Agatha Christie fans can stay in the suite where the great lady supposedly wrote ‘Murder on the Orient Express, at the newly revamped and rather splendid Pera Palace (www.perapalace.com) in Istanbul. The hotel dates back to 1892 and just oozes style. Some of the suites overlook the Bosphorous to put you in that mysterious eastern mood and you can lounge in the spa with indoor jet-streamed swimming pool and Hamam (Turkish bath) or enjoy fine dining in the excellent restaurant. Doubles start at €230 including breakfast.
If you’re watching the pennies, the nearby I’zaz Lofts (www.izaz.com) are quite swanky but under a third of the price. This chic suite-only boutique hotel is housed in a stylish apartment block next to the old British Embassy and the four suites come with draped Ottoman style boudoir. They start at €73 (breakfast is extra).
Both options make a great comfortable base for exploring this fascinating city, which has one foot in Europe and the other in Asia. Its spectacular location, striking Ottoman mosques and Byzantine churches and bustling bazaars make it worth a visit at any time of year.
Visit the Blue Mosque and nearby Santa Sophia museum and the Topkapi Palace, heart of the Ottoman Empire for nearly four centuries. Wander the Sultanahmet old town, where the city's Egyptian, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman heritages are clearly visible and haggle in the The Grand Bazaar which contains a 4,000 shops within 60 streets and where you can find anything and everything.