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Istanbul's cursed palace turned five-star hotel

Exterior of Çırağan Palace.

Istanbul's cursed palace turned five-star hotel

The Ciragan Palace Kempinski, an Ottoman pleasure dome turned five-star hotel, has its own jetty and heliport for the A-list, one-name celebs (Kobe, Madonna, Oprah) who mellow out in the $40,000-a-night Sultan's Suite. This may well be the toniest hotel in Europe – the Kempinski recently knocked Parisian landmark Hotel Le Bristol off its vaunted perch as the best hotel in Europe at the 2013 World Travel Awards – but it wasn't always so. The grandest building on Istanbul's Bosphorus Strait was constructed in the mid-1800s, at least partially on the grounds of a monastery for whirling dervishes, deeply religious Sufi Muslims who – as local lore would have it – cursed this monument to excess. Read more about the Çırağan Palace Kempinski hotel. | Pam Grout

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