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The legendary city that straddles two continents is bewitching, exotic and intriguing. A true melting pot of culture and architecture, the city that was once Byzantium and Constantinople is a blow to the senses.

Escape the chaos outside and check into the Ciragan Palace. Once the residence of the last Ottoman Sultans in the 16th century, it was rebuilt in marble in 1857. Today it’s a lavish five-star hotel with a guest list boasting everyone from Prince Charles to Giorgio Armani. It has all the trimmings: a gorgeous pool, boat and helicopter service, Bosphorus views and the most amazing breakfast buffet choice known to man.

Don’t miss dinner at Tugra. An extravagant voyage through Turkish cuisine, the Ottoman tasting menu ranging from the ‘meze’ appetizers of spicy humus and Dolma vine leave wraps, to steamed shrimps and lamb ‘börek’ (a sort of pastry ravioli) is a must.

In the depths of the Black Forest near Baiersbronn-Mitteltal, in south western Germany the family-run Bareiss is a little like an old fashioned holiday camp.

With its five pools, three saunas and whirlpools, it’s reputed for its state of the art spa. The extensive menu offers everything from Ayurveda to Osteopathy, marine inspired Thalgo body treatments or even exotic Tibetan back massages.

There’s golf, fishing or hiking through the hills dotted with Hinterwälder cows, and excursions to nearby Baden Baden too. To take it easy, take painting or cooking lessons. Food lovers will be thrilled with the 3-starred restaurant, as well as the authentic historic Tyrolean parlor. The “Dorfstuben” is a warm, rustic wooden-paneled bistro with an impressive collection of wall mounted clocks. Smiling waitresses in traditional garb dish up Black Forest specialties like bacon pancake, sausage salad and freshly smoked trout, with cool draft pilsner.

Part mansion, part fairytale castle, the beautifully renovated Villa Speyer on Kennedyallee in Frankfurt is an impressive building dating back to 1904. It now boasts 163 rooms, each with ultra sleek yet colorful interiors imagined by London based Martin Brudnizki. The interiors are verging on art. Rooms are quiet, luxurious and comfortable with everything you could possibly ask for from a city hotel: from techno gadgets to lavish bathrooms with complex mosaics.

Don’t miss the artwork dotted around, the sumptuous wooden staircase, the the fantastic Villa spa where one can indulge in Pumpkin and Orange vitamin body treatment, yoga classes or just take a dip in the cool indoor pool.

At night, head to the JFK piano bar or dine al fresco on fine cuisine like Champagne Soup with Turbot-Caviar Praline in the glorious candle lit courtyard with its romantic aura.