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Formerly a jail, now a hotel

May 4, 2009

Four Seasons, Istanbul

Virtually every guidebook and magazine article about Istanbul says the nightmarish prison depicted in the movie “Midnight Express” is now a Four Seasons Hotel. Almost, but not quite. The luxury hotel is indeed a former jail, and a notorious one at that, but not the one where Billy Hayes, the subject of “Midnight Express,” was incarcerated. And rather than hide from its past, the 65-room, neoclassical Four Seasons celebrates it. It will be the first to tell you that the courtyard is the jail’s old exercise yard. A former inmate’s scribbled pleadings remain on an old marble pillar, and the rooms – expanded former cells – retain their tiny windows and brass rings.

Four Seasons Istanbul at Sultanahmet
Address: Tevkifhane Sokak No. 1, Sultanahmet-Eminönü, Istanbul, Turkey, 34110
Tel: +90-212-402-30-00
Rates: May 1-Oct 31 begin at 400 euros (U.S. $540)


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