I rarely give poor reviews and am a bit sceptical of other low ratings when I read them.
But with the Dara Hotel I felt the acid test was whether I would return and whether I would recommend it to a friend. On both counts I would have to say “no”.
When we arrived we were put in tiny room – maybe 6 foot by 10, with no cupboard or wardrobe, which appeared very dingy and sad. We did ask to be moved and we were taken to another hotel round the corner for the night, after which we go a slightly larger room back at the Dara first thing next morning.
This was good service on their behalf. But after a day’s travel and weeks of planning you shouldn’t really have to start off by complaining.
Our new room was also pretty small. I couldn’t get the bed away from the radiator which turned itself on in the middle of the night – so I did get a little cooked because the knob did not work.
There is a mosque right opposite so the muezzin loudspeakers are very loud.
Breakfast is a bit weird. The Dara has a very multinational clientele so the buffet tends to be slanted towards salads and meze. However, I was able to have coffee, ham, cheese, jam and cake which suited me very well.
The staff are all friendly – though really this is what you expect of hotel staff.
It’s in a good location being only three minutes away from the Blue Mosque and walkable to all the other sights. There are a number of restaurants in the immediate vicinity and the whole of Sultanahmet can be reached on foot from the hotel.
In hindsight I think I should have spent a little more and gone upmarket. At the end of the day your choice may depend on budget and the Dara might suit you, but I was left feeling that a little extra might have got us something just a little less rudimentary.
- - - - A Note on Istanbul Taxis - - - -
There has been some discussion on TripAdvisor about Istanbul taxis. Our first taxi from the airport had no meter and we had set off before the negotiations started. After an argument about a 100 lira fare we demanded to be returned to the airport. After further argument we shook off this driver and retrieved our luggage.
The second taxi agreed a fare of 60 lira. He dropped us in the middle of Sultanahmet, in the middle of the night saying our hotel was around the corner. It wasn’t. It took about 45 minutes of walking around with suitcases to find our hotel.
So, statistically unlucky to get two crooks in a row? Or an endemic problem. I will let you decide, dear reader….
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Hotel Dara is located at the heart of the Old City in Istanbul. Historically, the building was once used as a sweet Ottoman mansion, which was renovated as a Hotel in 2009. Hotel Dara has 50 seat capacity with a rooftop restaurant. Along with a team of professional staff, it offers a great opportunity for its guests to have their rich breakfast while enjoying the mystical view of the Marmara Sea and the beautiful Sokollu Mehmet Pasa Mosque. ... more less
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