Istanbul Hotels on Princes' Islands

by Joanne Thomas

The Princes' Islands, located in the Sea of Marama off Istanbul, attract visitors with their unspoiled natural scenery, historic towns and peaceful atmosphere, ensured by the complete absence of cars in favor of horse-drawn carriages and bicycles. Only two of the nine islands that make up the chain -- Buyukada and Heybeliada -- offer overnight lodging. Options include large and small hotels as well as modern and historic ones.

Merit Halki Palace Hotel

Merit Halki Palace Hotel overlooks the beach and sea on the island of Heybeliada. It is a modern replica of the original hotel, which was constructed from 1852 to 1862 but was destroyed in a fire in 1991. The new hotel offers 36 spacious guestrooms and nine suites. All the rooms have elegant furnishings and satellite television; the suites boast a jetted whirlpool tub. In addition to its guest accommodations, Merit Halki Palace Hotel offers a buffet restaurant, a cafeteria-style restaurant, a lobby bar and two television lounges. Guests also enjoy use of an outdoor swimming pool and hot tub surrounded by tree-shaded terraces.

Splendid Palas

Splendid Palas is an elegant whitewashed building that stands out with its ornate balconies and columns, bright red plantation shutters and silver rooftop domes. The a 70-room hotel has welcomed visitors to the island of Buyukada since 1908, offering views of the Marmara Sea in one direction and the city of Istanbul in the other. Every guestroom has a balcony, and some have sea views. The hotel's a la carte restaurant offers indoor and outdoor seating and serves international dishes alongside Turkish specialties. Other on-site dining options consist of a buffet restaurant, a cafeteria and a pool bar. Facilities include an outdoor swimming pool and a children's pool, a game room and a central courtyard with seating and fountains

Ascot Hotel Buyukada

Ascot Hotel Buyukada is a boutique hotel offering 22 guestrooms. Its contemporary style is encapsulated by the all black-and-white lobby furnished with leather armchairs and a mosaic floor. Every guestroom has a private balcony, king-size bed, flat-screen television and wireless Internet access. The decor combines traditional brocade motif wallpaper with contemporary furnishings and a dramatic color palette that differs from room to room. Jacks, the hotel's restaurant and bar, is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and specializes in pizzas and signature cocktails. Guests enjoy access to a courtyard swimming pool.

Butik Ada Hotel

Butik Ada Hotel is a restored historic mansion on the island of Buyukada. The interior of the wooden building features elegant contemporary decor with hardwood flooring, metallic textiles and overstuffed, distressed leather armchairs in the guestrooms. Contemporary amenities include Internet access and satellite television. Guests can enjoy live musical entertainment in the hotel's cozy candlelit bar and cafe. The hotel offers comprehensive guest services including arranging tours, boat trips, massages and laundry services.

About the Author

A writer of diverse interests, Joanne Thomas has penned pieces about road trips for Hyundai, children's craft projects for Disney and wine cocktails for Robert Mondavi. She has lived on three continents and currently resides in Los Angeles, where she is co-owner and editor of a weekly newspaper. Thomas holds a BSc in politics from the University of Bristol, England.