The Marti, Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul blows the mind and the senses from the get-go. With an atmospheric backdrop of awe-inspiring colours, diverse architecture, decadent local cuisine and rich history, it's a city divided across two continents - the perfect blend of ancient tradition and modern culture.

The Marti is located near the famous Taksim Square, within walking distance of the chic, cobbled alleys of historic Galata and the neighbourhood of Cihangir - Istanbul's answer to London's Shoreditch.


Here, you'll find independent bars and restaurants packed with local creatives drawn to the area by the culturally cool vibes and lofty views of the Bosphorus.

Hagia Sophia church, Topkapi Palace, The Blue Mosque and the Spice Bazaar are all must-sees, but if you're over the hustle and bustle of the market, follow the blue tiles up some stairs to secret restaurant Pandeli (, for a patch of gourmet paradise.

Back at the hotel, book the Hammam Indulgence experience - believe us, nothing will feel more nourishing after days spent pounding the pavements. The ritual of being bathed and massaged on warm marble slabs in a time-honoured manner is astonishing. If you can, keep one eye open to take in the sensuous marble-clad space and visualise the ritualistic processes of a traditional hammam.

WOW FACTOR: With a buffet fit for a Sultan, breakfast at The Marti is a visual spectacle - an enticing array of pungent fruit, locally sourced yoghurt, sticky honeycomb and freshly baked sweet pastries, washed down with squeezed pomegranate juice. Try the Turkish delicacy of eggs menemen - eggs with tomato, peppers and local spices.

GO: A double room costs from £166;

FLIGHT TIME: 3 hours, 45 minutes