Sightsee, stop for a long leisurely lunch. Sightsee, stop for a glass of wine before heading home to freshen up for dinner. This is my kind of vacation and that’s exactly how we tackled our week in Istanbul. One day while in the old city of Sultanahmet we were derailed from our mission to see the Topkapi Palace when we stumbled upon The Four Seasons Istanbul at Sultanahmet. Lizzy encouraged us to stop and visit inside, as this building has historical significance.
Built in 1918-19, this building was originally the first jailhouse in the capital of the Ottoman Empire. It’s a four-story building with guard towers enclosing a courtyard. The hotel is situated just steps away from many historical sites such as Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, the Cisterns, and Topkapi Palace. After a long period of neglect, the jailhouse was renovated and opened as the Four Seasons hotel in 1996.
We enjoyed a lovely glass of wine with small snacks in the courtyard (do you see a trend here?). An absolutely beautiful location and worth derailing your sightseeing mission for the break in the sunshine. An alternate outdoor dining space is the terrace rooftop patio, and while it is only open in the summer, I can only imagine what the views are from up there.
Unfortunately we spent a little too much time relaxing that by the time we walked a few blocks away to the Topkapi Palace later that afternoon, we arrived just as it was closing. We’d be back the next day.
Istanbul / March 2012