Pera Palace Hotel: An establishment of old and new Istanbul

Pera Palace Hotel: An establishment of old and new Istanbul

By Anne Ching

Vibrant. Breath-taking. Alive. Istanbul has many draws for people from far and wide. As much as the city has a lot to offer, the choice of accommodation is integral in having a fully enjoyable and mesmerising holiday.

For travellers, like myself, who go to Istanbul for its vibrancy and historicity, we chose to stay at Pera Palace Hotel. It is situated in the lively Pera district overlooking the Golden Horn and walking distance to Istiklal Street and Taksim Square. Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey, held meetings and stayed at Suite 101, which is now turned into a museum. In its heyday, Pera Palace Hotel hosted kings and queens, movie stars and film directors, for large extravagant parties, official meetings and lowkey quiet holidays. It also boasts guests such as Agatha Christie and Ernest Hemingway, with The Murder on the Orient Express rumoured to have been written here. Mysteries still surround Room 411, the Agatha Christie room, with a small key found inside possibly to Agatha Christie’s diary. None of this has been proven, however, and the speculation adds to the story of Pera Palace Hotel.


The façade of the building has barely changed since its first opening in 1895 despite major renovations in 2008-2010. This keeps its steadfast authenticity in the landscape of the Pera district as a reminder of its elegance and establishment. Inside, restorations brought back a time when Pera Palace Hotel was the place to see and be seen. Common areas such as the lobby, lounge and bar take guests back to the roaring 20s with luxurious velvet curtains, dim yellow-light chandeliers and plush dark wood cushioned furnishings. Amongst the European design, there are intricate stained-glass windows, ornate domed ceiling and oriental carpets that puts a uniquely Turkish stamp on the establishment. Rooms are arranged around a bright atrium filled with natural light, overlooking the six domes above the lounge.


Pera Palace Hotel is the longest established European hotel in Istanbul and the first building in Turkey to have electricity (apart from the Ottoman Palaces) and hot running water. It also has the first electric lift in Istanbul which can still be used under the supervision of staff. Apart from antique highlights, Pera Palace Hotel also has modern amenities that would satisfy today’s guests. It has a fully equipped spa with a hammam bath and indoor swimming pool. The restaurant and patisserie are gorgeous with menus that are hard to fault. Even the children’s menu is wonderful and, from experience, mother and picky child approved.

Pera Palace Hotel is a highly recommended place to stay with a long list of endorsements from a history of more than 120 years. With attentive and professional staff as well as comfortable rooms and amenities, it completes the Istanbul experience in high comfort

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