Just back from Istanbul

Oct 21st, 1999, 06:16 AM
  #1  
Lee
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Just back from Istanbul

My wife and I just returned from a wonderful honeymoon in Istanbul (with a side trip to Ephesus).

We stayed at the Ambassador Hotel in Sultanahmet and we recommend it. Nice rooms and very near the Blue Mosque, Aya Sofia, Turkish bath, Eminoniou (travel hub), and the Grand Bazaar.

We also used a service called The Screaming Shopper to help us navigate Istanbul's Grand Bazaar our first day. Without the help of the Screaming Shopper, I think we would have just given up and overpaid for everything.

Anyway, just wanted to let interested parties know that Istanbul remains an exciting, fairly inexpensive place to visit.

And the people were extremely hospitable and reliable. Go to Turkey!

Lee Irdour
 
Oct 21st, 1999, 07:07 AM
  #2  
Tony
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Good morning Lee. It sounds like a wonderful trip. Could you tell me about your arrangements for Ephesus? How you got there? What arrangements you made.
How long? Thank you.
Tony
 
Oct 21st, 1999, 12:31 PM
  #3  
Lee
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We did it the expensive way ...took a flight from Istanbul to Izmir (about USD$70 per ticket roundtrip).

We then met the driver of a hired car for trip to Hitit Hotel in Selcuk. Seven Wonders Tours set up the guide to Ephesus.

I recommend the Hitit Hotel. Double room is just USD$35, including breakfast and dinner. And it's a very nice place. Even has pool.

Seven Wonders can probably set it all up for you.

Lee
 
Oct 21st, 1999, 11:18 PM
  #4  
George Holt
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Lee

Tell me more about the screaming shopper, its a new one on me!

George
 
Oct 22nd, 1999, 05:48 AM
  #5  
Lee
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The Screaming Shopper is the business of an American in Turkey. She charges a flat fee (USD$250) to take clients around the Grand Bazaar and she acts as a sort of concierge for short-term visitors. She doesn't charge a commision on your purchases and the prices at the shops are reasonable. (You can try for a slight further reduction if you are a good bargainer and a serious buyer). The shop gives good service and price, and in return, the Screaming Shopper brings paying customers.

The customer? He gets the piece of mind of not overpaying. This is very valuable in itself. But also consider that he saves a lot of time and frustration. If you've been to Istanbul's Grand Bazaar, you know what I mean.

Lee
 
Oct 22nd, 1999, 05:55 AM
  #6  
Lee
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That should be "peace" of mind.

Lee
 
Oct 24th, 1999, 11:37 PM
  #7  
George Holt
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Lee

Thanks, an interesting idea but it seems to me you'd have to be a pretty serious shopper to save $250 on your purchases. That said, the Grand Bazaar is a pretty maze like and daunting place to wander around.

At least with the Screaming Shopper you're unlikely to get kicked out of the shop. When I last went there my travelling companion was after a backgammon set. He'd apparently once done done some pretty aggressive bargaining in Egypt, much more aggressive than I'd expect in Turkey. We went into one of the shops and he went into bargaining mode. After a little sparring he made an offer even I thought was riduculous and the shopkeeper basically told him to s*d off. Undaunted he crossed the corridor to another shop where he was greeted by the same shopkeeper who told him he owned this shop as well and the prices were the same here! He eventually got his backgammon set somewhere else.
 
Nov 9th, 1999, 01:43 AM
  #8  
Tera
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Dear Friends,
Could you please stop promoting Ambassador hotel in Istanbul. It is really enough. Please stop directing people .
Regards
 
Nov 9th, 1999, 03:47 AM
  #9  
bo_jack
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Tera:
Would you care to explain your comment about the Ambassador Hotel. This string, which simply makes mention of it in the first entry, certainly is not a "promotion." My wife and I stayed in it two years ago. It is is part of the Best Western group. The location is very good; the facilities are adequate; the price is reasonable. Tera, exactly what is your complaint? Are you a rival or a dissatisfied customer?
 
Nov 10th, 1999, 11:51 AM
  #10  
Lee
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Tera,

I just had a very nice stay at the Ambassador, that's all. I thought others might like to hear about it. I didn't receive compensation of any kind for recommending it. What's your beef?

Lee
 
Nov 10th, 1999, 01:32 PM
  #11  
M & J
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Lee: we also enjoyed Istanbul for a full week last fall. Fantastic time. For those of you thinking to explore this ancient city, take a ferry cruise on the Bosphorus River. When you return at dusk with the sun setting, the view is something you will always remember.
 
