The Ciragan Palace Kempinski Istanbul, once the Sultan's summer retreat, has long been the most desirable place to stay on the Bosphorus. But when Four Seasons opened its second Istanbul outpost last summer, in a powder-pink palace up the road, they hoped to give the Ciragan some stiff competition. It seems to have worked: despite two modern wings that are more in keeping with Four Seasons' first property, a former prison in Sultanahmet, the new Four Seasons has already hosted Sarah Jessica Parker and countless society weddings.
Aside from hand-painted ceilings and 18th-century engravings, the decor is mainstream global: all pale marble and plush neutrals. What sets it apart (other than flawless service) is the 190-metre waterfront terrace, dotted with scarlet parasols and lit by flaming torches at night, and the vast basement spa which features three hammams and a glittering mosaic pool with underwater music. A handful of suites have private terraces that overlook the Bosphorus, but you'll have to dig deep; the Atik Pasha Suite costs €18,000 a night.