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“The Showy Empress Zoe” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Empress Zoe

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Empress Zoe
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Akbiyik Caddesi 10, Sultanahmet, Istanbul 34122, Turkey   |  
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Ranked #69 of 943 Hotels in Istanbul
Melbourne, Australia
Senior Contributor
29 reviews 29 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
“The Showy Empress Zoe”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 22, 2013

Its definitely a boutique hotel. No lift and an initial narrow circular staircase that changes to circular marble stairs, a quaint semi four poster bed but a beaut view from our room to the Bosphorus over a disused Hamami. The roof top patio offered an even more commanding vista.

The Bosphorus side of the Blue Mosque and the Ayasofya, Empress Zoe is well located for such important cultural sites and a long line of restaurants commence right outside the door. Breakfast in the garden area is very pleasant with a good range of all the elements that make up a Turkish breakfast with a nod or two to the needs of the Anglo breakfast stomach. Reception staff were very helpful and Yusuf deserves a tip every time he effortlessly carries a heavy suitcase up those flights of stairs.

Clean with hot water a-plenty, the Zoe bathroom DIDN'T have that faint whiff of sewer that other hotels and homes had. (For the Melbournites, think Werribee air when the wind blows the wrong way.)

Loved the outside area at the top of the external staircase that led to our room. Great space for quiet reflection with a view.

Hotel Zoe recommended using the Cagaloglu Hammami (est. in the 1600s) and our experience there was nothing but positive. In fact my wife emerged some 25 minutes after me in a state of bliss having been really worked over by the massuesse. It was our second visit to a hammami and the better of the two hammamis by a distance.

Room Tip: Room 41 was awesome.
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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568 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (121)
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English first
London, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
37 reviews 37 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 18, 2013

Fantastic location for tourism, characterful rooms, good breakfast, friendly, helpful, knowledgeable staff. The only reason to stay anywhere else in Istanbul as a tourist would be if you cannot do stairs - there are a lot - or want a pool.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, Australia
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
24 hotel reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 17, 2013

My room, a 'petite suite', comprised a room with a double bed and a room with two single beds, a small bathroom and a hamam-style washroom (which I didn't use). The first bedroom, with the double bed, faced inside onto shrubbery and the second faced onto a short street (Adiye Sokak) which has shops and leads from Akbiyik Caddesi up to Sultanahmet square. (Akbiyik Caddesi is a full-on tourist street with tourist-oriented eateries and hotels.) To get to the room, you had to walk up two flights of a narrowish spiral staircase (so, not good for frail or disabled). The room was more than my need and it's just how the vacancies panned out that I took it, I used the kiddies' room for my bag and throwables. I thought the suite was cute. The woodwork was dark, but light came in through two windows. There is aircon, but, great!, the windows open. There is a good wifi connection in the room. There is a rooftop terrace with partial views of the Sea of Marmara and the Blue Mosque. The toilet was one of those where you use a spout at the back of the toilet bowl to water yourself after defecating and use the toilet-paper only for drying your buttocks. I had heard of these toilets, much superior conceptually than the normal Western mode, but you have to be very supple to implement the idea; the spurted water doesn't fully do what it is tasked to. Reception staff are particularly helpful. My room was €140 a night for each of 4 nights, in May (but I paid in cash to get a 10% discount). I also arranged airport pickup through them, for €25 (less 10% for cash-payment). After my 4 nights at Zoe, I had planned to go on a short tour with 1 overnight stay outside of Istanbul, checking out of Zoe to do so, and checking into a hotel in Beyoglu on my return; but I decided I wasn't fit enough to travel and pulled out of the tour at dawn; this meant I had a 'homeless' night in Istanbul; I couldn't stay at Zoe another night since they did not have any vacancy; the receptionist rang the Beyoglu hotel for me and arranged for me to extend my booking and check-in there a night earlier; a simple act of help by her was a great relief for me given my predicament. The hotel's location is great for the main Sultanahmet sights, which are 100 meters up; the Sea of Marmara is 100 meters downwards (the pedestrian path along the seawall is full of locals and though busy, a nice change from the tourist-and-tout hustle of Sultanahmet square). The hotel is opposite a mosque and you can hear the 'call to prayer' very distinctly; the loudspeaker from the mosque does a duet with one a bit further away. There is a real bank (Deniz Bank) in a small street off Akbiyik Caddesi, 100 meters west of the hotel; the street is called Mimar Mehmetaga Caddesi and it leads up to the Arasta Bazaar; this bank has an ATM outside and helpful staff inside. There are also ATMs in Sultanahmet square. And also at this square a post office (I still send postcards); it's a yellow booth branded PTT next to the row of ATMs. There is a corner store around the corner from the hotel, at the intersection of Kutlugun Sokak and Tevkifhane Sokak, on your dog-legged walking route up to Sultanahmet square. There are also some 'corner stores' in Akbiyek Caddesi.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
annnevans1, Owner at Empress Zoe, responded to this review, June 19, 2013
Thank you for your very detailed and I would have to say unusual review. A note about the toilets: All toilets in Turkey are equipped with a water spout. You will find variations of this in every house or hotel in the country. It would not be possible to find a toilet without such a feature. I realize this is an unfamiliar idea for many westerners and it might seem strange at first. For matters of hygiene it is imperative to have a water source and we find that we miss this when traveling in the US or Europe. In Paris the toilet is often in a separate cubicle with no running water source (not even a sink) available in the room - very strange. My Turkish husband complains about this but of course the glories of Paris far outweigh this one eccentricity :) In Thailand they use a separate hand held water siphon which is also a great addition. I am really perplexed as to why they do not incorporate this great idea in the west and find that on this point we are very superior in terms of hygiene.
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Melbourne, Australia
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 15, 2013 via mobile

