This ancient capital city is seriously cool. A hip bar and restaurant scene, and recent openings from some of the hotel industry's swankiest players mean the city feels exhilarating and dynamic. Symbolising the resurgence is The Istanbul Edition.

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The hotel is a 15-storey tower in the Levent district, a short Metro hop from bustling Taksim, and near the upscale Kanyon shopping mall. The decor is Ottoman opulent - bronze mosaics, dark wood and pale silks. Ask for a room on a higher floor for panoramic views of the city at your feet.

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WOW FACTOR The Gold Bar's lush terrace garden that feels like Suleiman's seraglio, lit with 100 twinkling tealights.

FLIGHT TIME 3.5hrs from the UK

GO A double room costs from £170 a night www.edition-hotels.marriott.com; Turkish Airlines www.turkishairlines.com return flights from the UK start at £154

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