Istanbul has accommodations suitable for any budget, although most of the new places that are opening are aimed at those with the deepest pockets. For luxury, you can stay in one of the international hotels located on the hills around Taksim or along the shores of the Bosporus, many of which offer splendid water views. Restored villas in Sultanahmet offer a chance to relive some of the city's history. In contrast, a stay in Aksaray or Sirkeci promises the full experience of Istanbul's active urban life on a budget; you'd be well advised to avoid the cheapest hotels in those areas. The Gulhane and Kucukayasofya-Kadirga areas are now taking up some of the overspill from Sultanahmet, while the trendy Cihangir, Cukurcuma and Galata areas of Beyoglu offer a growing number of luxurious self-catering apartments.
Reservations are essential in summer and around Christmas and Easter. Booking your room early may get you a better rate. Smaller hotels may still offer a discount for cash payment.
Avoid any hotel that is suggested to you by a taxi driver—any place that relies on giving kickbacks to cabbies is not the kind of place you want to stay.
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