Pera Palas Hotel in Galata district is one of the oldest and the most famous hotels of Istanbul. The hotel was built in 1892 for the specific purpose of hosting passengers arriving on the Orient Express train. Agatha Christie was one of its visitors where she wrote Murder on the Orient Express. Today, the "Agatha Christie Room", number 411, is now preserved in her honor.
Another room, number 101, is notable too as it housed Mustafa Kemal
Atatürk, founder of the Republic, while he prepared
for the Turkish War of Independence. "Atatürk's
Suite" is a small museum now, displaying his personal objects of interest like ebony chairs, exotic oriental carpets and a rare black silk prayer rug, all gifts
from foreign heads-of-state to the Turkish leader.
The fascinating lobbies and halls of the hotel are decorated with 19th century furniture. Its "Orient Bar" and charming dining rooms are considered some of the most atmospheric in Turkey. One can well imagine the spies Mata Hari and Kim Philby lounging seductively on a comfy sofa in the bar or Ernest Hemingway outlining his next novel in the dining room over Chicken Döner and Bloody Mary's with his lady of the moment. Many historically notable people were guests at the Pera Palas.
Pera Palace Hotel was closed by the end of 2006 and restored until September 2010, and it's completely rennovated now including a spa center and meeting rooms.