Ansen 130 TEPEBAŞI
Built in a century-old building in a great neighborhood, chic Zen rooms with kitchenette, sofa and writing desk make Ansen great value. Rooms are spacious, each with huge plasma TV, Wi-Fi, and power shower, all in contemporary, minimalist style. A good central choice for business travelers. Breakfast is not available, but plenty of cafes nearby. 70 Meşrutiyet Cad. 0212 245 8808. www.ansensuites.com. 10 units. Doubles 200–500 exc b/fast. AE, MC, V. All buses from Taksim.
Far from sightseeing and nightlife, this is one for asecluded romantic break. Perched on the Asian side of the Bosphorus, all rooms have stunning sea views (some with private balcony) and an uncluttered feel with wooden floors, white furnishings and contemporary art. The terrace is, of course, to die for; good modern European dining. Ahmet Rasim Pasha Mansion, 27 Çubuklu Cad. 0216 413 9300. www.ajiahotel.com. 16 units. Doubles 280–700. AE, MC, V. Tram: Beyazit.
Ayasofya Konaklari SULTANAHMET
Looking decades old, these nine wooden houses are a recent clever rebuilding project. The cobbled pedestrian street (see p 73) behind Haghia Sophia houses 64 rooms with tasteful Ottoman-style décor, including small Turkish bath in the Pasha Suite. Most rooms are without TV. The street-side rooms have lovely views, and breakfast is served on one of three terraces.
Sogukçeşme Sokagi. 0212 513 3660. www.ayasofyakonaklari.com. 64 units. Doubles 150–200. MC, V. Tram: Sultanahmet.
Büyük Londra Otel TEPEBAŞI
The bar and entrance ooze faded decadence, especially the chandeliers and Ottoman nick-nacks. Guest rooms aren’t as glamorous—ensure you get a renovated room—but they are ideal for Beyoglu’s nightlife and shopping. Over 100 years old, its kudos heightened when featured in two recent Turkish films. Meşrutiyet Cad. 0212 245 0670. www.londrahotel.net. 54 units. Doubles �50–150. AE, MC, V. Bus: Tepebaşi.
Çiragan Palace Kempinski BEŞIKTAŞ
Splash out in this former Ottoman palace—worth paying extra for a Bosphorus-view suite in the old
wing Top notch (and top dollar), outstanding features include the outdoor ‘infinity’ pool, heated in winter, and the excellent Tugra restaurant. Lottery winners could try the lavish multi-roomed Grand Sultan Suite (35,000). 32 Çiragan Cad. 0212 326 4646. www.kempinski-istanbul.com. 314 units. Doubles from 360. AE, DC, MC, V. Bus: Beşiktaş to Ortaköy.
Dersaadet SULTANAHMET This family-run restored Ottoman house in a quiet street has well-kept rooms and great service. Some have bathtub and Bosphorus views, all have flat-screen TVs and wooden floors; the penthouse suite boasts 180°views and Jacuzzi. Breakfast is served on the flowerfilled roof terrace.5 Kapiagasi Sok, off Kucukayasofya Cad. 0212 458 0760. www.hoteldersaadet.com. 17 units. Doubles 115–190. AE, MC, V. Tram: Sultanahment.
Eklektik Guest House GALATA
Hidden away down a Galata backstreet, this charming gayfriendly guesthouse has seven rooms in a converted Ottoman house, each with unique style. Choose from contemporary clean lines in the Black
Room, marble shower in the Sultan’s Room, or circular bed in the Red Room—pure camp. Guests enjoy breakfast around a communal table. Kadribey Çikmasi, off Serdar-I Ekrem Cad. 0212 243 7446. www.eklektikgalata.com. Doubles 95–115. AE, MC, V. Tunnel: Tünel.
