Built in 1892 and proudly worn through the years, the Büyük Londra Oteli (Grand Hotel de Londres) is one of the most eccentric buildings in the city. Located in the Pera area along with the infamous Pera Palace, the two hotels have been preserving their Ottoman-Victorian charm ever since the time of the Orient Express. Büyük Londra Oteli is a page in history on its own: its fading grandeur is kept the way it is – no chic wi-fi lounges or ultra modern furnitures, instead you can find portable coal stoves, parrot cages and photos of Istanbul at the height of its ‘Oriental’ splendor.
The building has slowly become popular again since the famous director Fatih Akın used it in his brilliant films. With the high ceilings and red velvet furnishings, the hotel has managed to keep the ambiance as it was years ago.
The hotel’s terrace bar is in my opinion one of the best places to grab an afternoon drink – looking over the Golden Horn, the bar serves drinks and meals at affordable prices. The unassuming décor of the rooftop bar and the soft breeze in summer afternoons make one feel like one has discovered a secret jewel in the midst of the city.
The terrace is another reason to love springtime in Istanbul, but if you’re visiting when the weather is still chilly, visit its main hall and have a coffee in its lobby bar, taking your time to feel the graciously faded elegance.