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Istanbul Hotel Choice: Sultanahmet or Beyoglu

Istanbul Hotel Choice: Sultanahmet or Beyoglu

Nov 3rd, 2006, 01:05 PM
  #21  
 
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I didn't like Sultanahmet at all. It was very touristy. You couldn't walk down the street without being harassed by carpet salesmen, especially if you had a diamond Rolex watch on your wrist (poor Muffy). At least in Beyoglu/Taksim/Ortakoy nobody bothers you.

If you really want to get away from it all, stay at the Ciragan Palace. You can dine in Ortakoy and shop at Louis Vuitton in Nisantasi.

Ciao
marginal_margiela is offline  
Nov 4th, 2006, 09:22 AM
  #22  
 
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Thanks. How about sending me a check so that I can shop in my Martin Margiela jacket and stay at that luxurious hotel? I'll send you my address. Actually I don't have a MM, but I'll try to make do with some Dries von Noten pants (made in Slovenia? Or was it Poland?).
111op is offline  
Nov 4th, 2006, 10:21 AM
  #23  
 
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LOL, 111 ! Couldn't have said it better!
Ciragan Palace will set you back a Sultan's ransom...Nisantasi is certainly the upscale ara of town, but worth a walk through or two. Ortakoy is fun during their Sunday afternoon open market/festival. Take it in..and don't neglect the wonderful Bosphorus ferry to Andalou and back..a kick.


Stu T.
tower is offline  
Nov 4th, 2006, 12:44 PM
  #24  
 
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Actually speaking of the Bosphorus ferry, is there a short cruise available? I only have 1.5 days, so I can't expect to do everything. I've read that there's a 6-hour cruise up to the various towns and back (it's a commuter ferry). But I'm more interested in a quick boating experience.
111op is offline  
Nov 4th, 2006, 12:51 PM
  #25  
 
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One more vote for Sultanahmet and a plug for the Empress Zoe www.emzoe.com

Lovely hotel with atmosphere
wombat7 is offline  
Nov 14th, 2006, 06:26 AM
  #26  
 
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I called Empress Zoe last week, but they said they only had one room left. The budget twin -- 50 euros, I think. I thought about getting it, and then I asked them what was budget about it. They said it's near reception. Could be a little noisy.

I just booked my hotels through asiarooms.com. I'll have to see if the ones I chose are available. Though I'll only be there 2 nights, I decided to switch hotels. On arrival day I booked Hotel Romance ($60 for double) in Sultanahmet. The next day, I move to Pera Palas ($79 for double) on the other side of the city.

Rates on asiarooms look good, and I didn't feel like searching elsewhere for the most competitive rates.
111op is offline  
Nov 14th, 2006, 09:32 AM
  #27  
 
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I spoke too soon. Asiarooms says Pera Palas is booked. I'm looking at alternatives in Beyoglu. Maybe in Buyuk Londra.
111op is offline  
Nov 14th, 2006, 09:50 AM
  #28  
 
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The commuter ferry up the bosphorus didn't take us 6 hours -- we timed it so that we could return on the next ferry out at around 3 pm which meant we only had around an hour in the last village that the ferry stops at. I think the whole thing took us 3 hrs r/t including the one hour fishing village stop that allowed us to cab up to the castle ruins for an amazing panoramic view of the bosphorus opening up into the Black Sea.
fishee is offline  
Nov 14th, 2006, 09:59 AM
  #29  
 
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Is the cruise really worth it? I think that even 3 hours is a bit much for me. I'll probably just leave it for the next trip.

Is there a commuter boat that goes between the European & Asian shores? I just want to get an idea for a crossing by water.

Thanks.
111op is offline  
Nov 14th, 2006, 10:19 AM
  #30  
 
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I just saw that you only have 1.5 days -- in which case, I agree skip the bosphorus cruise. If you're going to be there during cold weather, I'd definitely skip it. If it's in the summer, I'd be tempted to skip a church or mosque and replace it with the cruise. You could get on the ferry and get off 10 minutes later at the first stop and still be in Istanbul but I wouldn't bother -- it's not worth dealing with the crowded port area and standing in line for that. Have fun, it's a very beautiful city. And watch out for those cabs!
fishee is offline  
Nov 14th, 2006, 10:20 AM
  #31  
 
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Check the boat service timetable at www.ido.com.tr for travel to the Asian side. You will probably want to go from Kabatas (near Ritz-Carlton Hotel) to Uskudar (Asian side). There are supposed to be some very nice restaurants in Uskudar.
marginal_margiela is offline  
Nov 14th, 2006, 10:36 AM
  #32  
 
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I'll be flying out next Thursday (Thanksgiving) and arriving on Friday. Hope it won't be too cold.

