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November 17, 2012 11:59 PM   Subscribe

Where to stay in Istanbul?

I'm spending a week and a half there in December. I'd like to avoid the super touristy areas, but be within easy walking/transit distance to the usual tourist stuff. Price isn't too much of an issue, I'd rather it be nice (my hostel-hopping days are over). Saw the advice in this thread, but that was more than six years ago. Specific hotel/apartment suggestions, please.
posted by overhauser to Travel & Transportation around Istanbul, Turkey (16 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
I stayed in the Nippon and quite enjoyed it. Probably overpriced yuppie-bait, but that's my failing. Walking distance to lots of interesting stuff, transit hub, etc.
posted by ead at 12:09 AM on November 18, 2012

I stayed at the Yasmak Sultan about 5 or 6 years ago and it was fine.
posted by meronym at 12:46 AM on November 18, 2012

I stayed here when I was at my brother's wedding in 2010 - http://www.grandpeninsulahotel.com/. It was round the corner from the Blue Mosque, but even though I stayed in August it was very reasonably priced and run by really friendly guys, one Kurdish and one Australian of Kurdish descent. Very clean and friendly, and with the obligatory roof cafe for breakfast.
I think it was the first place I stayed after realising I was getting too old for hostels!
posted by sarahdal at 2:34 AM on November 18, 2012

The Niles Hotel is down a quiet street within walking distance of all the main tourist attractions yet when you're there, you hardly know you're in Istanbul. Very pleasant staff English speaking staff, a wonderful rooftop lounge/cafe where we had breakfast with wonderful views of the Bosphorus, reasonably priced. We were looking for a hotel closer to the airport so we could catch an early flight but we wish we had found the Niles earlier in our trip so we could use it as a base. We would absolutely stay there if we went back again.
posted by birdwatcher at 4:58 AM on November 18, 2012

We stayed at the Erguvan Hotel in Feb. 2011. We had a great experience. It was reasonably priced, great service, nice rooftop breakfast. It is in Sultanahmet, but in February it didn't feel like a tourist neighborhood, and we were within walking distance to all of the usual tourist stuff.
posted by JumpW at 6:22 AM on November 18, 2012

May be too close to the Sultanahemet area for you, but I have heard nothing but good things about The Kybele Hotel.

That said, neither of the hotel suggestions in the thread from 6 years ago are invalid. I have been to Istanbul twice with 5 years between visits, and not that much had changed.
posted by deanc at 6:26 AM on November 18, 2012

Can't give you lodging suggestions, but can give you a coffee shop recommendation! Check out Denizen Coffee when you get there. Run by my childhood best friend, Ken, and his partner. Enjoy!
posted by littleredwagon at 8:21 AM on November 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

I would stay on the other side of the Halic from the touristic areas. Sultanhamet is amazing for sights, but sort of lame otherwise. Definitely stay in Beyoglu if its your first trip. We rented an apartment from these folks in Cihangir. We just walked down to the tram every morning.

Their hotels are well thought of I guess as well. But maybe too far from the tourist areas for a first time?

A friend of mine with very high standards has stayed here and liked it a lot.
posted by JPD at 8:24 AM on November 18, 2012 [2 favorites]

I was there in February. I stayed in the Beyoglu neighborhood, and it was great!

It's walkable to Sultanahmet, where all the main tourist attractions are, but once you've walked over the Galata bridge a few times and taken pictures of all the quaint Ottoman buildings and really just want to get moving, there are a few different ways to get there via public transit.

I stayed close to Taksim square, so I ended up taking a short tram line down the hill to Karakoy and then changing for the line that goes over the Galata bridge and to Sultanahmet. These trams have computerized announcements that clearly state what tourist attractions are near what stops, and most of the stops are very close together, anyway (Sultanahmet is SMALL). This option takes a little bit of mass transit savvy, and even I messed up the transfer the first time, just because it's not easy to navigate a major urban metro system when you don't speak word one of the language. But you'll get it, and once you do it's dead simple.

If you stay a little closer in towards the Galata Bridge end of Istiklal Avenue, you can take a little historic trolley (or just walk - Istiklal Avenue is great for strolling) to a funicular which leads to the bridge. From there you can walk into Sultanahmet over the bridge, or hop on that tram line I was talking about. This is a lot easier than making the transfer at Karakoy, because in this part of town everything is well mapped for tourists. And it's just the one line.
posted by Sara C. at 9:27 AM on November 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

Before I arrived, I'd made a reservation at some place in Sultanahmet, but once there I realized I was paying too much and moved around the corner to the Otel Buhara which was nice; I still recall fondly the view from their roof-terrace.
posted by Rash at 10:02 AM on November 18, 2012

I stayed at the Citadel Hotel when I was there last year. Reasonably priced, friendly staff, great breakfast, and short walking distance from Aya Sofya, etc. while not being in the middle of all the tourist stuff. Plus I could see Asia from my hotel room!
posted by gingerbeer at 3:32 PM on November 18, 2012

Yeah, avoid Sultanahmet and stay in Beyoglu. Around the Galata Tower would be interesting for example.
posted by hoca efendi at 4:58 AM on November 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

May be too close to the Sultanahemet area for you, but I have heard nothing but good things about The Kybele Hotel.

I've stayed at Kybele four times and I can't recommend it highly enough.
posted by booth at 1:51 PM on November 19, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks for all of the answers, everyone. I should have been more specific - when I said I wanted to avoid the super touristy areas, I meant that I do not want to stay in Sultanhamet.

Beyoglu sounds perfect, but there are over 30 hotels there. Any specific Beyoglu hotel recommendations?
posted by overhauser at 6:51 PM on November 19, 2012

i've stayed a couple of places, Beyoglu is good. I have also stayed in Hodgapasha, which is close enough TO sultahhamet in case you need to go there, but also near a lot of awesome street food.

posted by jennybento at 7:35 PM on November 20, 2012

Response by poster: OK, I'm back. Istanbul is awesome.

In the end I stayed in Beyoglu, half of the time at the Londre Hotel, which is a very cool dilapidated old world place, and the other half at the Pera Palace Hotel, which is a really great high-end place.

If you're American, definitely make your way to Denizen Coffee, as littleredwagon suggested. The owners are really great people, and made a lot of great suggestions as to where to go.

Thanks, everyone, for your suggestions!
posted by overhauser at 2:32 PM on December 18, 2012

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