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“The grande dame of Istanbul” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Pera Palace Hotel, Jumeirah

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Pera Palace Hotel, Jumeirah
Ranked #66 of 1,121 Hotels in Istanbul
Certificate of Excellence
Hollywood, CA
Level Contributor
41 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
“The grande dame of Istanbul”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 30 January 2012

For close proximity to the bustling nightlife of Istanbul, the Pera Palace Hotel is the ultimate in luxury and the only place to be. Few hotels can boast the range of roles in fiction than the Pera Palace, showing up as it does in Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express, Ian Fleming’s From Russia with Love and Alfred Hitchcock’s The Lady Vanishes.

As I arrived in the colonnaded marble hall, a group of greeters in crisp grey tails and black foulard pounced on me with alarming servility, purring 'Welcome to Pera Palace. Let us help you'. It was an introduction that sums up the time-honored traditions of old Istanbul, and this legendary pearl first opened in 1892 in the twilight years of the Ottoman Empire. Turkey's first Western hotel has recently undergone a four-year $30million much-needed facelift to restore it to its old school splendor and now it’s a 'museum-hotel'.

First opened in 1892 of the Ottoman Empire to serve European passengers of the Orient Express train, the hotel had the city's first elevator (still working) and was the first building in Istanbul, other than the Ottoman palaces, to have hot water and electricity. Eminent guests included Greta Garbo, Mata Hari, King Edward VIII, Queen Elizabeth II, Emperor Franz Joseph, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Sarah Bernhardt, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Alfred Hitchcock and Ernest Hemingway. It was not by chance that it attracted Agatha Christie, who is said to have written some of Murder on the Orient Express in Room 411, although in the novel she has Hercule Poirot check into the now demolished Hotel Tokatlian once located nearby.

The soaring lobby leads to the majestic, domed Kubbeli Saloon and Tea Lounge with its soaring domed ceiling and bold striped walls and 'Arabian Nights' ambience; the Orient Bar and the Patisserie de Pera have a nostalgic charm. A new basement level features a spa and Turkish bath, as well as the refined Agatha restaurant (named after Agatha Christie, the hotel's most famous guest), run by the buoyant chef Maximilian JW Thomae, who fashioned the menu to reflect the notable stops on the Orient-Express: Paris, Venice and Istanbul by mixing French, Italian and Turkish delights including a heavenly chilled artichoke soup with quail kebab served on a steaming bed of Asian risotto. Also, I had one of the best breakfasts of my life at the hidden away Patisserie de Pera, a charming in-house patisserie which serves French pastries, macaroons, amazing healthy omelets and pots of strong, steaming coffee in grand hotel style. a delightfully nostalgic setting for breakfast,

The restoration have preserved the hotel's orientalist décor, strongly evocative of fin-de-siècle Constantinople, faithful to the original designs and color schemes in the public spaces, but the 115 rooms have been completely reconstructed to make them uber comfy including all the latest tech gadgets. Don’t worry, they still highlight original nineteenth-century features like white Carrara marble and gorgeous Murano glass chandeliers

My room boasts a comfy French balcony with stunning views from Galata to the Golden Horn, from the slopes of Eyup to Tepebasi. Inside, antique paintings, classic furniture and rich fabrics convey an aura of fascination and elegance. Also with Golden Horn views are the two Presidential Suites. Liberally sized at 115 square meters, and located on the fourth and fifth floors of the hotel, the living areas include dining room, living room and study, as well as a huge dressing room which would make the Housewives of Beverly Hills jealous and separate guest bathrooms.

Nothing beats the jetlag of a long transatlantic trip like a scintillating spa treatment and the Pera’s 380-square-meter spa facilities (managed by Spa Soul in cooperation with world famous Swiss Spa brand After the Rain,) offers an indoor jet stream swimming pool, steam bath, Jacuzzi, sauna and a fully equipped gym, and a traditional Turkish hammam. Treatments are named after celebrity guests like Greta Garbo, the Divine or Hemingway’s Choice treatment for men.

If first impressions are anything to go by, grande dame of Istanbul definitely captures the bygone glamour days of the Ottoman Empire. It’s a definitely cherished gem.

Room Tip: A few steps beyond is a mayhane called Refik, a drinking house that also serves meze. Sofyali alley...
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  • Stayed November 2011, travelled on business
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Robert E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (228)
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English first
Bamberg, Germany
Level Contributor
58 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 24 January 2012

Highly recommend popping in, just to see the historic elevator, and have a (rather expensive but well worth it) drink in the bar, as Agatha Christie, Mata Hari, and Hemmingway did. Take a look upstairs and see where Agatha Christie wrote Murder on the Orient Express (room 411)........it is in the book "1,000 Places to See Before You Die" afterall!

Stayed January 2012, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
Thank mandy939
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Geneva, Switzerland
Level Contributor
27 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 20 January 2012

We held a conference just after this hotel reopened and the staff, since left I understand, were as helpful as possible. The rooms, whilst small, were well done though I doubt they will hold up to hard use as time goes by. It was a good conference and the customer facing staff were great. The hotel admin however was appalling, unable to determine who had booked in our group, they couldn't reconcile room nights( stay lengths) with number of rooms and then tried to claim beyond the agreement. Be very careful indeed.