Thanks for the link, mm. I'm a little confused by it. I don't see Uskudar listed on the routes. Maybe I just didn't see it. Also it seems like even the shortest crossing takes 40 minutes? I'm a little surprised. I guess most cross via a bridge or something?
111op is offline  
Nov 14th, 2006, 10:38 AM
  #33  
 
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Ok, Buyuk Londra confirmed my reservation. I opted for the cheapest double at 40 euros. Hope it won't be too bad. They didn't even ask for my credit card.
111op is offline  
Nov 14th, 2006, 11:42 AM
  #34  
 
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The Londra got some good write-ups in the New York Times. I think you did well. By the way, I would not plan to spend much time in Nisantasi. There are other more upscale shopping areas, and certainly more elegant areas from what I hear, if you are interested in that kind of thing, which I strongly doubt. I just did not find Nisantasi all that compelling.
ekscrunchy is offline  
Nov 14th, 2006, 12:16 PM
  #35  
 
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I'm interested in doing some shopping -- but probably for Iznik tiles and the like. I don't have any interest in buying carpets.

Hope the economy room at Londra isn't too horrible. I figured that I can try it and see how it is. I'm not too picky when it comes to hotels, especially if I save 20-30 euros this way.
111op is offline  
Nov 14th, 2006, 01:07 PM
  #36  
 
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Yalie98 and 111op :

I’ve just come back from 11 excellent days in Turkey (great country) the first 4 of which were spent in Istanbul (great city !).

I too enjoyed Sultanhamet much more than I did the Taksim area, and was glad that I stayed in the former. I found the Taksim Square area boring and too Western and similar to what I could experience better in other cities in Europe. However there are some interesting antique shops to be discovered off some of the very steep side streets that branch off the Istikal, so have a look.

Sultanhamet may be quieter but was more interesting to me. However, I was there during the last 5 days of Ramazan, so there was plenty going on in the area, especially at night when the faithful broke their daylight fast. Outdoor Music, Sufi music concerts, firework displays and incredible street food. I can still taste the freshly squeezed pomegranate juice. I imagine that it will a good deal quieter now, but you’ll still have lots to see and do. Thanks to Fishee and Seamus, I looked at several hotels (Hotel Uyan, Naz Wooden House, Hotel Ambassador and others) and ended up staying at the Hotel Ambassador and really enjoyed it. Very clean and adequate with a great staff and fantastic rooftop restaurant view. I’d go back there again, though I did visit Uyan and Naz and they are interesting too, especially Naz for its architucture. Biggest plus of the Ambassador is its location : a 3 – 10 minute walk to most of Istanbul’s famous sites, and a tram stop right outside the hotel. Its also in a pretty area with cobblestone streets and candle-lit restaurants if you don’t want to walk far for dinner. 3 tram stops away gets you to Eminonu which is a ferry/tram hub on the Golden Horn and has loads of fish restaurants. Either stay on the tram or walk across the Bridge to the next stop where you change to the ‘Tunel’ system which then takes you Istikal Street and Taksim square, all in all, a 20 minute ride with the locals. The Peras area is also quite nice. With only 4 days in Istanbul, I wanted to explore everything so spent very little time in my hotel room and was out and about most of the day and night; so I know all about the scam artists and carpet salesmen who will do everything to try and get a hold of your hard earned bucks ! Just say ‘No’ politely and firmly while wearing a scowl and keep walking. You’ll be surprised how persistent they can be and I have to say that I had a few good laughs too. I would have liked, but didn’t have time, to see any formal concerts or visit any art galleries (as I believe you have an interest for, from reading your past Paris reports) but maybe you will, and will write about them. The Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace are well worth it, as is the Blue Mosque.

I hope to write a trip report soon on the whole 11 days in Turkey. Needless to say, I had a great time in 3 different parts of the country. Great place and very warm and friendly people.

Enjoy your trip(s).
Mathieu is offline  
Nov 15th, 2006, 06:46 AM
  #37  
 
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Thanks very much Mathieu. Sounds like you had a great trip. I'm looking forward to mine next week.

By the way, asiarooms has confirmed Romance Hotel for me for the first hotel ($60).
111op is offline  
Nov 15th, 2006, 09:32 AM
  #38  
 
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Just a heads up : If you end up getting your Turkish visa upon arrival at Attaturk airport, (make sure you get in the visa line first thing after deboarding the aircraft and before immigration) it will cost you EUR 45.00 or USD 60.00

Enjoy your trip.
Mathieu is offline  
Nov 15th, 2006, 10:36 AM
  #39  
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Cost of a visa at Turkish consulate is US $26.00
 
Nov 15th, 2006, 11:04 AM
  #40  
 
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It is a simple matter to get the visa at a consulate; why waste time getting it at the airport?

There are some decent shops on Istiklal Cadd. for things like reproduction Iznik tiles. And of course the G.Bazaar has heaps of tiles. I was there for about 5 days total last year (broken up by a road trip south along the coast) staying in 2 different hotels. At no time did I get uncomfortably hassled by carpet salesmen. And I was vaguely looking to buy carpets! The time it would have taken was just too much for me to deal with.

One thing of moderate interest: I bought a sterling silver wide cuff bracelet at the GBazaar for about $60 USD. Saw it last week in Paris..it looked identical to mine..for E. 260. So...sterling silver can be a very good buy in Turkey. Make sure to look for the .925 stamp. I also liked the Abdullah shop, among many, in the bazaar.
ekscrunchy is offline  

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