On my last visit to Istanbul in November 2007, Ayhan and I came across the adorable Kybele Hotel in the historic Sultanhamet nabe. We were so charmed by the place, that we ended up spending Thanksgiving evening there (instead of a turkey dinner, we had dinner in Turkey, har har), and spent several hours afterward looking through historic books from the hotel's library. It felt like a quaint, comfortable, homey resting place.
That warmth and charm were so magnetic that for our January 2010 visit, we couldn't wait to stay there. The joint has all of 16 rooms on four floors, with beautifully decorated public areas on the first floor and a spiral marble staircase to the upper floors. Our cute room 303 on the back side had a little private balcony, breakfast was included (hard boiled eggs, fresh bread, cheeses & meats, cereal, juice and coffee). Absolutely satisfying, friendly, perfectly located. Truly one of the finest, coolest, sweetest boutique hotels I have ever seen.