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The Pera Palace Hotel, Istanbul

With just over a month left as European Capital of Culture, Istanbul continues to be a fascinating destination. Its buildings have been spruced up for the event and there are many exotic things to see and do. Why not make it a really special occasion by staying at the luxury Pera Palace Hotel (perapalace.com)? Its original function was to welcome passengers arriving off the Orient Express and it boasts Hemingway amongst its famous guests. Ataturk also stayed here in 1917 and there is a Museum Room in his honour.

Dating back to 1892 the hotel has undergone a £20 million renovation, being restored to its former glory but with all modern amenities, reports the New York Times. It re-opened in September this year, so be amongst the first to enjoy the truly grandiose atmosphere and indulge in a little nostalgia.

The hotel is ideally situated near the bars and restaurants of the Tunel area and the performance venues of Babylon and Salon. The rooms are tasteful, the beds wonderfully comfortable, the bedding synonymous with elegance and the dresser contains gratuitous Turkish Delight. You can watch the news in English on a flat screen TV or relax in the ensuite shower which has three different water sources.

As to be expected, there’s a spa with sauna and steam room and a luxurious marble hammam. Take refreshments in the Moorish-style tea salon, or there’s a French patisserie if you prefer something more European. Enjoy a ‘double’ breakfast: both Turkish and European dishes are served. Rooms start at around £200 but the luxury is well worth it!

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