Istanbul is not the capital of Turkey but one of the famous destinations in the world proven by Trip Advisor. And if you are a first time visitor of the city, you probably want to see the top main attractions and if possible stay comfortably nearby, just like what we did during the first week of 2016.
Before our trip, we carefully detailed out the sights we want to see, check the weather forecast and then decide with the hotel location. We choose Sultanahmet area because it is the closest district to the biggest monuments mentioned on our list such as Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, Blue Mosque and others. Another reason is we’d like to lessen the transportation fare. With the unbelievable cold weather forecast, we don’t like to be on the road for hours and freeze to death. Given those reasons, we’ve chosen our hotel.
Through booking.com, we find Hotel Yasmak Sultan located in the old city of Istanbul. This is after searching thousands of hotels! All the first hotels we searched are near Yasmak hotel like Amisos, Erboy, Golden Horn, Sude Konak. We stayed for 4 nights – December 31 to January 4, 2016. Here is our stay experience and observation with Yasmak.
The hotel is located in the Sirkeci district, which puts you just minutes from all the attractions of Old Istanbul. It is about 5-10 minutes walk from the Blue Mosque, Topkapi palace, the Grand Bazaar, the Spice Bazaar, and the Hagia Sophia. Other touristy spots are Basilica Cistern, Hippodrome, New Mosque, Suleymaniye Mosque are like 10 to 15 minutes walk from the area. Gulhane Park is adjacent to the hotel. The tram stop Gulhane is just round the corner. It is close to many restaurants but still quiet, considering this town have millions of inhabitants.
Our room is spotlessly clean and neat. Beds were really comfortable and I sleep well in this hotel. The interior design is beautiful, modern but there are touches of traditional Turkish designs. Room size is quiet small though maybe because the place is located in the city center, and space is naturally scarce.
Breakfast buffet in Olive Anatolian Restaurant is of great variety of choices. I enjoyed trying some of the Turkish Chef specialties while the husband indulge with everything :p
Different kinds of breads (my fave section!) with exotic jams and fresh comb honey, salad bar, an omelette station, variety of hot dishes, an array of fruits, cereals and other sweets are available during breakfast. The ham and cheese section is a winner for me. I ate like 4 kinds of ham and cheese every morning! Coffee, milk, tea and a selection of fruit juices are also present. And FYI, they will allow you to bring food in your room after having your buffet, which we did twice but don’t over do it! 🙂
We didn’t use the hotel facilities – pool, spa and gym so we can’t really give comments on it. But we got pictures for your reference.
Staff and Service
The hotel van is like a limousine inside. It was by far the most beautiful van I ever ride with! 🙂 While on the road, they provide us complimentary biscuits, juice and “room temperature” water (it was super cold actually!) The wifi was great too.
From the airport pickup up to the moment they drop us all staff was friendly, polite and helpful. Whatever we asked for was met with great efficiency and promptness. The staff provides you with everything you need to get by in the city like the train loaded cards and the museum pass with 5 days validity (85 TL each). They make you feel at home. We met different front desk personnel every day but all are fluent in English and very helpful. They even allowed us for a late check out for free!
With our first planned dates December 2 to 6, it is 367 Euros only for 4 nights including breakfast and one way airport transfer. But with the actual dates we had, it raised up to 503 Euros. Considering it is a 4 star hotel, our dates are on peak season too, new year holidays. On request, they arranged a return transfer to Ataturk airport which costs us an additional 35 euro. We still opt for this hotel despite the price because we already planned our DIY itinerary and we really like the service.
This mid-priced hotel has an abundance of friendliness and charm and has an intimate feel with plenty of amenities for a comfortable stay. The outstanding service and caring staff, the comfort of the beds, sumptuous breakfast with a view, reasonable price and of course, the location of the hotel, all makes it a worthwhile place to stay in the old city of Istanbul. We will definitely recommend anyone to stay in this charming hotel 🙂