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Turkey Hotel Recommendations - your advice is appreciated


Mar 3rd, 2010, 07:25 PM
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Turkey Hotel Recommendations - your advice is appreciated

Hi everyone! We are planning a 10-day trip to Turkey in the first week in July. The itinerary includes Istanbul, Kusadasi (base to see Ephesus and Pamukkale), and Cappadocia. We have narrowed down some hotels, and before I contact the travel agents, I wanted your feedback.

We want to stay at nice 5-stars - our budget doesn't stretch to the Ciragan Palace or Four Seasons, but we were hoping for nice hotels a step below that.

1) Istanbul - we are planning to stay in the Beyoglu/Taksim area. We were initially thinking of staying in Sultanahmet; however, some friends who just got back from there were strongly recommending against that. They stayed in the old city and were apparently constantly pestered by over-aggressive shopkeepers. They felt Beyoglu was better as it's more cosmopolitan and has a nice mix of restaurants and shops. Plus I understand it takes a max of 30 mins by taxi or tram to get to the old quarter (if I am wrong, please let me know). The hotels we are thinking of - Hilton Istanbul, Swissotel Bosphorus, and Marmara.

At this point, we are leaning towards the Hilton, only because they have balconies and if you pay extra, you are guaranteed a room with direct views of the Bophorus. We are staying in Istanbul for 5 days, so that is a big plus point.

2) Cappadocia - Yunak Evleri or Esbelli Evi. Both highly recommended by Fodor's and Frommer's.

3) Kusadasi - Charisma Hotel or Kismet Hotel. Same thing.

Does anyone agree/disagree with these names? If you have stayed at any of these places and have good/bad things to report, please let me know. Also, if we are overlooking any hotel that we should be thinking about in any of these places, let me know. Thanks a ton!
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Mar 3rd, 2010, 10:28 PM
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I cannot comment on the Cappadocia hotels as it has been too many years since we were there (time for another visit, i guess)

Coming to istanbul, The Marmara, although the weakest in terms of rooms and general quality, is definitely the best in terms of location. When you get a view in Marmara, you really get one. The Hilton is, in my opinion, the nicest of the three in terms of size of room and over-all friendliness. But its views are much more limited, even if you get the best room, and it is not at an easy walking distance to either Taksim/Beyoglu or the more upscale Nisantasi areas.

Swiss Hotel has the most facilities, and reasonable rooms vith views, but it is even further from the two areas i mentioned.

In this range, consider the Radisson Blu at Ortakoy directly on the Bosphorus, very close to the famous supper clubs of Reina and Sortie, and with a great better than Ciragan view. Unfortunately, we have never stayed there and do not know the rooms. But their Sea food restaurant andthe Turkish kebap restaurant were both very good. Also it is not that far away from Taksi by taxi, although i would recommend a water taxi to go to the old city (ido taxi or Jeff taxi), which will be great fun.

Another option is the Park Hyatt in tesvikiye with a very good upscale location, excellent rooms and service, but not much of a view.

In regards to Kusadasi, we stayed at and liked Kismet's location and grounds. Its beach was not good and its restaurant was mediocre in spite of the very nice afternoon and evening view. However, there is a nice restaurant just below the hill, near the marina, and possibly quite a few others on the promenade towards the town. I do not rememeber the Charisma, but if it is the stand alone hotel to the South of the city, it is more ostentatious but not as pleasant as Kismet, and will be further from your target visits of Selcuk and Pamukkale (do not forger aphrodisias) (We have read some terrific news of a lady guide called Fatma Acar for the area, on Trip Advisor).
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Mar 4th, 2010, 06:49 PM
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Thanks otherchelebi! Good to get your input. Based on your suggestions, I think we should nix the Swissotel (too far away) and Marmara (I also have read a lot of mixed reviews on Trip Advisor). I will add the Radisson Blu to the list. 2 other hotels I was thinking to add were - Ceylan Interconinental and Grand Hyatt. They are both in the right area and have large rooms with Bosphorus views. What do you think?

We will focus on the Kismet Hotel for Kusadasi but since I need to to give the travel agents at least one more option, I will stick with Charisma for now. Have you heard of the Korumar Hotel? It's another one that came up, but I know nothing about it.
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Mar 5th, 2010, 12:58 AM
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Ceylan intercontinental gets good reviews. their rooms are of reasonable size and you can get good Bosphorus and city views from the upper floors. (It was a Sheraton in the old days and we stayed on the 16th floor, the first night of our honeymoon, but i do not remember the view )

