Standing proudly on the waterfront, this two-hundred-year-old baroque building has played host to Grand Viziers, statesmen and celebrities. It is, as the name suggests, rather palatial - but in decoration, rather than size. Curtains drip with brocade; ceilings are high and hung with immense chandeliers. Tables and chairs are covered in gilt, and a huge, shining gramophone trumpets away in the lounge. Sweeping staircases lead up to the rooms. Some are more regal than others, but all are undoubtedly luxurious, with deep, soft carpets, period furniture and views of the Bosphorus front.
   The restaurant isn't quite in keeping with the rest of the hotel: it's low ceilinged, simply designed and brightly lit, with uniform furniture and plate glass windows. It does have an incredible view of the water, though, and the food - international cuisine - is reportedly excellent.