Neighborhood and hotel Recs for Istanbul visit
February 3, 2014 4:55 PM   Subscribe

I'm visiting Istanbul in May, we were originally going to stay near Taksim square, but I'm wondering if we should re-think because of the protests. Has anyone been there recently, or any locals able to make some recommendations?
posted by allysahn to Travel & Transportation around Istanbul, Turkey (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Perhaps drop an email or tweet to the folks at Eating Asia - they visit Turkey regularly and would be have up to date local knowledge.
posted by ninazer0 at 5:13 PM on February 3, 2014

This is a question that has popped up quite a few times here at AskMe over the last year or so. It might be worth reading some of those other questions and reaching out to the folks who asked them. Presumably they've been to Istanbul very recently and can advise about the relative safety of Taksim.

You might want to look at hotels closer to Galata Bridge rather than right on Taksim Square. There's always Sultanahmet, too.
posted by Sara C. at 5:25 PM on February 3, 2014

It depends what you're looking for- do you want history, a neighborhood with services designed for tourists, and early nights in (Sultanahmet)? Or do you want shopping and clubs and restaurants (Taksim)? I go to Istanbul every few months and would recommend Taksim. I'm going again later this month and will stay in that area myself, so send me a message in a couple of weeks and I'll confirm to you whether it's safe (I'm expecting it to be, I was just there a few months ago and it was fine).

The food in Sultanahmet is terrible and overpriced, so please do yourself a favor and don't eat there every night, if you do decide to stay in that area.
posted by cacao at 6:17 PM on February 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

Also specific hotel depends on your budget, obviously, and expectations for level of service. I know a hotel in Taksim that is pretty mediocre but the location is phenomenal vis a vis Taksim. Price depends on time of year and can sometimes be very reasonable, and other times ridiculous. Send me a message if you want more info.
posted by cacao at 6:18 PM on February 3, 2014

Mrs. molerats and I went to Istanbul in November. From what I gather, protests have been banned in Taksim Square itself, we saw some protestors gathered in a side street, and a lot of police hanging around, but nothing concerning to us. Although November is the off-season, I have to say Taksim and Beyoglu were fun to spend an evening walking through, but I was kind of glad we didn't stay there, especially right at the square - as I recall there were a few big Westin/Sheraton huge chain hotels right on the square, which kind of killed the local charm.

Lots of people told us that Sultanahmet was touristy and not where the real action of the city was anymore, and that's kind of true, but if you're there to be a tourist, it was marvelous. We stayed within a 20-minute walk of most major attractions we wanted to see, and it's pretty fantastic to eat a rooftop meal with views of the Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque, and then stroll right down the street to your hotel (rather than taking a taxi or the tram across the bridge to Taksim).

One of the places we stayed was Kybele Hotel, which was decently priced, well-located, super cute, and I actually thought their food was pretty good.

If you stay in Sultanahmet, do make sure you wander outside the area a little - we didn't get out much but did end up on a street where every shop sold an array of toilet seats on display in the sidewalk.
posted by nakedmolerats at 6:29 PM on February 3, 2014

Just popping in to say that I was in Taksim about two weeks ago and there were a ton of police everywhere but not many other people. Think 100-150 police within a three block radius. I wasn't staying there (but in Balat via AirBnb) but if it was in my price range would have no problem staying in there. Like others have said it depends on what kind of trip you want.
posted by rip at 11:43 PM on February 3, 2014

I stayed in Istanbul over Christmas and my experience is similar to rip's - lots of police in/around Taksim Square, but nothing that concerned me. I wouldn't hesitate to stay there.
posted by gursky at 8:41 AM on February 5, 2014

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