Pera Palace Hotel


The Pera Palace was a project of Georges Nagelmackers, the Belgian entrepreneur who linked Paris and Constantinople with his famous Orient Express train service. The 1892 building has undergone a €23-million restoration in recent years and claims to have regained its position as İstanbul's most glamorous hotel. Its bar, tea lounge, patisserie and restaurant are open to the public.

Nagelmackers founded the Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits et Grands Express Européens in 1868. The Orient Express service first operated in 1883 and the entrepreneur soon realised that İstanbul had no suitably luxurious hotels where his esteemed passengers could stay. His solution was to build one himself and he commissioned the fashionable İstanbul-born but French-trained architect Alexandre Vallaury to design it.

On opening, the hotel advertised itself as having 'a thoroughly healthy situation, being high up and isolated on all four sides', and 'overlooking the Golden Horn and the whole panorama of Stamboul'. Its guests included Agatha Christie, who supposedly wrote Murder on the Orient Express in room 411; Mata Hari, who no doubt frequented the elegant bar with its lovely stained-glass windows and excellent eavesdropping opportunities; and Greta Garbo, who probably enjoyed her own company in one of the spacious suites.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Beyoğlu attractions

1. İstanbul Modern

0.06 MILES

This lavishly funded and innovative museum has an extensive collection of Turkish art and also stages a constantly changing and uniformly excellent…

2. Pera Museum

0.12 MILES

There's plenty to see at this impressive museum, but its major draw is undoubtedly the 2nd-floor exhibition of paintings featuring Turkish Orientalist…

3. SALT Beyoğlu

0.15 MILES

With a brief to explore critical and timely issues in visual and material culture, the İstiklal branch of the SALT cultural centre is one of the city's…

4. İstanbul Arastırmaları Enstitüsü

0.16 MILES

Associated with the nearby Pera Museum, this institution incorporates a publicly accessible research library focusing on the cultural and social history…

7. Galata Mevlevi House Museum


The semahane (whirling-dervish hall) at the centre of this tekke (dervish lodge) was erected in 1491 and renovated in 1608 and 2009. It's part of a…

8. Yapı Kredi Kültür Sanat

0.24 MILES

Towering over Galatasaray Sq, this sleek cultural centre affiliated with a major Turkish bank stages art exhibitions, hosts classical-music concerts, and…