Great location for sightseeing, eating etc. rooms range from small and fun to bigger and gorgeous with rugs and carpets. You know you're in Turkey! Clean, rooms and bathrooms, breakfast was fine, breakfast location in garden is nice. Cute, well thought out hotel with functioning wifi, air con etc.
Cute hotel but street noise is well above average, its in a very bar orientated place so enjoy the cute hotel AND the not so cute noise level. Hotel can't do much about the street noise I guess but just thought I'd let you know, the noise from bars is above average, bring earplugs!

  • Stayed June 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
annnevans1, Owner at Empress Zoe, responded to this review, June 19, 2013
Thank you for posting your comments. I was at the hotel 2 nights ago at 12:30 PM just before you posted this review and I was also very concerned that the nearby cafe/bars had not turned down their music which they are supposed to do by 11 PM. Then I woke up the next morning to see your very timely review. We and other hotels nearby have been in touch with our small hotels association and the municipality. Your review has been translated and submitted to the appropriate authorities. We expect action to be taken shortly about a recent escalation of noise on our street. Please note that we are at the end of the street on a corner with much of the hotel looking over a quiet garden and the ruins of an old hamam. We expect an improvement in this situation shortly.
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Australia
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 15, 2013

As long as you don't mind steep stairs - this hotel is ideal Istanbul! Great value, excellent location and sublime traditional turkish breakfast in a beautiful quiet courtyard. Really charming and not a whiff of generic-hotel syndrome. Be prepared to hear the call to prayers through the day and night as its located between two if Istanbul's largest mosques.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Richmond, Virginia
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 13, 2013

We stayed 3 nights at the Empress Zoe in the maisonette which is a 2 bedroom duplex with lovely top floor sitting room with 2 balconies, sink/fridge, dining table and 2 day beds. We were a family of 4, traveling with our 2 twenty-something sons, and the layout of the duplex was perfect and provided good value. Empress Zoe is full of charm and character. Their web site is smart to caution that this hotel is not for anyone who is hesitant with stairs - but they help promptly with bags. Breakfasts were delicious and there is a low-key bar open in the evening to enjoy a fresh lemonade or drink after a 'hard' day of sight-seeing. Bedrooms/beds were very comfortable and bathroom was well furnished (shower). The call to prayer comes from multiple directions ... and is quite loud, but you're in Istanbul, right? I think most of us managed to sleep through the morning call to prayer by the 3rd morning. We loved Istanbul and I hope we can plan a return trip. I will plan the next trip around availability of rooms at the Empress Zoe!

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Venice, CA
Senior Contributor
42 reviews 42 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 4, 2013

We stayed in 4 different rooms, even though we booked months in advance. The place is so popular they kindly moved us around. The breakfasts were spectacular, the location could not have been more convenient, the cats are a bonus and the staff is very helpful. When I go back to Istanbul, I will stay right here. We had tea at the Four Seasons and I had absolutely no hotel envy!

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Empress Zoe

Address: Akbiyik Caddesi 10, Sultanahmet, Istanbul 34122, Turkey
Phone Number:
Location: Turkey > Istanbul
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Suites
Hotel Style:
#45 Best Value Hotel in Istanbul
#52 Family Hotel in Istanbul
#68 Romantic Hotel in Istanbul
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 25
Also Known As:
Empress Zoe Hotel Istanbul

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