It pays to read. I read "Turn Right At Istanbul", a travel book by an Australian writer Gary (?) Wright, lent by a friend back home. In the book he mentioned the Side Hotel, what good value it was, and how much he enjoyed his stay there. So, holding our breaths, we booked 4 nights.
The shuttle from the airport had all the legendary elements you hear about crazy, lovable taxi drivers but as we got out of the little bus after the final couple of minutes through the Side's locale, I looked around at the incredible streetscape of cafes, carpet and jewellery shops, and said to my wife,Sally, "I don't care what the Hotel is like. I'm happy!" .
I needn't have worried. Osama and Mehmet welcomed us like long-lost family and were unbelievably friendly and helpful throughout our stay. Despite a hip-replacement gone wrong (for me) we chose the third floor room with a balcony that gave a panorama of the Blue Mosque, 200metres to our left, and Hagia Sofia 150metres to our right. WOW!!!
Other Must-Do's all within easy walking distance: Topkapi Museum, Grand Bazaar, Spice Bazaar, the incredible Basilica Cistern. And great eating places too many to mention. Our pick? For good priced meal, the Meat House just around the corner which provided us with extremely good Turkish beer just when it was needed most at very good price. A little upmarket? The Tria! Fabulous!
The Side was incredible value at 90Euros per night and the breakfast was simple but satisfying. Great staff! We'll be back if we ever can be!
Thank You, Osman and Mehmet!
- Also Known As:
- Side Hotel Istanbul