Not all of us can be born sultans. But we can live like them. And the best place to live in grandiose style would be at the former residence of the Ottoman Sultans.
A perfect portrayal of regal flamboyance is the Çiragan Palace Kempinski with its rows of massive, shiny marble columns, cascades of jewel-toned curtains and furnishings – in hues of royal blue, purple, wine red and honey-foam – and a downpouring of chandeliers, grand staircases and period furniture. Art has hugely influenced the palace and it leaves its colourful fingerprint everywhere through patterns and paintings: replica paintings of the famous palace painter Fausto Zanaro adorn the walls of the hotel.
Today, the Çiragan Palace Kempinski is renowned for its celebrity clientele – visitors included Sophia Loren, Robert De Niro, Donna Karan, Bernard Lacoste, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, Queen Beatrix of Holland, Oprah Winfrey and Madonna – but in the 16th century it was a wooden waterside mansion of Ibrahim Pasha, one of the grand viziers of the Tulip Age.