Room Tip: The bigger the better.
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  • Stayed September 2011, travelled on business
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank General S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Various
Level Contributor
55 reviews
30 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 69 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 18 January 2012

When one searches for a hotel in Istanbul this is not one that normally appears. I found it through a friend's recommendation. It is an old hotel - one of the oldest in Istanbul - where the earliest Orient Express passengers were taken in sedan chairs from the train station when they arrived. It is situated on an elevated part of the city and one side of the hotel has views of the city and sea. Not far from a major pedestrianised shopping area with multiple taxis available close by.
From the moment you arrive one notices the genuine friendly and hospitable attitude to guests. Turks are naturally friendly, proud of their identity and welcome you to their country. The hotel is immaculately clean and well maintained - in the old fashioned style. They even have a working elevator from 1892 - the first in Istanbul. Yes, they also have modern elevators.

You can feel the history of this hotel where famous people have stayed. The public rooms are beautiful with impeccable service.
Their food is excellent if you want to dine in and there is a swimming pool and gymnasium if you want to work off the calories.

Everything is beautifully presented and nothing is too much trouble for the staff. Service with a capital S.

Ask for a room - if possible, with views and imagine yourself whisked back in time to the 1920's.

The downside? Only one that I noticed. The walls of the rooms are paper thin and so one can hear everything from the adjoining room. Conversations, footsteps - everything. Not a problem if the adjoining room is empty but a major turn off if you are trying to sleep and the person next door is operating on a different time zone!

Otherwise a great place to stay and sally forth to explore an amazing city.

Room Tip: Ask for a room with a view or take a corner suite if you can afford it
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  • Stayed January 2012, travelled on business
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank stargazer43
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sweden
Level Contributor
12 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 15 January 2012

Top hotel in Istanbul with shopping, bars, nightclubs just around the corner.
Great breakfast and great rooms (stayed in top floor with private balcony).
Excellent service and a nice pool in the hotel.

  • Stayed October 2011, travelled on business
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Review collected in partnership with Apollo

Helpful?
Thank Jenfro
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Key Biscayne, Florida
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 January 2012

The Pera Palace was recently renovated but they seem to have forgotten a few rooms, specifically, the bathrooms in a few rooms. Yes our room was miniscule, yes, apparently since we didn't book directly, our room was not the most expensive, but did we have to have a bathtub, placed a foot or so from the wall, no shower curtain, that leaked onto the entire slippery bathroom floor? Apparently so. We were told there were no more rooms and we'd have to pay more if we wanted to move to a room with a functioning bath. So while the lobby was fine, the breakfast was fine, the concierge was helpful, there is no way we can recommend this hotel given our room during our stay.

Room Tip: Get a friendlier person to check you in.
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  • Stayed October 2011, travelled with friends
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
7 Thank dsgusa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Berlin, Germany
Level Contributor
28 reviews
27 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 January 2012

We were at this hotel beginning of december.Since the prices are above our regular budget we had to go with the standard/pera view room.In our case a room on the second floor facing the street behind the hotel.You could still see the place in front of the hotel.We didnt mind that at all.One should be aware that the rooms with view are facing a busy fast traffic local expressway kind of thing.We had a little balcony and made the most out of that.The room itself was very tastefully decorated,the brand new furniture had an antique look,but in a good way.There is a window between bathroom and sleeping area,which means you should be very confidant or a happy couple if you are not travelling solo.All the lovely little touches like the weatherforecast on the pillow etc,things which are so easy and leave a happy guest.Our rate didnt include breakfast,but there are lots of cafes around,we had our breakfast at the restaurant on top of the galata tower,which must be the best view of Istanbul.The staff at check in was very helpfull,friendly and professional.Hotel in walking distance of Beyoglu.You have the history of this hotel and yes, the elevator,which is part of the gimmick.I was quite done with the Agatha Christy thing after two nights,could be probably really diffcult if you stay for more nights or trying to get business done i would imagine.There is also a TV channel dedicated just to the very moving history of the Palace Hotel....may be i just saw it in a endless loop falling asleep i am just thinking.Anyway,this a an amazing place.The (hotel)world would be a better place with more hotels like this.We will come back exactly to this one!

  • Stayed December 2011, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank windowseat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Pera Palace Hotel, Jumeirah

Property: Pera Palace Hotel, Jumeirah
Address: Mesrutiyet Cad. Tepebasi, No:52 | Beyoglu, Istanbul 34430, Turkey
Region: Turkey > Istanbul > Beyoglu
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#25 Spa Hotel in Istanbul
#30 Business Hotel in Istanbul
#47 Romantic Hotel in Istanbul
#49 Luxury Hotel in Istanbul
#50 Family Hotel in Istanbul
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:5 star — Pera Palace Hotel, Jumeirah 5*
Number of rooms: 115
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Gazing over the golden years of history, Pera Palace Hotel, Jumeirah overlooks the magnificent view of the Golden Horn and is located in Tepebaşı district of Pera once known as the “Little Europe”. With its 115 rooms, including 16 suites, retaining the characteristics of the 19th century elegance through historical furniture, the hotel combines refined elegance with state-of the-art technology to fulfill the needs of 21st century travellers. Enjoy a range of revitalized restaurant and bar choices, including the Agatha Restaurant, The Kubbeli Saloon, the French style Patisserie de Pera and the legendary Orient Bar & Terrace and rejuvenate yourself in the soothing atmosphere of Pera Spa. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Pera Palas Hotel

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