This was probably the worst experience I have ever had with a hotel. The photos on the website look great, but they are very deceptive. The hotel is a low end budget hotel, which would be fine if it was advertised as such. But they mislead people by making it look much nicer than it really is, and they try to charge higher prices based on the deceptive photos.
We checked in, and I was going to pay by credit card, but the clerk requested that I pay by cash. I did not have enough cash, but I said that I could pay by cash after getting money from the ATM the next day. That was fine with the clerk, so we went up to the room. My wife took one look at the room and the bathroom and she was angry at me. The linens were oversized for the beds. The lighting was poor. The fixtures were not anything like the photos. The toilet was broken and water ran continuously all night. The bathroom fan was too loud. There was no place to hang the nozzle in the shower. The electrical sockets were loose. The room was supposed to have a refrigerator, but it was not plugged in when we arrived. We arrived late at night, and we were traveling with a 2 year old, so we decided to stay the first night and look for a different hotel in the morning. I thought it was good that I had not given the hotel my credit card information.
When I checked out in the morning the hotel proprietor was angry that we were checking out early. The reservation was supposed to be for 6 nights. He demanded that I pay for the first night. I readily agreed, and I paid him in cash on the spot. Then after he had that cash in hand, he changed his mind and demanded that I pay an additional night. I refused, on the ground that the condition of the hotel was vastly different than what was advertised. His response shocked me:
"Do you think you are special? Does everything work properly in your home? These complaints are minor complaints. The photos were taken 3 years ago. You cannot expect the hotel to be in the same condition now."
In fact, I do think I am special. I think that every guest is special and deserves to be treated with respect! And yes, my toilet at home works, the bathroom fan is quiet, and I have a place to hand the nozzle in my shower. When something breaks, I fix it. Which is obviously not standard operating procedure at this hotel.
I got in a shouting match with the proprietor in the lobby. I offered to go to the tourist police to settle the dispute. He refused. And at that point I left, thinking that would be the end of it. It wasn't. I just received my credit card statement today, and I see that the hotel went back to Venere.com, reported me as a no-show, and charged my credit card for 2 nights! And this is on top of the one night that I paid in cash!
Bottom line: Stay away. Even during peak season when it is hard to make an advance booking online, don't do it. It is better to just go directly to Sultanahmet and find a hotel from one of the touts. Even during peak season, there will be something available, and you will find a better value if you go and negotiate on the spot. We had no problem finding a much nicer hotel, in a better location, and at a lower price when we checked out the next morning. The other hotel did not have a fancy website, and the owner did not speak English, but the hospitality was much much much better.
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