The Luxe List 2009, Turkey: Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at the Bosphorus, Istanbul

This majestic 19th-century building on the European bank of the Bosporus was once known as Atik Pasha, one of several guesthouses used by high-ranking Ottoman officials residing in the adjoining Ciragan Palace. Following a nine- year renovation, it is now home to Istanbul’s second Four Seasons hotel. The luxury here is understated, with graceful service, Murano chandeliers, Turkish carpets, and prints of 18th-century engravings by Antoine Ignace Melling. The 166 guest rooms are inspired by their surroundings: shades of aqua, silver, and taupe reflect the shimmering hues of the Bosporus, while light stone and cool blue glass impart the freshness of a coastal resort. Step out to the all-marble promenade for captivating views of the water and the spires of historic Sultahnamet beyond; or take a dip in the outdoor pool, heated to 28?C in winter. Back inside, a huge spa featuring a blue-tiled pool and three hammams—all accented with scents of pine, rose, and sandalwood—will have you feeling like royalty (28 C?ragan Caddesi, Besiktas; 90-212/381-4000;; doubles from US$430).

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