I picked the Doubletree Istanbul Old Town because of its location near Sultanahmed and all of the Old Town sights. The hotel can be booked for 44,000 points or around $160 per night. This is a good choice for families, since the property offers 50% off second room rates (Best Available Rate only) if a child is staying in the second room.
- Grand Hyatt Istanbul
- Istiklal Avenue, Istanbul
- Blue Mosque, Istanbul
- Hagia Sophia, Istanbul
- Topkapi Palace, Istanbul
- Old Town Istanbul (at night)
- Eminonu New Mosque & The Egyptian Spice Market
- Hotel Review: Doubletree Istanbul Old Town
- KLM Business Class Istanbul – Amsterdam – San Francisco
- 5 Things I Love About Istanbul
The Doubletree Istanbul is close enough to Sultanahmet, but not in the midst of it. You’ll miss out on a fully “local” experience, even if you do spend most of your time outside like I did.
If you’re staying in Istanbul for the first time and want a thorough overview of the city, I recommend splitting your stay between the Taksim and Sultanahmet area. Instead of a chain, try to stay at a local hotel in Sultanahmet. You’ll be right in the midst of a charming neighborhood, you’ll get more of a cultural experience, and many hotels in the area offer a discount the longer you stay. I’ve heard great things about the Erguvan Hotel, and the Neorion Hotel has been voted #1 on Tripadvisor. Both hotels were sold out, which is another reason I booked the Doubletree.
Much like at the Grand Hyatt, security is taken seriously at this property. Right before entering the lobby, you’re required to go through a metal detector. A security guard stood by the entrance at all times and would search guests who set off the alarm.
The check in agent was as frazzled as the one at the Hyatt. Because I was a Gold member, I received free wifi and breakfast. There were 2 wifi code sheets for every night, breakfast vouchers, spa coupons, and a welcome note. All of these papers really stacked up, which is why I think a folder would have been a nice way to keep everything organized.
The rooms at this hotel are tiny. In a room this small, they shouldn’t have cramped in a long desk spanning the length of one bed. I also don’t understand the strange black mirrors (?) on the walls. You can’t see your reflection and they don’t make the room bigger, so what’s the point? I know what you’re thinking – there was a tv, but these blocks weren’t it.
I think the hotel was going for an edgy and modern look, but that kind of fell flat. The bathroom amenities were a strange combination of some obscure brand and a Neutrogena body wash. It made me think they ran out of body wash and then raided the $1 bins at Target for replacements.
When I walked in to the room, I immediately headed for the window. Turns out we had a view of the noisy alley next to the building. By noisy, I mean there was loud construction noise at random times of the day, including at that moment. The hotel was completely sold out and unable to move us to a less noisy room.
Hilton HHonors Gold members (and those booking a package) get daily breakfast at the Oldtown Restaurant inside the hotel. You walk in, give your room number to the attendant, and are promptly seated. If you’re a Gold member, you present the vouchers that are handed to you at check in.
The waiters at the restaurant work very hard to take care of all the guests at breakfast. They make sure drinks are refilled and check on you constantly. It can get crowded at breakfast, but we never had to wait for a table.
Although breakfast offerings were plentiful, it got tiring by the third morning. The buffet offered a variety of fruits, cheeses, fresh honey, an omelette station, heart shaped pancakes or waffles, and scrambled eggs. Despite the variety, everything tasted bland. Take my advice and avoid the scrambled eggs. They were watery and cold. When I’d ask for eggs at the omelette station, the cook would direct me towards the scrambled egg tray. I’m getting shivers just thinking about it.
The restaurant was very clean, though the view was lacking. The floor to ceiling windows faced a few alleyway shops. In contrast, many of the Sultanahmed area hotels serve their breakfast on the rooftop, offering views of the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia.
If it seems like I’m always encountering thugs at the check-in counter, I’m convinced it’s because I am. Not only did they refuse to honor the 50% discount on the second room (even though I confirmed it via email ahead of time), they were pretty much useless when it came to booking a cab. I specified the number of people and bags. What pulls up at the entrance, but a tiny european compact with barely enough trunk space for a carry-on! Of course the cab driver left the meter on the entire time he “tried” to fit our bags in the trunk. I asked the staff member helping him if he could call for a bigger cab. He insisted “at this hour” these were the only cars available.
They called a second car, doubling our fare to the airport. To add a cherry to this crap sundae, my dad and I could not figure out where the cab driver had dropped off my mom and sister (who were ahead of us). It took another 10 minutes for them to arrive, and I was pretty agitated at this point. I’m patient most of the time, but if there’s
one thing three things that makes me lose my cool, it’s incompetence, inconsiderate people, and dishonesty. Sufficient to say, I encountered all three during this trip.
I still would do it all over again. Can you imagine how boring going abroad would be if nothing bad ever happened? If it was just clear skies and friendly people all the time? You never laugh about the things that went well on a trip; booking a flight minutes before departing for the airport, blowing up on an airport agent in Dubai, the smart alek comments made by a kid on the streets of Kabul. It’s what makes these trips memorable and if you can’t laugh about the clusterf*****, what can you laugh about?