Converted from a 19th-century four-storey townhouse, the Ibrahim Pasha is the ideal place to stay for first-time visitors to Istanbul. The rooms are well-equipped and comfortable and are decorated in a contemporary-with-a-twist of Ottoman style. And there are minarets and domes aplenty on show from the rooftop terrace.
A writer’s view, by Thomas Roueché
The Ibrahim Pasha Hotel is the thinking person’s Sultanahmet boutique hotel. With an elegant interior design that riffs off Orientalist tropes, and bookshelves aplenty, it creates an erudite oasis of calm in the centre of Istanbul’s historic district. Tucked up a narrow alleyway off the ancient Hippodrome, facing onto the Museum of Turkish and Islamic art housed in the marvel of 16th-century Ottoman architecture that is the Ibrahim Pasha Palace, the hotel is understated and chic.
The standard rooms are intimate and cosy, while the deluxe suites offer storage space and luxurious divan-sofas. All come with huge bathrooms with acres of marble panelling and fixtures; some have baths that look like plunge pools. This is a hotel that thrives on detail: chairs are scattered with traditionally upholstered yastıks, or cushions; the lampshades are printed with details from Orientalist paintings, and historical etchings pepper the walls.
Perhaps the hotel’s most charming features are its public spaces. From a chic roof terrace with elegant tiles and an excellent bar, to a cosy library with a fireplace that roars into life in the winters, the Ibrahim Pasha manages to combine the best elements of a house visit with the discreet charm of a boutique hotel. The low-key concierge services are fantastic. Whether making reservations or advising on boat times, the employees are extremely well versed in how to get the most out of the city.
Breakfast, meanwhile, offers a comforting range from the Turkish to Continental. Village bread is flown in from Bolu, and accompanied by jams and preserves. Cereals, juices and fruit are in abundance, and served in the charming dining room.
With comfortable chairs in the lobby and the library, and the walls and tables peopled with books, it almost feels a shame to leave the cosiness of the Ibrahim Pasha; but with such a convenient location, Istanbul is right at your feet.