Grand Hyatt is not a highrise, and there is the old military barracks (now part of the Istanbul technical university) in front, and the Ritz closing its view. So, despite what they say, I would prefer the Hilton to the Grand Hyatt.
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Mar 5th, 2010, 09:36 PM
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I can reccomend the Kismet-we stayed there and asked for a roomwith a view of the water. I was told the people at reception were snooty-true but the grounds and hotel were wonderful.
We ate at a restaurant 2 times that we could walk to-you could see the canopy from hotel-just walk to street & turn left. It was a fish restaurant and we had the freshest fish and wonderful view. Can't remember name but someone on site told me about it.
In Istanbul we stayed at Dursaadet-It is in the Sultanahmet area-I can highly reccomend it-even though it is not on your list.
We stayed in a cave hotel in Cappadocia-can't remeber name -this was in 06-they were just opening so we got a good price-they needed to work a few things out,but it was an experience not to be misses.
My husband & I drove down from Yalova to Kusadasi & stayed in Assos-the hotel was a converted acorn storage place-we had the only balcony in a tiny harbor in a tiny town and it was one of the highlights of our trip-Eden Group Hotels-enjoy-Chris
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Mar 6th, 2010, 01:16 AM
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well, here's a very strong endorsement of the Marmara. I thought the location outstanding. Yes, right on hectic Taksim Square, but my room, facing the square, was very quiet, and well-appointed. Service in the hotel was excellent--not Four Seasons, but not far behind.
The breakfast buffet was a wonder--a beautiful, substantial, and high-quality array to satisfy any palate or diet preferences. A few steps away was Istitklal Caddessi, a pedestrian-only avenue with a historic tram. Istitlal takes you all the way to Tunel Square, where a funicular helps put you closer to Galata, a historic area to explore. There is another Marmara, the Marmara Pera, off Istitklal and close to the Pera Museum. While I didn't inspect the sister hotel,
I would consider it strongly based on my excellent stay at the Marmara Taksim; its location advantage is being not right on Taksim, and closer to Galata.
On the ground level of the Marmara Taksim is the "Kitchenette" cafe, bustling at all hours with people of all ages enjoying light meals, coffees, and desserts. Within a 10-minute walk of the hotel are many restaurant choices at all price points. The Marmara also has a fitness center and roof-top swimming pool that looked inviting and well-maintained.

The Hilton is convenient to Dolmabahce Palace, but otherwise imo, not convenient at all if one likes to walk or use public transport.

I aspire to staying at any Four Seasons Hotel, but I have not one caveat about the Marmara.

I have a trip file on my trip to Istanbul and Ephesus; if you'd like to have it, email me at
ESL1051 at yahoo dot com
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Mar 6th, 2010, 07:49 AM
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Honestly, we stayed in Sultanahmet during our trip to Istanbul and we enjoyed our location tremendously! I did read before our trip about all the "aggressive salesmen" but never encountered that on our trip (which was in July too). You may encounter them even walking on Istiklal street (trying to get you to come into their restaurants) or other areas in Istanbul like the grand bazaar (but they are by no means "aggressive" and won't bother someone just ignoring them).

If you want to experience old Istanbul-- the history (as opposed to the more modern Istanbul) I'd stay at the Sultanahmet. We stayed at the Daphne hotel (beautiful rooms, lovely breakfast, friendly service) and it has a spectacular roof top view of Istanbul. The best part is that you are only steps away from all the places you'll want to visit.

We used public transportation (very easy to use to go to the Bosphorous, galata tower area) and only use a taxi to go to a restaurant that was 5 miles away (and the restaurant paid for our taxi ride too!).

For me--- it's like recommending someone stay in New Jersey because it is less crowded/noisy than Manhatten. Doesn't make sense!
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Mar 9th, 2010, 06:40 PM
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I'm sorry but I don't entirely agree with that last statement. And I'm from New York, so I fully appreciate the difference between staying in Manhattan vs New Jersey, but I don't think you can compare Taksim Square with New Jersey. It's very much a part of metropolitan Istanbul, the only difference being that it's the new quarter vs the old quarter. It's still very much in the heart of Istanbul. This is a personal opinion, but whenever I have family and friends coming to stay in New York and needing hotel recommendations, I would never recommend they stay in Times Square. It's overrun with tourists, crawling with touts, and all the restaurants with the exception of a few in the theater district, cater to tourists. It's better to stay in Midtown East or Chelsea which are close to the action, have lots of fun bars and cafes, and in case of Chelsea some really hip galleries, but cater mostly to locals. That way, you get a good taste of where the locals shop, eat, hang out, etc. And that's what I was trying to achieve by staying in Taksim - why would you want to stay in an area that caters only to tourists like you? I'd rather stay somewhere where the Istanbullus hang out, that way you can enjoy the local scene.
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Mar 10th, 2010, 02:25 AM
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We would be delighted to have you as our guest at Hilton Istanbul. Besides the balcony - a unique feature in Istanbul hotels, a big plus is the largest outdoor pool and garden area in town. An oasis in the city enabling you to combine sightseeing and relaxation...

You may find very favorable rates on www.hilton.com! We strongly advise to make your booking as soon as possible to get advantageous rates. Why not upgrade to an Executive room where you will be able to enjoy access to the beautiful Executive Lounge with private check-in, breakfast, snacks and drinks throughout the day, internet terminals all included in the rate?

Sascha Koehler
Hotel Manager
Hilton Istanbul
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