‘If you are granted only one glance at the world, be sure to make it on Istanbul.’
Every since I shared photos on Instagram when visiting Istanbul a few weeks back, I have received a lot of questions and requests for suggestions on where to go and what to eat etc. I thought I would collate all that I know in to a few blog posts, to both share our experiences as a family and provide some useful information for those who will be visiting Istanbul in the future.
WHERE TO STAY:
We have been blessed with the opportunity to visit Istanbul on a number of occasions, and have stayed in a fair few places during our trips. I can’t say I’ve found the perfect place to stay as yet, and we will keep trying out different Airbnb’s and hotels on future visits. However, here’s my review of the various places we’ve stayed in so far, alongside some recommendations.
On one trip, we chose to stay in a little guesthouse we found on Airbnb. I loved that it was family-owned and run, as I like to support local businesses whenever possible. It was reasonably priced, offered a free roof-top breakfast, and was close to the main attractions. It was down a little steep cobble-stoned road (not far from the Four Seasons). We managed to get to the location in a taxi, and, because we didn’t have much luggage, were able to carry it up the stairs (no lift) to our room on the first floor.
Our room was a nice size, and looked very much liked the photos on their website. The staff were friendly, and our room was always kept nice and clean (you can read my Airbnb review on the listing above). The only issues we had were that the shower water pressure was not always sufficient, and that the cleaning lady put away our things in the bedside drawers, so we ended up leaving a few things behind, thinking we’d lost them.
I have seen a few more places I would like to try on Airbnb next time. If you are using Airbnb for the first time, you can sign up using this link to book and get some money off!
We stayed in another hotel which was well maintained and in an excellent location, but our experience during our stay meant I won’t be mentioning them on this blog (staff walking into our room uninvited on 3 occasions during the course of our stay!)
Our latest visit found us staying at Victory Day & Spa Hotel – a 4 star hotel close to the Grand Bazaar, a very short walk away from the Beyazit Metro station. Overall, our experience at the hotel was very good. We found the staff to be friendly, a decent breakfast spread was provided, the beds were comfortable and the room spacious (we booked a family-sized room). However, the toilet flush kept running after usage, and made all kinds of weird noises. There was a slight smell in bathroom which we noticed on day 2, as it was disguised by strong air-freshener on our day of arrival. The small hotel pool which my daughter used, while being clean and modern, was extremely cold, so she found it difficult to swim in. As with most buildings in Turkey, there was not much soundproofing in the hotel rooms. Other than that, it was a good stay.