Thursday, April 28, 2011

Touring Turkey - Hotel Sultania, Istanbul

In my old age (hee!), I've realized that I like to spend a little extra on hotels if I can. Not necessarily 5 star (we were NOT rolling up to the Four Seasons, y'all), but a little extra comfort and perhaps some quirky details aren't so bad. For the first portion of our time in Istanbul, we stayed at the Hotel Sultania, and it was definitely full of both comfort and some off-beat flavor.

Each room is named after a wife of an Ottoman sultan. The rooms mix contemporary decor with Turkish details.

Our bed

Each room is named after a wife of an Ottoman sultan. Ours was named after Sehsuvar, who was originally from the Ukraine, taken to be a part of the sultan's harem and then his wife. The hotel provides a little narrative about her.

There are some things you should know about this hotel. There's kind of a bathroom and kind of not. The basin area is actually right next to your bed and is cordoned off by a very pretty screen. I'm not describing this very well, so just check the pic below. Since we didn't splurge for space at this hotel I didn't mind. It's in the old city, where all of the buildings are rather small. We weren't going to be spending very much time in our hotel room in Istanbul anyway.

The toilet and shower have one door that serves as both the door to the shower and between the toilet area and the rest of the room. Essentially it means that one person can't take a shower while the other uses the toilet (ya know, just in case you want to do that).

Shower/Toilet area with the door closed
So there's the shower/toilet area. Kind of a racy painting, isn't it? Girlfriend is wearing a thong and pasties. I'm not making this up. I had no idea the room would look like this.

Another thing you should know is that there is lots of funky lighting throughout the room.

Underneath the bed

Around the TV

It's kinda fun to appreciate and admire, although it does get to be a pain when you are looking for the light switches to turn off all of those lights right before going to bed at night.

I will say that I really liked many of the Turkish details like this little tray.

When you open it, there are little treats.

I think it was little date bar with pistachios covered in coconut. They were good and were refilled each day. I appreciated a free snack.
Here's what I thought of the Hotel Sultania, and I'll do it in the form of a Pros & Cons list:


1. Cute decor and room - While obviously not for everyone (see above re: bathroom), I did like the room and thought it was comfortable, clean and modern.

2. Great breakfast buffet - You've already seen what I had for breakfast, but there was something a little different each day that we were there.

3. Centrally located to all major sites- Hotel Sultania is just minutes away from all of the major sites in Sultanahmet that I've blogged about so far, If you have a short time in Istanbul and want to be close to the Blue Mosque or the Hagia Sophia yet not far from the Galata Bridge, then this is a fabulous location.

4. Cute on-site gym, spa and pool - Although this area of the hotel is not that big (it's actually quite teeny), it's still nice to have. Unfortunately, they charge 10 Euro to use the sauna and hammam (Turkish bath) even if you stay there. I think it should be free.

5. Extremely helpful staff - A woman named Ozlem was the concierge and was very nice and helpful to us. She also sent an e-mail after we left asking about our stay. I appreciate gestures like that.

6. Free transfer from the airport - A free transfer from the airport is included. I have to admit that it was nice to not have to think about a taxi when we landed (not like that would have been a problem). Our flight was 1 1/2 hours late, and the driver waited. A nice perk for sure.

1. The walls are paper thin. I mean really thin. How did we know? Let's just say we heard one set of neighbors "enjoying" themselves one night. The other night, I think our neighbors (perhaps a different set?) thought Husband J was watching TV at a noise level that they didn't appreciate. Banging on the walls ensued. I have to admit that I might have agreed with them (on the noise level not the banging). We also heard some folks right outside our window. They sounded like they were right in the room.

2. Centrally located but in the middle of lots of touristy restaurants/touristy central. I guess you take the good with the bad. Maybe it was because we were there during the slower season, but sometimes we felt like we couldn't walk without having to stave off folks from the nearby restaurants and bars trying to get us to come in. I know they're just doing their job, and I also shouldn't count this against the hotel.

Not so bad cons, right? Would we stay there again? Yes. Recommend to others? Why not? I have to admit that if we do go back, I'd like to stay at the other Istanbul hotel we stayed in at the end of our trip. That's for another post. :)

Hotel Sultania
Ebusuud Cadessi
Mehmet Morak Sokak No. 4
Sirkeci, Istanbul


lavenderpug said...

that looks like such a cool room! and central location is so important (even if it means dealing with some of the heavier traffic). nice find!

BigAppleNosh said...

I'm totally digging the funky lighting ;)

Oneika said...

I stayed at this hotel and absolutely loved it! I still can't believe that we stayed at the same place. Great minds truly do think alike!


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