Empress Zoe SULTANAHMET
Stylishly converted from three adjacent townhouses, the hotel has a vast selection of rooms and prices, from standard double to duplex with two bedrooms and kitchen. Cleverly using the original wood and stone, history is retained but all mod cons are included. The tiny garden is a peaceful hideaway for breakfast or evening drinks next to an old hamam. Akbiyik Cad. 0212 518 2504. www.emzoe.com. 25 units. Doubles 110–150 AE, MC, V. Tram: Sultanahmet.
Erboy Hotel SIRKECI
Great value and hospitality at this centrally located three-star hotel. Simple, bright rooms have TV and AC, with a large lobby and free Wi-Fi in the communal areas, plus a meeting room. Wonderful Bosphorus views from the roof terrace. 32 Ebussuud Cad. 0212 513 3750. www.erboyhotel.com. 85 units. Doubles �64. AE, MC, V. Tram: Sirkeci.
Four Seasons Hotel SULTANAHMET
An Istanbul longstanding favorite this is Sultanahmet’s most luxurious hotel, with worldclass service. Converted from the neoclassic Sultanahmet Prison in 1986 with distinctive ochre watchtower (and prisoners’ graffiti in the basement), its high-ceilinged rooms are spacious and luxurious; home to
Seasons restaurant (see p 114). Tevkifhane Sok. 0212 638 8200. www.fourseasons.com/istanbul. 65
units. Doubles 350–500. AE, DC, MC, V. Tram: Sultanahmet.
Four Seasons Hotel – Istanbul at the Bosphorus BEŞIKTAŞ
Making a big impact since opening in May 2008, Istanbul’s second Four Seasons is in a refurbished 19th-century Ottoman palace with a contemporary feel. Mahogany furnishings and hand-painted motifs on the ceilings, modern facilities include huge plasma TVs, DVD players, luxury spa—including indoor and outdoor pools—business center and restaurants. Çiragan Cad. 0212 381 4000. www.fourseasons.com/bosphorus. 166 units. Doubles 350–500. AE, DC, MC, V. Bus: Beşiktaş.
Galata Residence GALATA
Refurbished from the Camondo family house (see p 37), these apartments are good value, even the small ones with simple kitchens. Large apartments have two bedrooms plus living room, a good option for families, although it’s off a steep road. Most of the original wooden furnishings remain, with TV and in-room internet enhancing the comfort. Watch out for pricey items in the refrigerators! 2 Felek Sok, off Midilli Sok. 0212 292 4841. www. galataresidence.com. 21 units. Doubles 75–120. AE, MC, V. Tunnel: Tünel.
A friendly little guesthouse in a quiet street, no-frills rooms mean dark, wooden floorboards with simple furniture, with fantastic terrace views of the Marmara Sea for your buffet breakfast. For a little extra, some large rooms have a sea view. Free Wi-Fi throughout, but no TV in rooms. (20% discount for online booking.) 3 Adliye Sok, off Akbiyik Cad. 0212 516 4869. www.hanedanhotel.com. 10 units. Doubles �60–80. AE, MC, V. Tram: Sultanahmet.
Hotel Daphnis FENER
The four adjoining traditional wooden houses, painstakingly restored by its new owner in 1999, have dark-wood floors, plain furnishings and original pale-blue frescos. Some rooms have quaint balconies, although bathrooms are tiny. Fener’s only hotel gets you away from the crowds. 26 Sadrazam Ali Paşa Cad. 0212 531 4858. www.hoteldaphnis.com.16 units. Doubles 90–120. AE, MC, V. Bus or boat: Fener.
Hotel Niles BEYAZIT
Tucked away near the Grand Bazaar (see p 96), this gem of a hotel has small and simple rooms and remarkably helpful staff. Great value, especially with the buffet breakfast on the roof terrace, and there’s also a 24-hour café-bar. The spacious and brand-new suites are ideal for families. Dibekli Cami Sok, off Ordu Cad. 0212 517 3239. www.hotelniles.com. 29 units. Doubles 70–80. AE, MC, V. Tram: Beyazit.
Hotel Sapphire (Safir) SIRKECI
Fantastic value in a convenient part of town, away from Sultanahmet’s carpet shops but near enough the sights. Simple, light rooms have ornate touches, with flatscreen TV, minibar and small baths.
