I stayed here for 4 nights in January 2011 and would thoroughly recommend staying here. The hotel is in an excellent location (and is just around the corner from the Four Seasons) and the service is amazing. I booked directly with the hotel - taking advantage of their special offers (which included breakfast and pick up at the airport).
Hotel: The hotel has just 7 rooms and has been renovated to a very high standard (the rooms really are as shown on the hotel's website). The front desk is to one side of the restaurant and there's always someone available to help. Breakfast is buffet style - there's a great selection and they're also happy to make you an omelette if you'd like. And lunch and dinner (or just drinks) are available during the day. The room is comfortable (as are the beds) - and the shower is excellent. Bathrobes and slippers are also provided and there's a safe in the room. And a flat screen TV with lots of channels for when you're worn out with sightseeing and just need to crash for a bit (they also provide orange cupcakes and other sweets with the tea and coffee in the room, and there's bottled water etc. in the fridge).
Service: Absolutely amazing service. I've stayed in many hotels over the years and can honestly say that the service from Alper and all of his team is the best I've ever experienced. I felt like one of the family. Everyone was very helpful and nothing was too much trouble - they happily arranged a half day cruise of the Bosphorus for me so that I got to see more of the Golden Horn and the Maiden's Tower. There was always a hot drink or snack when I came in from the cold; when my iPod was running out of power they charged it up for me. In the evenings, I could sit around drinking beers, reading or just chatting with Alper (the owner, who speaks very good English) and Mehmet (the barman, who speaks very good French and some English) - and learning more about Turkey and her people. I arrived a stranger, and left feeling like one of the family.
Location: The hotel is in the old part of the city (Sultanahmet) and it's a five minute walk to the Aya Sofya, Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace and the Archaeology Museums. There are lots of restaurants in the area and numerous shops and bazaar's (and ATMs). Most of the time I used Turkish Lira though I found that euro's were accepted at a number of the sites as well (and the ATMs could give out both). There's so much to see and do that it's hard to decide - I would definitely recommend all the above, though it was the Archaeology Museums that I returned to for a second day. I wouldn't wanted to have missed the Basilica Cisterns either. Nor the Bosphorus cruise. Basically, 4 days wasn't really long enough and I ended up spending most of my time in the Sultanahmet and Bazaar areas as I didn't want to end up rushing all over the city (and it's a very big city). And this is where the location of the hotel is great - everything is so close to the hotel that it's easy to pop back and rest for a bit, or grab something that you've forgotten.
Travelling Solo: Travelling on my own I wasn't sure how safe I would feel in Istanbul. The answer is very safe - having a great hotel as a base really helped, as did the advice of one of Alper's friends (Aslan). I had asked how to make the people who came up to me offering guided tours etc. go away (as "please go away" wasn't working great and I didn't want to be rude) and he told me to ignore anyone who approached me when I was out sightseeing (very good advice, and I noticed that the local women also took this approach and just sailed past them like they weren't there). The street where the hotel is located always had people around and, overall, I found the Turkish people that I spoke with very friendly and helpful.
Books to read: In addition to the guidebooks, any of Barbara Nadel's (I read Harem ) or Clive and Dirk Cussler's Crescent Dawn. All set in Istanbul and capturing something of the city.
Finally, my thanks to Alper Bey and all of his team. Thank you for making my vacation wonderful.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Hospitality is one of the cornerstones of the Turkish way of life. Turkish people are the most gracious and generous hosts as a result of their natural instincts. Every individual feels bound to honor his guest in the best possible manner. They will open their houses to every guest with a smiling face and with all their sincerity give the best seat and cook the best food for their guest. Turkish. people are very understanding about foreigners’ different customs and they try to communicate in order to help visitors according to their code of hospitality.The owner’s of Millennium Suites goal is to show the traditional turkish hospitality to their guests in the manner of described briefly above in their guest rooms. You are always wellcome at our property with our main principle of “whatever religion you are from, whichever country you come from, whatever language you speak, you are ‘God’s Guest’ ,” ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Millennium Hotel Istanbul