Following a multi-million dollar restoration, the historic Pera Palace Hotel in Istanbul is due to reopen this month. Originally opened in 1892 by the owners of the Orient Express to provide suitably grand accommodation for their passengers at the train’s Istanbul terminus, the Pera Palace quickly became established as the place to see and be seen for members of high society.
Among the hotel’s most famous guests was Agatha Christie, who stayed there many times between 1926 and 1932 and is believed to have written portions of her beloved mystery, Murder on the Orient Express, in Room 411, which can be reserved by guests and contains a library of her books in several languages. A mysterious key she reportedly hid under a floorboard in her room, said to be the key to lost diaries that contain information about her mysterious 11-day disappearance in 1926, is displayed in the Orient Bar. Other famous guests who have lodged at the Pera Palace include Alfred Hitchcok, Greta Garbo, Zsa Zsa Gabor and the Mata Hari.