There are also family-friendly large triple rooms, a large ornate lobby, friendly and efficient staff, and free airport transfer with a two-night minimum stay. Ibnikemal Cad. 0212 520 5686. www.hotelsapphire.com. 55 units. Doubles �80. MC, V. Tram: Sirkeci.
Hotel Troya TEPEBAŞI
Basic yet good value rooms with en suites at this handy location, close to Istiklal Caddesi but relatively quiet. Rooms and reception have had a recent makeover, so it’s in good—albeit plain—condition. 45 Meşrutiyet Cad. y0212 251 8206. www.hoteltroya.com. 84 units. Double 50–65. AE,
MC, V. Bus: Tepebaşi.
Lush Hip Hotel CIHANGIR
Opened in 2006, the chic décor in this converted apartment block puts it firmly in the HIP hotel category. Close to Taksim Square (rooms overlooking the street are noisy), rooms come in varying sizes and are uncluttered and light, with natural tones and prints of Beyoglu scenes adorning the walls. Bathrooms have powerful showers. Breakfast is in the elegant 24-hour brasserie, with Wi-Fi throughout and a new spa. 12 Siraselviler Cad. 0212 243 9595. www.lushhiphotel.com. 35 units.
Doubles 130–350. AE, MC, V. Bus: Taksim.
Mavi Ev (Blue House) SULTANAHMET
This restored Ottoman house opposite the Blue Mosque (see p 15; bring earplugs for the dawn call to prayer) is charming, with small, plain rooms and tiny bathrooms, with traditional touches such as brass double beds and wooden floorboards. Ask for a room with views, at no extra cost. 14 Dalbasti Sok. 0212 638 9010. www.bluehouse.com.tr. 27 units. Doubles 160–220. AE, MC, V. Tram: Sultanahment.
A good chain choice for business guests in the banking district. Contemporary rooms have extra-large desks, Wi-Fi and the Skyline Club Lounge for all executive-floor guests. The hotel also houses business and banqueting rooms, sauna, pool, and the wonderful AzzuR restaurant. 4 Buyükdere Cad. 0212 319 2929. www.moevenpick-hotels.com. 249 units. Doubles �190–350 (excluding breakfast). AE, DC, MC, V. Metro: 4. Levent.
Converted from an old townhouse on a traffic-free street, basic rooms have all the basics with Wi-Fi
and AC, but no TV. Standard rooms are small, with two interconnecting rooms suitable for families and a good-value larger double. Friendly staff, with a superb buffet breakfast on the terrace, including homemade yoghurt and cake. Adliye Sok, Akbiyik Cad. 0212 458 6850. www.hotelpeninsula.com. 12 units. Doubles �40–55. MC, V. Tram: Sultanahmet.
Pera Tulip Hotel TEPEBAŞI
Opened in May 2008, this compact friendly hotel enjoys a great Beyoglu location. Contemporary rooms have lovely touches like bold patterned cushions and strong colors. With a small business center, meeting rooms, hamamand indoor pool, all rooms have Wi-Fi, kettle (very important!) and minibar, offering great value. Larger executive rooms are worth the extra. 103 Meşrutiyet Cad. 0212 243 8500. www.peratulip.com. 84 units. Doubles 100–200. AE, DC, MC, V. Bus: All buses from Taksim.
Radisson SAS ORTAKÖY
The Ortaköy waterfront location is a real highlight, best enjoyed over breakfast on the terrace. Add good business facilities, meeting rooms, and Wi-Fi throughout, plus some rooms have a Bosphorus view. At weekends, ask for a room away from the nearby nightclub if you want to sleep. Mornings and weekends see traffic congestion. 46 Çiragan Cad. 0212 310 1500. www.radissonsas.com. 120 units. Doubles 180–360 including breakfast. AE, MC, V. Bus/boat: Ortaköy.
