourdain.

It was good enough for Anthony Bourdain so it should be good enough for everybody. Grab a quick and complete meal at Dürümzade, left from the hotel.

Topkapi Palace's harem is a must-visit.

There are several ways to get to Topkapi Palace via public transport, the most fun but not the quickest way being the funicular and then transferring to the tram. When there, don’t miss the harem.

The Basilica Cistern has a cool Medusa pillar.

To reach Basilica Cistern and its cool Medus pillar, you can take a number of routes on public transport.

The Blue Mosque is a must-visit.

Getting to the Blue Mosque and surrounding area by public transport is a breeze.

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