On the coast of the Bosphorus – the strait that marks the divide between Europe and Asia – Besiktas is one of the most dynamic parts of Istanbul. Cosmopolitan cafes and fashion boutiques make it a great place to wander all day, while a major landmark is Dolmabahce Palace, a formidable fortress of Baroque and Rococo grandeur, with opulent sights such like the Crystal Staircase, fashioned from Baccarat crystal and mahogany.
Separated from the Old City by the shimmering stretch of the Golden Horn, Beyoglu is a cosmopolitan quarter crammed with tempting cafes, bars, and restaurants – especially along the famed Istiklal Avenue, one of Istanbul's busiest streets. Look out for the ornate Art Deco and Neo-Gothic buildings all around as you head down to Taksim Square, the hub of modern Istanbul, which is home to the Republic Monument.
Get a taste of Ancient Rome in Turkey by visiting Beyazit. The ruins of the columns of the Forum of Theodosius still stand, while next to Beyazit Square is one of Istanbul's great attractions: the Grand Bazaar. Dating back to the 15th Century, its ancient warren of shops sell everything from glowing lanterns to ornate rugs, while the vintage fountains and tiled, arched ceiling make the market itself a must-see.
Sirkeci's train station is famous, and with good reason. It was the last stop of the Orient Express, and with its stained-glass decor and Ottoman architecture, it still exudes the glamor of a lost age. Sirkeci has plenty of hotels to choose from, and it's only a short walk to the Spice Bazaar, with its striking vaulted walkways lined with shops selling colorful heaps of sumac, paprika, and red peppercorns.
All the splendor of old Istanbul can be found in Sultanahmet. A stunning fusion of Islamic and Ottoman architecture, the Blue Mosque is a stand-out sight. Then there's Topkapi Palace, which with its stone towers, sprawling courtyards, and inner buildings is a city in itself – it houses some of Islam's holiest relics. For a classic Turkish experience, bask in the heat of one of the area's traditional baths, or hamams.
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"5 Star Hotel that delivers"
Reviewed by a Hotels.com guest on Feb 26, 2013
Very couteous staff, breakfast is outstanding, room views are perfect. For the money it is the best value I get in all of Europe. I would highly recommend staying here whether you fly into either airport in Istanbul.
"Good choice in Istanbul"
Reviewed by a Hotels.com guest on Feb 24, 2013
This hotel seems to cater to the German & Russian crowd but most of the personnel speak some English. The hotel is a bit old but clean and in a great location near the tram and walking distance to all the main sites. Internet works well and is free, there's an indoor pool and the view from the top floor restaurant has to be one of the best in Istanbul. The spa services are all extra and pricey. If you care mostly about location, basic comfort & good Internet, this is a great hotel. The front desk staff are helpful, breakfast is fine and the neighborhood is safe & convenient.
"Nice Boutique Hotel in the center of Old Town"
Reviewed by a Hotels.com guest on Feb 22, 2013
Close to everything. The room is nicely decorated with balcony. The hotel staffs speak good English and generally speaking, friendly. The hotel locates in the old town while there are a bit city construction work going on while we were staying there.
Reviewed by a Hotels.com guest on Feb 22, 2013
I stayed at the Larespark Taksim over a long weekend with two friends. Our room, by European standards, was very large and comfortable. We had two twin size beds and pull out couch which worked perfectly for our trip. The hotel staff could not have been more accommodating and helpful with everything from extra towel requests to tour recommendations to restaurant reservations. The location is right off Taksim Square and very convenient to the metro (which takes you straight to the Old City). Also, a major perk is their breakfast spread - absolutely worth paying a little extra!
This hotel is great for those wanting an American hotel setting. The rooms are very large by european standards and quite comfortable. The location is good if you need to be close to the airport but still want to walk to dinner and shops, but it isn't convenient for the tourist spots.