This majestic 19th century building on the European banks of the Bosphorus was once known as Atik Pasha- one of several guest-houses used by high-ranking Ottoman officials residing in next door Ciragan Palace. Following a nine-year restoration, it is now Four Season’s second Istanbul hotel. The luxury here is understated, with graceful service, Monaro chandeliers, Turkish carpets and 18th century engravings by German traveler and artist Antoine Ignace Melling. The 166 guest rooms have daintily painted ceilings with Turkish motifs and Italian linen. Step out to the all-marble promenade for captivating views of the Sultahnamet and ferries passing to the Black Sea; or take a dip in the outdoor pool- heated to a steamy 28 degrees Celsius in winter. If stripping off in the icy air is too much to be bear, head back inside to the extensive spa, where a beautiful blue-tile pool and three traditional style hammams– all accented with scents of pine, rose and sandalwood- will leave you feeling like royalty.

Ciragan Caddesi No. 28, Besiktas, Istanbul; +90 212 3814000; www.fourseasons.com/bosphorus; double rooms from $430

This article appeared in the Sep/Oct 2009 edition of DestinAsian Magazine.