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Anonymous2 Aug 2015
Can anyone recommend where to stay in Istanbul please, for a long weekend break, not business. 4 starish. Will be first time in Istanbul so would like somewhere close to main sites.2 Aug 2015
my favorite is Le Meridien Etiler but is not located close to the downtowm.. A nice and small hotel is Mama Shelter located close to Taksim. In the Asian side in Kadikoy DoubleTree3 Aug 2015
I recently had a weekend break with the other half and we stayed at the Sultania which was excellent and a very short walk from the Blue Mosque, Aya Sofia and the Topkapi. Would definitely recommend.3 Aug 2015
A couple of personal recommendations: the Empress Zoe – which is simply unique and a totally different hotel experience to the chains. We’ve also tried out the Armagrandi Spina – not bad at all. Both are in Sultanahmet and close to the tram line into the centre of town and to the newly opened trans-Bosphorus train link. They also both have roof terraces with fantastic views overlooking the Bosphorus.
The other advantage of staying in Sultanahmet is that you are close to a lot of places that are on a first visit(ors) must see list such as the Topkapi palace, the cistern (“From Russia with Love”…), the Grand Bazaar, the Cemberlitas Hamam for the best Turkish bath/steam clean you’ll ever have. Then there is the Blue Mosque, some very good carpet shops and… Oh and don’t forget to try out Mehmet Effendi coffee shop down by the Spice Bazaar and Hamdi’s Restaurant overlooking the Golden Horn. One other word of advice: have sufficient luggage allowance for the extra bag you will invariably have to buy locally to bring back all your shopping. If your other half likes pashmina’s or any kind of textiles, then this is the place. Be prepared to haggle hard and to walk away; it’s the way that business is done in Turkey.
If you want a first rate Istanbul guide (albeit it is rather bulky) then “Istanbul: the ultimate guide” by Saffat TONGUC and Pat YALE published by Boyut ISBN:978-975-23-0734-6 is recommended. Such is the quality of the photography and printing, you will be spared having to take too many pictures. We bought this at the bookshop immediately opposite the Sultanahmet tram stop along Divan Yolu Cadesi.
Enjoy! Once you’ve been, you’ll keep wanting to head back.3 Aug 2015
+1 on Anthony’s book recommendation, Saffet Tonguc is one of the most knowledgeable guides there is in Turkey. If budget permits, I would highly recommend hiring him for a day to show you around give you more in-depth explanations of what you are seeing. His number is +90 532 233 38283 Aug 2015
@ MrMichael – 03/08/2015 13:29 BST
Have a superb time there. We keep going back because Istanbul has comprehensively got under our skin – in the nicest possible way!3 Aug 2015