As guesthouses in this area go, it’s at the pricey end, but the dark wood, white walled rooms with a
tiny garden are worth the extra, perfect for a romantic trip. Breakfast is served on the flower-filled terrace. Free Wi-Fi (although no TV) and use of laptops, and obliging staff. Adliye Sok, off Akbiyik Cad. 0212 517 6623. www.sebnemhotel.net. 15 units. Doubles: �90–100. AE, MC, V. Tram: Sultanahmet.
Sirkeci Konak Hotel SIRKECI
This luxury boutique hotel has been popular since opening in 2007, with fantastic guest relations
staff. Tastefully furnished rooms have dark-wood floors, writing desk, and flat-screen TV, some with balcony, with private Jacuzzi in the triple deluxe suite. Additional touches include free afternoon tea
in the bar, plus Turkish cookery lessons. Guests have free use of small pool, hamamand the fitness center. 5 Taya Hatun Sok. 0212 528 4344. www.sirkecikonak.com. 52 units. Doubles 170–220. AE, MC, V. Tram: Sirkeci.
Suite Home Cihangir CIHANGIR
Tucked away in this residential neighborhood near Taksim, suites are in different styles and sizes, and all very contemporary. The big bonus is the huge sofas and kitchens; the larger suites have separate living rooms, while the penthouse suites offer balconies. Long-stay business travelers love
the small meeting rooms and spa. 12 Başkurt Sok. 0212 243 3101. www.istanbulsuite.com. 14 units.
Doubles 80–250. AE, MC, V. Metro/ bus: Taksim.
Suite Home Istiklal TAKSIM
Opened in 2008, this is prime location in the hub of Beyoglu. Great-value rooms in neutral colors
splashed with contemporary art have extras ranging from large living/dining areas and small kitchenette, to comfy sofas. All have large TV and Wi-Fi, desks and fridges, some with balconies. Ask for a back room if you don’t want street noise. Istiklal Cad. y0212 245 0772. www.istanbulsuite.com. 19 units. Doubles 100– 160. AE, MC, V. Bus/Metro: Taksim.
Sumahan on the Water ÇENGELOKÖY
A village on the Asian side of the Bosphorus is perfect for a romantic hideaway, in a boutique hotel renovated from an Ottoman distillery. Rooms are effortlessly elegant and minimalist in light woods, each with huge windows and unbeatable views. Split-level suites have their own terrace, many rooms
have Turkish baths. Kuleli Cad. 0216 422 8000. www.sumahan.com. 18 units. Doubles 90–320. AE, MC, V. Boat/bus: Çengelköy.
Swissotel the Bosphorus MAÇKA
The gleaming—and huge—palatial entrance sets the tone of this Leading Hotels of the World member. Spread over two huge wings, most rooms have Bosphorus views and luxurious touches like chaise longue and huge writing desk. The huge Amrita Spa and Wellness Centre is a big attraction, Istanbul’s largest with 16 different treatment rooms, outdoor pool and sun terrace for a really decadent stay (see Restaurants p 110). Bayildim Cad. 0212 326 1100. www.istanbul.swissotel.com.
600 units. Doubles 250–500. AE, MC, DC, V. Metro or bus to Taksim, then taxi.
Tan Hotel SULTANAHMET
A cut above other hotels of similar price, this new hotel in a quiet side-street has large modern rooms, all with fridge, large sofa, and Jacuzzi. Grand suites (with fluffy bathrobes) have a sofa-bed and sleep three people. Flat-screen TV and large windows add to in-room comforts. Some higher floors have decent views; ask on booking. Doktor Eminpaşa Sok, Çatalçeşme Meydani. 0212 520 9130. www.tanhotel.com. 20 units. Doubles 05. AE, MC, V. Tram: Sultanahmet.
