Situated next to Gülhane Park near Topkapı Palace and the Archeological Museum, Sirkeci Mansion offers a tranquil place to stay in the bustling historic centre. Although it was built in 2007, the hotel’s architecture evokes a sense of Istanbul’s past. The 52 guest rooms are tastefully decorated with rich fabrics and Turkish carpets and provide all the expected comforts including plush bedding, luxury linens and modern bathrooms. For those looking to indulge in a Turkish experience, Sirkeci Mansion has its own hamam. There’s also an indoor pool, fitness centre and sauna. The rooftop terrace offers a wonderful place to relax and enjoy stunning views of Sultanahmet.
A writer’s view, by Pat Yale
History doesn’t get much closer than to Sirkeci Mansion, a lovely, nothing-is-too-much-effort hotel across the road from Gülhane Park, the wonderful green oasis that was once part of the Topkapı Palace gardens. Land one of the topmost rooms and you will be able to eyeball the herons’ nests inside the park from your balcony. At Sirkeci Mansion the comfort of guests is always uppermost in the owner’s mind so you’re guaranteed a warm welcome and all the little extras that add up to a great stay: copies of Time Out Istanbul in the rooms, the hotel’s own four-page newspaper at the breakfast table, a welcoming bowl of lokum (Turkish delight) on arrival, the owner’s phone number in case of an emergency. Rooms are spacious and comfortable with big beds and underfloor heating in the bathrooms. A particular plus is the small swimming pool in the basement, a lifesaver in the heat of high summer. The breakfast spread makes a wonderful introduction to the great Turkish tradition of getting the day off to a good start with a multitude of choices, both hot and cold. In the evening it metamorphoses into a pukka restaurant, again with plenty of choice. An inviting lounge on the ground floor makes the perfect place to down an afternoon çay (tea) while browsing the books in the hotel’s small library. The sights of Sultanahmet are a 10-minute walk uphill, the Bosphorus ferries a 10-minute walk downhill. The tram is a hop and a skip from the front door.
Pat Yale is a writer and journalist based in Cappadocia. She is the co-author of Istanbul – The Ultimate Guide and winner of the 2015 Ancient and Modern Prize for her ongoing project to explore Turkey in the footsteps of Gertrude Bell.