Nov 10th, 1999, 05:56 PM
  #12  
Al
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Sorry, the Bosphorus is not a river; it's a strait. It connects the Black Sea with the Sea of Marmara. But anyway, who cares! Glad you found it as delightful as we always did.
 
Nov 11th, 1999, 02:52 PM
  #13  
Peggy
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Just returned from 45 days in Italy, Turkey and Israel. We stayed at the Ambassador Hotel from 6 - 10 Oct. We really enjoyed it and the staff really goes out of their way to help you. They picked us up at the airport and the room was only $70 a night including full breakfast. It was one of our favorite places that we stayed at.
 
Nov 13th, 1999, 11:13 PM
  #14  
tera
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Dear friends,
Let me tell you the game.Most of the promotion or recommends as you call are done by the people with free e mail adresses which means they can be anyone . All these e mails belong to same person using different names and adresses.I am checking the forums for about 7 months.All recommends are about Ambassador hotel.Isn't it strange?
I think it is the only hotel people like.there are probably no other hotels in Istanbul or all the others are very bad. Please do not direct people with this game.
Take good care and think that internet makes it easier for a person to be ten different people at the same time with different email adresses.
Happy nice holidays
Tera
 
Nov 15th, 1999, 05:55 AM
  #15  
Lee
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Tera,

Well, I don't (didn't) play the game you're talking about.

If you see the Ambassador promoted a lot on the internet, it's probably because there's a travel agency called Twarp that works a lot by the internet from Turkey with a lot of Americans.

Twarp often (always?) recommends the Ambassador because they have an arrangement together. And since the recommendation is by e-mail, you get a lot e-mail in return talking about it.

There are many fine hotels in Istanbul, of course. I think Ambassador just comes up more often in this e-mail-based forum (and for this I'm taking Tera at her word because I haven't spent a lot of time here) because the people who stay at the Ambassador found it through e-mail/the internet.

Lee
 
Nov 15th, 1999, 01:49 PM
  #16  
Patrick
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Are some of you saying I've been suckered? Making my first trip to Istanbul next May and have booked the Ambassador because it was so highly recommended by so many on this site. Every other hotel I checked out, got one or more unfavorable reviews. Also, it was the only hotel that immediately answered my email and all my questions about being met, location, room size, etc. I still haven't heard from half the other places I contacted. I appreciate the recommendations and have firmly believed they are coming from happy and satisfied individuals.
 
Mar 23rd, 2000, 10:39 AM
  #17  
Flyaway
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Dear Fodor Team and Readers,

It is so obvious that Hotel Ambassador is abusing this wonderful service you are providing for travelers like us. I am really sick of reading the same flattering messages about Ambassador Hotel Istanbul. They should be banned misleading all these people who are here to get accurate information. I hope someone can do something againts all these cheaters.
 
Mar 23rd, 2000, 02:36 PM
  #18  
Patrick
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Through business I have recently been in contact with an American working in Istanbul on a grant and staying in the Sultanahmet. Since I was concerned about my reservation at The Ambassador (see posting just above), he checked it out for me. He inspected the hotel and said it was "fine" no better nor worse than many similar hotels in the area, but he put me in touch with his travel agent in Istanbul who booked me into what is supposedly a much nicer hotel (I've now seen both brochures, and it certainly appears so) for the same amount of money. I feel much more confident. Thanks to this strain of messages I may have saved myself some disappointment with my original booking, maybe not. But I agree, it is just too fishy that all these people recommend The Ambassador.
 
Mar 23rd, 2000, 03:21 PM
  #19  
maggiwun
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We spent some time in Istanbul in October and did some shopping both at the Egyptian Market and Grand Bazaar. If Turkey taught me anything, it is to "let the buyer beware". Everyone has an ulterior motive. Well dressed men approaching you and asking you in a friendly way if you need help finding someplace...they will spend hours walking around with you if they ultimately get you to visit their "family" business just around the corner. At no time did we ever feel in danger or threatened, but it was hard to shake them. I would in no way pay a "Screaming Shopper" $250 just to help me in the Grand Bazaar. We needed no help. A local told us, just turn down the first 5 offers. If we didn't like the price, we'd just walk away and they would run after us and agree to our price, proclaiming that now they would "have to close the shop", or we had "ruined" their day. It's all a game.
 

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