Not Constantinople
June 1, 2010 12:12 PM   Subscribe

Need lodging suggestions for a week in Istanbul in June/July.

I'll be heading to Istanbul from Greece for a 5 to 6 day stay. I'd like to find a hostel or a cheaper hotel that is in the center of the action. By center of the action I mean a place kind of like the East Village of New York City - my plan is to mostly wander around and find coffee shops to sit and chill, hit some museums, people watch, etc during the day and then try some nightlife (more Brooklyn-ish than Vegas-ish kind of nightlife).

A Turkish friend suggested the neighborhoods around taksim: beyoglu, galata, tunel and cihangir He's unreachable for a few days and didn't leave me detail about what each of those neighborhoods are like. Any further information about them and what the pros/cons of each are would be nice.

I have no idea yet how far the dollar goes in Istanbul so cheap to me I'm thinking 40 to 50 dollars a night. Not sure what that gets.
posted by spicynuts to Travel & Transportation around Istanbul, Turkey (10 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
I recommend two (they're affiliated). World House and International House. One of them is steps away from Taksim, the other has a view of Galata. I stayed at International House. The main street is İstiklâl Caddesi which is quite flashy with lots of international chains, but in the side streets you'll find ridiculously fun nightlife and plenty of interesting sights and shopping. I stayed in the super cheap 6 bed dorm for 13 euros but they might have singles. Here's a list of some nicer suggestions. DON'T stay in Sultanahmet. It's like... Times Square. You'll obviously visit, but you'll want to escape.
posted by acidic at 12:34 PM on June 1, 2010

I was there for almost three weeks last year and your Turkish friend has it. Istiklal Caddessi (a street which terminates at Taksim) in Beyoglu is the main shopping / eating drag in the city, at least if you're on foot. The corporate stuff is on the main street, but the feeder streets off of it are an endless treasure trove of restaurants and bookshops, and bars. And hell I even met some locals at a starbucks in the area and spent the day with them.

I stayed at this hostel in the area, and I can recommend it. Most of the hostels in the city are clustered in a very touristy neighborhood near the Hagia Sophia. I stayed over there briefly and it's fine, but I still absolutely recommend staying in Beyoglu. Speaking of the Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, and Topkapı, it's easy to get over there by mass transit from the Taksim area.
posted by MillMan at 1:39 PM on June 1, 2010

I visited Turkey in 2005 and stayed here. It's not near Taksim, but it's a quick cab ride/tram ride away. It's right in the heart of Sultanahmat so you're really close to plenty of cafes, restaurants and the mosques. however, nightlife is lacking within the direct vicinity of the hostel.
posted by VT@MU at 5:39 PM on June 1, 2010

I had a great experience at the Mavi Guesthouse in Sultanahmet, which is was nice and centrally located.
posted by BusyBusyBusy at 5:48 PM on June 1, 2010

This place is excellent. I'm currently in istanbul and have had a great time staying here. Clean bathrooms, frıendly staff, good locatıon etc etc... Hıghly recommended
posted by Scientifik at 10:24 PM on June 1, 2010

Whatever you do, don't stay in Sultanahmet, described recently and accurately by one blogger as "the worst tourist ghetto I've seen in any major city, ever." Galata, Tünel, and Cihangir are all neighborhoods in the larger district of Beyoğlu, which is the heart of old European Istanbul. They're all more or less five minutes walk from one another, so don't sweat the details—anywhere around Taksim will do.

For more Brooklyn-ish nightlife, get thee to Babylon, and the Asmalımescit area around it. If you change your mind and want Vegas-ish nightlife, summer is the time to go.
posted by ecmendenhall at 1:21 AM on June 2, 2010

I always stay at Kybele Hotel in Sultanahmet. It's a really nice little oasis in "the worst tourist ghetto." (I understand ecmendenhall's point, but that's where I like to be.) It's within walking distance of the Blue Mosque, Aya Sofya, Topkapi (where the tourists are), but also the Grand Bazaar (where the real life is, once you get off the main route). And cabs are cheap.
posted by booth at 5:35 AM on June 2, 2010

I liked this place although it's in Sultanahmet, which I didn't find all that different from other parts of İstanbul. Since word is Beyoglu is the happening sector, I tried to find lodging there, but it was all way more expensive and unaffordable. Plus I found walking around in Beyoglu just looking for hotels to be an exercise in futility, YMMV.
posted by Rash at 12:01 PM on June 2, 2010

I stayed at Hotel Obelisk around this time last year - just down the street from Mavi guesthouse mentioned earlier. It's nothing special really, but it's reasonably priced, and it's in Sultanahmet - this is a bonus if you prioritize seeing the big tourist attractions vs. social life. Of course, the tourist focus comes with all of the usual negatives (crowds of other tourists, overly-eager rug salesmen, etc.). If you're looking for social life, Beyoglu is probably the place to look.
posted by owls at 11:19 AM on June 3, 2010

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