Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

Turkey : Hotel help? Old town or New town??

Turkey : Hotel help? Old town or New town??

Jun 23rd, 2010, 10:56 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 52
Turkey : Hotel help? Old town or New town??

Hi All,

We are going to Istanbul for 4-5 nights at the end of August, just before the World Basketball tournament when hotel availability is scarce. We would like to stay in the old town area to feel the Ottoman style. But most of the hotels or B&B (except the expensive ones) in TripAdvisor are either run down, no view or view of some run down rooftops. Would like some suggestion of hotels in the old town area (i.e. with a view of the blue mosque). I like to stay in an Ottoman style and CLEAN place but not the ones with mouldy and dusty furniture. Anyone has any suggestion?
Some people suggest staying in the Taksim area for a more modern(like any other hotel in N. America) and clean hotel at the same price range and the shops and restaurants in that area is not as "tourist trap" as the old town. If that is the case, hotel suggestion in the Taksim area is most appreciative too.
It will be for 2 people and budget is less than USD150 a night. BTW, should we split the stay into 2-3 nights in old town and 2-3 nights in Taksim; is it worth the move?

at12am is offline  
Jun 24th, 2010, 01:55 PM
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 9
You had better stay at the Old town.But stay away from carpet dealers at that area.Almira hotel,Tria Hotel
But if you like to walk around in the night it is better to stay at the Taksim area.SW boutiqe or Tomtom suites
Jacknail is offline  
Jun 25th, 2010, 07:52 AM
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 2,598
I stayed at the Dersaadet in Sultanahmet and loved it. There is a rooftop terrace with a view of the Blue Mosque and the Sea of Marmara. It was clean and comfortable and the staff were friendly and helpful.

I stayed there based on a Fodors trip report. There is a web site so you can check out photos and rates.

Yes, I would split the stay into a couple of nights in Sultanahmet and a couple around Taksim at a modern hotel.
Luisah is offline  
Jun 25th, 2010, 08:13 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,943
You should have put >Istanbul< in the title of your thread, guv. It doesn't make any sense the way it is written.

The "old town" of Istanbul where the Blue Mosque is situated is called "Sultanahmet."

Sultanahmet is a good base if you want to explore the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palas, and Grand Bazaar.

It is NOT great for nightlife, however.

The carpet salesmen in Sultanahmet can also cause a lot of irritation. They literally chase you down the street if they think you have money. If you look like a stoned, hippie backpacker who has to scrape a few lira together to buy brekkie, then you will be OK.

My favourite hotel in Sultanahmet is Yesil Ev.

I know that the Mavi Ev hotel is directly across the road from the Blue Mosque. You would have unobstructed views of the mosque if you stayed here.

But, BEWARE, when you stay in Sultanahmet, you also hear the call to prayer from the Blue Mosque. One call is at sunrise, so you may be stirred from your sleep.

Ortakoy is the place to go for nighlife. You would have better access to Ortakoy if you stayed at the Ciragan Palce or the Ritz-Carlton. I think there is now a Four Seasons on the Bosphorus also?????

ThinGorjus is offline  
Jun 25th, 2010, 10:58 AM
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 3,605
We stayed at the Hotel Sari Konak in the Old Town in May and found the rooms very clean (deluxe double 303 and apt 501). Breakfast was good, the staff lovely and it has a terrific roof terrace w/a small bar. If you click on my profile you'll see a photo of the Blue Mosque taken from the terrace. You do hear the call to prayer so bring earplugs.

For a first trip with only 4 or 5 nights I probably wouldn't switch although for our next trip (our 2nd), I'd definitely stay in another part of time for variety.

Thin's correct about the carpet salesman knowing who their customers are...we were lucky to have my in-laws with us as decoys. Seriously, though, the people are lovely and very helpful. If you don't wish to buy something a polite, firm, no thank you works well.

Have a terrific trip.
mvor is offline  
Jun 25th, 2010, 11:15 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,336
I could be wrong, but I think that budget's going to be a bit low for anything decent in the Old Town, especially if it's just before the World Basketball Tournament. ANYWAY... a few years ago, we stayed at THE SEVEN HILLS HOTEL, in Sultanahmet, which is just across the street from THE FOUR SEASONS. The hotel had some plumbing issues then, but I know from friends who recently visited that those have long been resolved.

The hotel has a gorgeous rooftop restaurant from which I took great pictures of the Blue Mosque and Aya Sofia, both of which are a very short walk from the hotel. You may get woken up by the call to prayer, especially at sunrise, but I enjoyed it. Why visit Istanbul if you don't want to immerse yourself in its culture?

I know others have posted about not liking Sultanahmet, but keep your sense of humor and just go . One of the carpet salesmen was joking around ( I think???) and asked us, "How many camels for your daughter?" My 19-year-old ( at the time) daughter didn't find it funny, but my husband and I almost spat up our mint tea.

We liked being within walking distance to the major sites and Grand Bazaar. Others will tell you to stay in Taksim, and I admit we didn't see much of it, but were quite happy with our stay in Sultanahmet.

Taxis are cheap and easy to find, so no, I wouldn't bother changing locations for a few days.
Weadles is offline  
Jun 25th, 2010, 11:55 AM
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 137
Hi at12am. We had to make similar decisions last May regarding which area to stay in. We ended up staying in an apartment In Taksim but we also considered the hotels mentioned above all.

