Three conjoined, restored town houses make up this comfortable, well-maintained hotel that has new furnishings designed to look old-fashioned, and an inviting lobby with a cozy bar decorated with colorful Turkish rugs and kilims. The compact standard rooms feature white furniture, attractive textiles in pastel or earth tones, and decorative flourishes; higher room categories also offer separate sitting areas and some have good views. A rooftop terrace, with sofas, glass tables with wrought-iron chairs, and potted plants, is a relaxing place to hang out, while the upper-level restaurant provides a fine view of the Aya Sofya.
Oct 16, 2009
The location of the Celal Sultan in Sultanahmet cannot be beat--one block from the Haghia Sophia and the Blue Mosque, and close to many shops and restaurants. We booked one of the two suites in the hotel, specifically the one with the balcony with the view of the Haghia Sophia shown on the website. The room and bathroom were a comfortable size, with the bathroom having double sinks. Note that the suite has a claw foot-type bathtub, and while it may
sound romantic, it is difficult to take an American-style shower in it. Although there was a plastic curtain around the tub, it did not completely close, which really wasn’t a problem since the shower was only hand-held. The hand-held part did not slide up and down on a pole, so the only way to spray water over your head was to hold it there. The real problem, however, was that there was nowhere within the tub to set your shampoo, razor, or even your soap, so it meant popping your head in and out of the shower curtain to grab and replace the items on the counter. It was not the greatest setup in an otherwise good room. Looking on the hotel website now, it seems that the lower-category rooms have more standard, American-style showers with shower heads. Again, lesson learned from this trip to Turkey--the best (and generally most-expensive) room doesn’t always have the most standard amenities that we are looking for. But again, location can’t be beat! The buffet breakfast was nice, but I wasn’t bowled over like some other posters have written. The front desk staff was friendly and helpful, but they did ask us several times about taking one of their recommended tours, even after we specified that we had hired a private tour guide for my time in Istanbul. They also recommended some restaurants that seemed far away (certainly a taxi ride) rather than places that we could walk to because they seemed to know the owners.