The Sofa Hotel NIŞANTAŞI
Nestled in fashion land, the Sofa deserves its HIP label. Spacious rooms and tasteful décor are the
epitome of contemporary chic, rooms come with DVD players and huge bathrooms with powerful
shower. The Omar Suite has indoor andoutdoor Jacuzzis. Huge meeting rooms, a wellness center, small pool, and fitness room caters for all needs—plus two contemporary art galleries and the Longtable restaurant-bar. 123 Teşvikiye Cad, 0212 368 1818. www.thesofahotel.com.82 units. Doubles 200–800. AE, DC, MC, V. Minibus: Nişantaşi.
Triada Residence TAKSIM
Converted from a traditional Beyoglu apartment building, what it lacks in décor it compensates with
decent-sized bedrooms with small living rooms and kitchenette, with basic cooker and fridge. Close to shopping, restaurants and nightlife, this is great value for money. Meşelik Sok, off Istiklal Cad. 0212 251 0101. www.triada.com.tr. 11 units. Suites 70. AE, MC, V. Bus, or tram/funicular: Taksim.
Villa Zurich CIHANGIR
This friendly and popular hotel in an charming residential neighborhood has newly renovated rooms in tasteful pale blues and creams, many with bath and Jacuzzi, with Wi-Fi throughout. Front-facing rooms have small balconies. Doga Balik restaurant (see p 109) is on the roof terrace. 36 Akarsu Yokuşu Cad. 0212 293 0604. www.hotelvillazurich.com. 41. units. Doubles 110–160. AE, MC, V. Bus/metro: Taksim.
W Hotel AKARETLER
Mirrored tables and silver drapes— and that’s just the welcome area. Opened in May 2008 and converted from Dolmabahçe Palace kitchens, this sexy hotel has a wide range of rooms with a contemporary twist on classic Ottoman style, such as Marmara marble sinks, 32 flat-screen TV, Wi-Fi, Ipod docking stations, and spa. Houses the fabulous Spice Market restaurant. Süleyman Seba Cad. y0212 381 2121. www.whotels.com/istanbul.134 units. Doubles 280–600. AE, DC, MC, V. Bus:
Witt Istanbul Suites BEŞIKTAŞ
Opened in 2008, this exquisitely designed boutique hotel has modish suites with a real ‘luxury
apartment’ feel. Each 60m2suite, designed by hip architects Autobahn, has a kitchenette and huge
bathroom, with the Witt’s elegant floral motif on walls and furnishings. Sweeping views from the top-floor’s fitness studio deter any inclination to laziness. Defterdar Yokuşu. 0212 393 7900. www.wittistanbul.com. 15 units. Doubles 170–200. AE, DC, MC, V. Bus: Beşiktaş.
Yeşil Ev SULTANAHMET
Rebuilt from an existing Ottoman wooden house in 1977, this popular guesthouse has brass beds and
antique furniture, although recent price hikes have meant its value for money is debatable. The standard double room is tiny and bathroom minuscule. Still, its green wooden exterior and garden are charming, and service is good. Kabasakal Cad. 0212 517 6786. www.istanbulyesilev.com. 19 units. Doubles 250–300. AE, MC, V. Tram: Sultanahmet.
Where to Stay?
Hotels cluster around Sultanahmet and Beyoglu,poles apart in ambience and amenities, so your choice depends on priorities. If you prefer views of the Blue Mosque, vicinity to historical monuments and Ottoman houses on cobbled streets, Sultanahmet is for you. Just bring earplugs for neighboring mosques’ dawn call-to-prayer, be prepared for carpet touts and never-ending souvenir shops. If good restaurants and bars are important, head to Beyoglu, where Istiklal Caddesi buzzes all night. It’s easier to travel to Sultanahmet during the day than to travel back there after a night out in Beyoglu.
Prices listed are the rack rate for high season (roughly mid-March to late October), including breakfast and tax, often 10–20% less for winter months. Top hotels usually have good deals on their websites or through booking agencies, and can be quieter in August, with fewer business visitors. You can also try phoning the hotel directly to ask for any special rates, especially out of season. Hotels book up quickly and prices shoot up during !eker Bayram, the festival after Ramazan (see p 160) and major events—especially the Istanbul Grand Prix (see p 161).