We chose the Beyoglu area because of an apartment we had found and we usually prefer the convenience of apartment living over hotels. We had also heard that the better restaurants were in this area. The Beyoglu area is modern and frequented by locals more than the Sultanahmet area where most tourists go to see the usual sites. It also has a very active night life which continues till the wee hours of the morning.

Each time we visited the sites in Sultanahmet we used taxis but you can just as easily use the trams, buses etc. On our return to Istanbul we stayed overnight in Sultanahmet and actually enjoyed it very much more than I thought we would. It's lovely and romantic in the evening. We also had one of our best meals very close to the Blue Mosque. I think if we were to return that's where we would stay.

Hope this helps.
NLspirit is offline  
Jun 25th, 2010, 12:39 PM
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 2,598
The call to prayer woke me up but I didn't mind. I listened and went back to sleep. I enjoyed hearing it especially at night on the rooftop terrace and seeing the sunset and the boats on the Sea of Marmara. The call comes from several mosques so is quite a serenade. Wine, beer and other drinks are available on the terrace.

The Dersaadet is about a three or four minute walk to the Blue Mosque so I was surprised at how quiet the neighborhood is at night. I slept with the window open and didn't wake until the call to prayer.

I don't know about the hotels in Taksim, but the Dersaadet and others that I checked on in Sultanahmet give a 10% discount for cash, include breakfast, and if you stay more than three nights, free transportation to the airport.

I've read good reports on the Empress Zoe but decided against it because of the lack of a elevator. I knew I'd want to spend a lot of time on the terrace and didn't want to be going up and down stairs since I'd be doing plenty of walking in Istanbul.

Good luck, I hope you find what you want.
Luisah is offline  
Jun 26th, 2010, 02:32 AM
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 462
If you don't stay in the Old Town it can take forever to get there and to see the historic sites because of congestion with traffic. I found a lovely hotel just off the main road in front of the Blue Mosque but I think the price was rather high - 200 Euro per night - that was last month by the way. However a nice hotel is called the Blue Hotel I think. I had a meal on the roof garden restaurant with beautiful views around. Very clean and nice. I will do a search of the hotels in the area and see what I can find for the first one I mentioned and post it if I find it for you. Taxim is not a great place to stay imho.
ivenotbeeneverywhere is offline  
Jun 26th, 2010, 02:52 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,675
The Blue Hotel is the Mavi Ev (mavi = blue). My husband and I stayed there in 2001, and liked it very much. Comfortable, good service, great location. I loved staying in this area.

We did hear the call to prayer in the early hours, so if that disturbs you, just bring ear plugs. After a while, it becomes part of the fabric of the experience.
progol is offline  
Jun 26th, 2010, 05:33 AM
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 4,601
Just some info and a local perspective:

- End of August is Ramazan, the fasting (also feasting after sunset) month.
-Sultanahmet will be full of low-middle socio-economic level locals every night, especially around the Blue Mosque, where a large number of stalls will be set up, for souvenirs, food, drinks, religious artifacts, etc. There will also be Turkish music. this will last till after midnight. Many tourists say they enjoyed visiting the area at night. We visited it once five or six years ago and felt that half an hour was enough.
- You probably should not eat, drink or smoke in public around Sultanahmet in the daytime during Ramazan. In Taksim and Istiklal or Nisantasi or Kurucesme/Bebek you can and may act like on any normal day.

- Some restaurants may be closed in Sultanahmet during the day and others may not serve alcoholic beverages.

- A large area around the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sofya is now closed to traffic. This area also includes some streets which have some of the mentioned hotels. When reserving, check to make sure that a taxi can reach the hotel, because you will not want to pull or carry your cases on the hilly cobblestone streets.

- The distance from Taksim to Sultanahmet is about four miles. You can take historic tram to tunel,funicular to Karakoy and tram to sultanahmet, or funicular from taksim to Kabatas and tram to Sultanahmet in at most 30 minutes. Depending on the time of day, taxi can take from 15 to 45 minutes.

- Most of the lively middle-upperscale fun areas will be on the Bosphorus in August and easier to reach from taksim in the evening.

- I also recommend short (i think one hour) evening cruises up the Bosphorus from Besiktas or Ortakoy.

- I doubt that you will find hotels with mouldy or rusty furniture in Istanbul, but there sure are many moldy and rusty people around. and not only in Istanbul.
otherchelebi is offline  
Jun 26th, 2010, 04:27 PM
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 462
The Blue Hotel's web-site is http://www.hotels.com/ho189677/blue-...turkey/#photos

I took the tram to Taxim and when you can get on one that is not 150% full it is only 4 miles to the Blue Mosque area. However it did take about 1/2hour as well because of getting on and off the tram and onto the funicular railway to Taxsim and trying to get on a tram. I would be very surprised if you could not get anything in the way of food and drink during the day in any hotel in Istanbul. Even in Arabia during Ramadan tourists and foreign residents are catered for.
ivenotbeeneverywhere is offline  
Jun 26th, 2010, 04:29 PM
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 462
PS: Whenever you go and wherever you stay you will enjoy Turkey because I think the locals are really lovely people. I wish that they would take no for an answer about carpets - not everyone wants to buy them and it does get tedious after a while but just smile and shake your head and at least they will back down with a smile - well most of the time!
ivenotbeeneverywhere is offline  
Jul 4th, 2010, 07:22 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 52
Thank everyone's advice. I have narrowed down to 8 hotels to choose from (which are all 120Euro or less per night). I will stay at 2 places (to compare and report back to TA and this forum for other travelers' reference). Will let you all know when I get back.
at12am is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 11:46 PM.