This superb stone edifice was built in 1863 as the headquarters of the Credit General Ottoman Bank. As much as possible of the former bank's grandiose interior has been left intact, not least the polished marble and granite flooring, high corniced ceilings, neoclassical columns, and arched windows. More fun are the original vaults from which diners at the in-house restaurant can pick their own bottle.

There are several categories of rooms, with those overlooking the Golden Horn and Old City commanding the highest prices, but all have luxurious bathrooms clad with vibrantly hued Carrera marble and soothing rain showers, while bedrooms have proper desks, LCD televisions, and iPod docks—plus the usual features such as safe boxes. One of the best things about a stay here is the brilliant location. Great views across the Golden Horn to the Old City aside, a few minutes' walk will take you up into trendy Galata and its tower, while even nearer you can sit down with the locals and enjoy a bargain fish meal in the waterfront fish market or stroll across the bridge to the famous Spice Bazaar.