When I first travelled to Istanbul, my head was buzzing: ‘Stay in Sultanahmet… you’re a fool if you don’t stay there!’. As much truth as there is in these words, there is also a dash of superficiality. Why?– you ask. Because Istanbul is one of the world’s largest cities and each area you’re found in could hold a special charm and make you smile for a different reason: there is nightlife and then there’s shopping and then there’s dining and then there are sweets. And then, there is history all around. So, stay flexible when exploring accommodation options in Istanbul. This is my suggestion, at least. And I also have a list. Here it is!
This beautiful boutique hotel is simply minutes away from the attractions that ravish Istanbul visitors the most: Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, and Topkapı Palace. Set in a 139-year-old building, the brickwork is the focal element, enchanting throughout the high-ceiling rooms, completed by the transparencies that separate the living area from the bathroom area. You can also enjoy a massage and/or the hot tub, plus you get complimentary water, tea, coffee, Turkish delight, and chocolate every day. Talking of freebies, you can sightsee Istanbul on a bicycle rented from the hotel, free of charge. Breakfast is served as a buffet and meals can be enjoyed on the terrace on the top floor, whenever the sun’s out.
Address: Alemdar Mahallesi Molla Fenari Sk. No 22, 34110 Cağaloğlu, Fatih, Istanbul (see map)
Price: from 95 USD
Access: 8 minutes by foot from Sirkeci train station
Contact: +90 2125140131
Über-charming, to say the least. You will not even know what to look at first - the balcony with the sea or city view that some apartments hold, the fine details in the rooms, the traditional tiling in the bathrooms, or the bright and beautiful colors. Just 5 minutes from Taksim Square – and you can get everywhere from here! You can prepare your own meals in the fully equipped kitchen - although it is not likely that you would get tired of Turkish dishes - and enjoy an individual hammam experience in some of these apartments. And that’s not all: honoring innate Turkish hospitality, you will receive a fruit plate, milk, Turkish delight, tea and coffee, a transportation card, and a mobile phone with a local number. Try beating that.
Address: Firuzağa Mahallesi, Türkgücü Cd. No 74, 34433 Beyoğlu, Istanbul (see map)
Price: from 63 USD
Access: 5 minutes by foot from Taksim Square
Contact: +90 2122436889
Apart from the creative name that it holds, this hotel comes with the advantage of being located merely 350 meters (1,148 feet) from the Blue Mosque. The terrace is beautiful, as Istanbul’s skyline boldly unveils. The rooms are attentively decorated and give away a certain local feel. The breakfast served is vegan and vegetarian-friendly, so all those sharing my culinary thoughts, views, and directions should feel happy! Moreover, I’ve heard that the staff is incredible. Could you really ask for more when you’ve got location, great service, and friendliness? Probably not.
Walnut Shell Hotel
Address: Kucuk Ayasofya Mah, Aksakal Sok, No 22 Sultanahmet, Fatih 34410, Istanbul (see map)
Price: from 42 USD
Contact: +90 2126389620
Would you choose to wake up and glance at the sea if you had the chance? Of course you would! Water is always pure magic to look at and the color of the Marmara is surprising each and every time. The tones and decorations of the rooms are almost ludic, but go perfectly with the vibe that one should display from head to toe while traveling! With all major attractions within 5 minutes by foot and a supermarket 2 minutes away, staying in this place in the Sultanahmet area will make you understand why you’re not the fool in the leading paragraph for not having chosen a different district.
Sultanahmet Apartment with Sea View
Price: from 111 USD
Access: 5 minutes by foot to the Blue Mosque
The city where high ceilings are the norm. This is Istanbul! Beams certainly linger in the air, literally, as does the sapphire of the Golden Horn panoramas. All the utilities are right under your nose, so that you feel at ease and enjoy the city, first of all through its Beyoğlu, full of bars and restaurants that steal your glances and seduce your palates.
Price: from 80 USD
Access: steps away from Beyoğlu
Recognized as one of the most popular hostels in Istanbul, rightfully, this is an oasis of good taste and classic colors, perfectly matched. And of course, great food, freshly made. All of this is in a fully renovated historic building. Vibrantly connected to the Bohemian streets of Galata, Beyoğlu, and Çukurcuma, you are only steps away from restaurants, cafés and shops! What a treat!
Address: İnönü Mahallesi, Papa Roncalli Sk. No 34, 34373 Şişli, Istanbul (see map)
Price: from 23 USD
Access: 1 km (0.6 mi) from Taşkışla funicular
Contact: +90 2123430095
Here you are 150 meters (492 feet) from the Blue Mosque. And I could stop there. But no, there is so much more in store! Bright and colorful rooms, traditional carpets and tablecloths, and attention to detail all across the property. How about Turkish breakfast served on the superb terrace overlooking the beauty of Istanbul? It doesn’t get much better than that.
Address: Binbirdirek Mh., Sehit Mehmetpasa Yokusu Sokak No 30, 34120 Sultanahmet, Fatih, Istanbul (see map)
Price: from 162 USD
Access: 150 meters (492 feet) from the Blue Mosque
Contact: +90 2125188475
Brick walls strike again! This time, they get the support of pillow corners, layers and layers of furnishings, old-style vinyls, and delicate balconies. Obviously, the structure’s charm resides in the 19th-century building set in the Beyoğlu District. Breakfast is claimed to be exceptional and can be enjoyed under the rays of the sun, when the latter’s out and about, but most days in Istanbul, it is.
Address: Kamer Hatun Mahallesi, Hamalbaşı Cd. No 32, 34435 Beyoğlu, Istanbul (see map)
Price: from 60 USD
Access: 5 minutes by foot from Sishane Metro Station
Contact: +90 2122451270
This luxury hotel is located in the Sultanahmet District and, as advertised, provides a superb breakfast, with homemade cakes and cookies. And a killer view over the Sea of Marmara, I might add. Other items on offer: a Finnish sauna, a wood-panelled hot tub, and a well-equipped gym. Plus, a rich library, catering to all tastes.
Address: Küçük Ayasofya Mahallesi, Mustafa Paşa Sk. No 43, 34122 Fatih, Istanbul (see map)
Price: from 68 USD
Access: 2 minutes by foot from the Blue Mosque
Contact: +90 2125161640
A true mix of classic, modern, and traditional – a little bit like Turkey itself – these beautiful apartments include high ceilings and a simple kitchenette and are situated 1 km (0.6 mi) from Taksim Square, in the historic Pera District. Asmalimescit neighborhood, with its many bars and taverns, is just around the corner, waiting to be discovered.
Address: İstiklal Mahallesi, Balyoz Sk. No 11, 34430 Beyoğlu, Istanbul (see map)
Price: from 43 USD
Access: 1 km (0.6 mi) from Taksim Square
Contact: +90 2122934464
Here's to your next visit!
I hope that you enjoy your stay in one of the most beautiful and vibrant cities on our planet! And at the same time, one of my personal favorites.
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