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Four Seasons in One Day in Istanbul

You may have noticed that there’s one hotel group that I absolutely adore and it appears often on my blog…I love the Four Seasons as I think they are unlike any other hotel brand, each of the hotels that I’ve visited is tailored specifically to suit the location.

And Istanbul has not one, but two Four Seasons hotels, which are totally different. For lunch I wanted to have a taste of the traditional so we headed off to the Four Seasons Sultanahmet in Istanbul’s old city.

I love it when a hotel has a historical background, and this hotel has a very interesting past. For 66 years the building actually served as a prison and the mustard coloured turrets are former watch towers.

In 1986 it was renovated and turned into this beautiful and luxurious hotel….

… and the former prison yard is now a stunning courtyard with gorgeous gardens and a gazebo restaurant.

 

The hotel is very traditional in style with the signature mustard walls, Turkish rugs and artwork throughout. I imagine the bedrooms are quite a bit more luxurious than as their previous guise as prison cells!

 

I had booked our lunch at Seasons restaurant, located in an enclosed terrace with a view of the beautiful courtyard.

 

 

A selection of cold mezze is often served first in a Turkish restaurant and despite the cold weather we stuck with tradition and ordered a platter. On the plate was white cheese, aubergine, stuffed vine leaves and yogurt, a great way to experience a wide variety of foods.

Borek was one of my favourite dishes last time I came to Turkey and I ordered one to accompany the mezze. Made out of boiled sheets of dough, layered with feta cheese and parsley, this version is one of the more common varieties of the pastry dish. It’s kind of like a Turkish lasagne, and it is the perfect winter comfort food.

 

We shared a seafood copper pot and a fillet of sea bass, though I have to say the neither bowled us over. The fish in the copper pot had got a little over cooked and, despite the sauce, it was quite dry.

With a desire to check out the other Four Seasons Hotel for a coffee, Anna and I hailed down a cab to take us over there. However, with weather getting worse, and the traffic in Istanbul always dense at the best of times, it took us two hours to get there! The roads were pretty treacherous and there had been accidents and road closures but when we finally got there I was very impressed.

The Four Seasons Hotel at the Bosphorus was my favourite of all the hotels that we visited.

 

It was much more modern that the Four Seasons at Sultanahmet but still incorporated classic Turkish motifs.

 

This hotel also has a rich history, but by contrast the sumptuous hotel is a converted palace!
But this is what we really needed, a roaring fireplace in the plush velvet lounge of the Four Seasons…
sigh…heavenly…
Aqua, a grand looking restaurant with a beautiful glittering chandelier looked like the perfect place for a glamorous dinner.
And the stunning outdoor court yard had the perfect view of the Bosphorus.
So there you have it, two beautifully luxurious hotels with historic pasts and Ottoman touches…but the two places couldn’t be more different.