I spent 6 days at 212 Istanbul Suites, having booked directly through their website. (Hotels.com offered the same price, but gave no credits towards free nights; so why bother with them in that case?) It should have been 7 days, but my original flight to Turkey was cancelled and I lost the first day. I was a bit worried that I would lose my reservation, because Berkay had not asked for any deposit. But through some fast e-mails, not only was my reservation held, my free airport shuttle was moved to accommodate my new arrival time. What great service, and what a big relief! Thank you, Berkay! Mehmet was there at 212 to greet me and show me my room. He also checked on me a few times during the week. He is a very polite, hospitable young man.
I would definitely recommend asking for a shuttle to the hotel if you are new to Istanbul or if you have a lot of luggage. My driver was right there at the door when I emerged from baggage claim, and the ride was perfect. However, here is how you get to the building from Ataturk Airport: take one of the Havas airport shuttles that goes directly to Taksim Square. Only 10 TL (cash), air-conditioned, comfortable, effortless.
When you get off the bus at Taksim Square, walk in the direction towards the rear of the bus, slightly downhill, and bear left, around the corner. You will be in a busy bus terminal. Look further downhill towards the Ataturk statue/monument that marks Taksim Square. You will see a very busy pedestrian-only street; this is Caddesi Istiklal, where everyone is going (there is also a small tramway track with the "nostalgic tramway" running). You will also see a Greek Orthodox Church (a domed building with a cross at the top - not common in Turkey). The hotel is essentially behind that Orthodox Church. Walk down Istiklal and keep to the left. Very soon on your left you will see a street sign (stuck to a building) for Sokagi Mesekil; there is a bank and currency exchange on this corner - if you pass a McDonald's you have gone too far. Turn left on Mesekil, and walk uphill, bearing right. Turn right on the second street, Sokagi Abdullah, and soon on your left you will see Bunk Cafe and then the door to 212 Istanbul Suites. (Note there is no signage.) This route is best because the roads are well-paved here so you can roll your luggage easily, and these streets are clearly marked. The other path might be a wee bit shorter, but it's much easier to get lost.
The building is nondescript on the outside. The front door lock is sturdy. Berkay or Mehmet will give you a code for the front door and also a key, plus your room passcard. The deadbolt to my suite was rock-solid. I felt very safe in the building.
My suite (European, 1st floor) was huge: a large front room with nice-sized flatscreen TV and 3 satellites: English stations included several news stations, CNBC-e (which shows US prime-time and cable shows at night), and Cartoon Network, but most stations are Turkish. Hardwood floors. Spotless. Excellent air conditioning. Ikea furnishings include a comfortable L-shaped sofa, a large queen-sized bed with firm mattress, and a dining set for 4. Kitchen includes state-of-the-art refrigerator/freezer and washer, plates and utensils. A single burner to do any cooking (microwave would be handier). Large shower stall with good pressure and lots of hot water, some toiletries. Nice towels and sheets. Tons of space, at least 3 times the square footage I would have gotten for the same price in the Old City.
View of the street in the front (faces another hotel and a bright street light), no view from the back. Well-lighted.
Berkay and Mehmet are very accessible by Blackberry Messenger. But as I don't like to use any portables while I'm on holiday, I didn't take advantage of their services. Berkay visited me briefly towards the end to my stay. We had a nice chat - he is an enterprising young man with a lot going on. As he has recently moved closer to the hotel, he expects he will be more accessible to guests in the near future.
I was offered daily maid service, but only asked for cleaning on one day. The cleaning job wasn't very thorough. Although I got fresh towels and my bathroom trash was removed, my bedsheets were not changed, my kitchen sink was not cleaned, my dishes were not washed, and my kitchen garbage was not removed. Not a big deal, since I am very neat anyway.
My one small issue was with noise, but it's not what you think. Yes, there was some club noise on Friday and Saturday night, because there is a street with nargile clubs just one street over. But that's almost nothing and it's more like white noise - easy to ignore. Most of the time it was very quiet. On the first night there was construction (hammering and drilling) going on in the neighbouring building until midnight. I e-mailed Berkay the next morning, and never had a problem after that. Coincidence? Or was it Berkay's crew making the noise in the first place? I still have no idea. Anyway I'm grateful it was taken care of.
This location cannot be beaten for any stay in Istanbul greater than 2-3 days. If all you have time for is the big sights (Aya Sofia, Blue Mosque, Topkapi), then you should probably stick to the Old City. But if you are more than 2 people or if you are staying longer than 2-3 days, this is the place for you. Everything you need is nearby and at lower prices less than those in the Old City. There is a Carrefour Express grocery store a few blocks away where you can get bottled water, beverages, fresh fruit, chips. On Istiklal you have great restaurants at different price points (including US chains), ATMs, currency exchanges (use these to convert to TLs), cafes, all the best shops, internet cafes. But most of all you have the energy of Istiklal, which is always packed with people, mostly Turks and much fewer tourists than the Old City. You feel much safer here and less harassed. Great nightlife, too - plenty of live music, nargile clubs, and late-night diners. Istiklal is a street that never sleeps.
I travelled solo, and this hotel still made sense for me because of the amenities and incredible value. But for a family or a group of friends, this is a slam dunk. What a bargain at 100 Euros a night in mid-September. Nearby hotels charge more than double that. I'd stay here again in a heartbeat, and next time I will share a nargile with Berkay on the rooftop, as he offered.
1) Bring your own dishwashing liquid, laundry detergent, sponges, dishcloths. These are expensive in Turkey. Also, bring a clothesline.
2) Fill your fridge with bottled water from Carrefour. You can't drink the water in Istanbul. You should use bottled water even for brushing your teeth, possibly even as a final rinse to washing your dishes. (BTW, don't order ice in your drinks in restaurants either.)
3) Make sure you have some kind of smartphone or wireless device to communicate with Berkay and Mehmet.
4) Take your front door key with you everywhere, as the passcode to the front door changes every month for safety reasons.
5) Your room passcard triggers the power to the room. So with one card, you can't run the A/C or do a load of laundry while you're out.
6) Keep your kitchen trash in the freezer to minimize odour.
I had a fantastic time in Istanbul, in large part due to Berkay and Mehmet. Thanks, guys!
No elevator, but a higher floor is probably better to get away from any noise from Bunk Cafe (someti...
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.