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Neighborhoods & Hotel in Athens & Istanbul

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Sep 27th, 2012, 11:07 AM
  #1
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Neighborhoods & Hotel in Athens & Istanbul

My parnter and I are going to be taking a cruise from Athens to Istabnbul next summer. We plan to stay a few nights before and after the cruise in Athens and Istanbul to explore both of these cities a bit more. What neighborhoods do you recommend for a hotel and do you have any specific hotel recommendations? We do not like to stay in the touristy areas (Times Square in NYC, Fisherman's Wharf in SF) as they are full of chain stores and chaos and we do not like to stay in the Financial Districts as they tend to die out in the evenings and on weekends. We have enjoyed hotels that are close to the action but have a more local feel (Meatpacking & West Village in NYC, L'Eixample in Barcelona, etc). We are both lovers of design and asthetic and our hotel "experience" is important to both of us. We have had great experiences in 12 room boutique inn's such Casa de Janelas in Lisbon and have loved our stays in large hotels that "get it" such as The Standard in NYC. Looking for that special hotel with the right touches in Athens & Istanbul. Thanks so much for your thoughtful information. Appreciated.

Best, David
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Sep 27th, 2012, 12:22 PM
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Check Bebek Hotel at Bebek and Sumahan at Cengelkoy.

Let me know if these are too expensive or not up to your standards and I will suggest some others.
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Sep 27th, 2012, 01:13 PM
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Check the O&B hotel in Athens.
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Sep 27th, 2012, 01:18 PM
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Check Periscope Hotel in fashionable Kolonaki district or design New Hotel near Syntagma Square
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Sep 29th, 2012, 04:15 PM
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Thank you so much for the recommendations. clausar - we have only two days in Athens - would you recommend Kolonako or Syntagma Square?
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Sep 29th, 2012, 09:26 PM
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Kolonaki and Syntagma Square are very near to each other, the Periscope hotel is a 10 min. walk from Syntagma, and close to the National Garden, Byzantine, Benaki and Goulandri Museums.

Closest metro stations are either Evangelismos or Syntagma,

Kolonaki is full of nice boutiques, cafes, restaurants, with Kolonaki Square being one of the most central squares of Athens.
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Oct 1st, 2012, 07:07 AM
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I cannot recommend the Witt Istanbul in the Cihangir neighborhood highly enough. I stayed in the Grand King Panaromic Suite (room 61) with floor to ceiling glass windows, a wrap around balcony and a breathtaking review of the Old City. It wasn't cheap but if price is a concern, room 62 offers almost the same view and is 100 euros less/night. The staff couldn't have been more accomodating. The Witt is a boutique hotel with exposed ceilings and a very modern feel--much more like loft apartments than a hotel. Check out their website. I would try to book as early as possible once you know your dates.
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Oct 4th, 2012, 05:48 AM
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In Istanbul if you wish to stay at Asian side Sumahan is a good one and have shuttle boat to European side. Otherwise Old City is the place for the first time visitor. Four Season should be the first choice if budget allows.
In Athens O&B is greatly located and convenient.

Happy Travels,
Murat
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Nov 11th, 2012, 06:18 AM
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I would suggest taking a look towards Psiri area.Psiri continues after Monastiraki.A budget accommodation is the Athinaikon hotel ,it's a family-run business clean and cheap and has free wifi.
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Nov 11th, 2012, 07:10 AM
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I agree absolutely with the suggestion of the Witt Istanbul. Great hotel in an interesting and up-and-coming neighborhood. A short uphill trek from the tram however if walking is an issue.

Do not stay in Sultanahmet/Old city if you don't like being in the tourist area. Not even the 4 Seasons makes up for the crowds and tourist traps.
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Nov 11th, 2012, 07:16 AM
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Re Istanbul, just thought of another hotel you might like. Just across the Galata Bridge from the old city is Karaköy Locantasi, an excellent restaurant that has added several very nice rooms, called Karaköy Suites. Large, modern spaces in a remodeled building on the port. It's less expensive than the Witt and a bit closer to the tourist sites. Next door is the Locanta Maya, where we had the best meal of our stay.
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Nov 11th, 2012, 07:19 AM
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Ax Nektarie, Ax .......
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Dec 22nd, 2012, 03:01 PM
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Thanks to everyone for all of the recommendations - really helpful! We decided to stay at the Hotel Grande Bretagne in Athens and the Doubltree Old Town (with points). Really appreciate the insights and I will report back!
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Dec 23rd, 2012, 07:13 PM
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I don't mean to be annoying, but are you staying at Hotel Grande Bretagne on points, too? If not, and if you would reconsider, take a look at The Ava Hotel in the Plaka. We stayed at Grande Bretagne the last five summers, and finally switched over to Ava last year. Although the public spaces are not as grand as the- ha ha- Grande Bretagne, you can have a rooftop suite at AVA with views in one direction of Hadrians Arch and in another of the Acropolis, for about half or less of what you sometimes pay at Grande Bretagne for a tiny little room with no view at all.

The location is fabulous ( the hotel is on the doorstep of the Plaka, and only about a ten minute walk from the Acropolis) and the staff is one of the most welcoming and efficient of any hotel we've encountered in many years of traveling in Europe.

Just a thought if you're interested... Good luck!
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Dec 24th, 2012, 01:01 AM
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Doubletree old town in istanbul is very close to the heart of touristic istanbul (mostly Eastern European tourists in that area) and also almost within the wholesale leather and garment area catering to Russian and Ukranian traders as well as their illegal immigrant population.

This is an interesting district in the day time but can be strange at night when you may feel uneasy. The main street will be fine but rather empty and the side streets near the hotel not advisable.

Have you considered ParkSa Hilton or Istanbul Hilton with your points? These are near the upscale districts of istanbul where there is great night life and not far from Istiklal street which is the middle class hub for partying 24 hours.

You can take a reasonable walk and then public transport easily to old town from these locations and reach the Bosphorus even easier especially from ParkSa which has smaller rooms but will be cheaper.

Unfortunately, there are no "design" or boutique hotels in the Hilton group in Istanbul. The real design hotels like Park Hyatt, House Hotel, etc. are rather expensive.

The boutique hotels in old town sultanahmet area are more reasonably priced and some are quite nicely done in traditional Ottoman style but you will be in the midst of only touristic activity much worse than Times Square or Leicester Square.
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