We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Fabulous location and great hospitality” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Empress Zoe

We can't find prices for this hotel
Our online travel partners don't provide prices for this hotel, but we can search other options in Istanbul
Check In mm/dd/yyyy Check Out mm/dd/yyyy
Empress Zoe
Save
You added Empress Zoe to your Saves list
Akbiyik Caddesi 10, Sultanahmet, Istanbul 34122, Turkey   |  
Hotel website
  |  
  |  
  |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #70 of 944 Hotels in Istanbul
Toronto, Canada
Top Contributor
704 reviews 704 reviews
65 hotel reviews
Reviews in 171 cities Reviews in 171 cities
488 helpful votes 488 helpful votes
“Fabulous location and great hospitality”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 26, 2013

We chose Empress Zoe based on many recommendations we came across while researching accommodation options for our trip to Istanbul. 

It is in a great location - across the street from the Four Seasons hotel and no more than a five minute walk to the plaza in front of the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia. 

We decided to splurge by staying in one of the suites - room 603. It has two floors with two bedrooms on the lower floor (as well as the bathroom)  and a sitting room/kitchen area on the second floor (inducing a refrigerator). The best part, however, were the two balconies on the top floor. One provides a decent view of the Bosphorus and Marmara Sea (and it is the most spacious) while the other looks over towards the Four Seasons. They were fabulous places to relax after long days of sightseeing around Istanbul. 

The beds were comfortable and the rooms well shaded by the curtains. While the suite is air conditioned we did not like the positioning of the units in the bedrooms - they blow cold air onto you when in bed which can get uncomfortable. 

The staff were friendly and most helpful.  The breakfast is simple and includes two hot items but after five days we did get a little tired of the options. The indoor courtyard, which is shaded by trees and vines, is a wonderful place to eat and have a drink in the afternoon (they do have bar service after 4:00pm). 

If you don't like walking up stairs I wouldn't stay here. To access the guest rooms you must first walk up a small, spiral staircase and you can have as many as two more staircases before you get to your room. 

As noted earlier, the location is fabulous. If you are visiting Istanbul for the first time you do want to stay in the Sultanahmet neighbourhood so you can easy access all of Istanbul's top sites. 

While there is no restaurant in the hotel there are plenty of options just steps from the front door. Beware - you will be accosted at every step by men trying to get you to come into their restaurant. Best to go out with a destination in mind and ignore all others. We had a good dinner at Magnaura as well as Giritli (which is a little further away). 

One final note, you will soon discover that you are in a Muslim country when the call to prayers boom out of the many mosques. One is located right behind the hotel and the 3:45am call (the times do change) did wake us up. If you are aight sleeper ear plugs might be a good idea. 

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 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 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

567 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    380
    142
    26
    17
    2
See reviews for
113
248
39
10
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)
Date | Rating
  • Danish first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Norwegian first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Frederick, Maryland
Senior Contributor
44 reviews 44 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 25 cities Reviews in 25 cities
29 helpful votes 29 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 22, 2013

Our family booked two rooms - one of which was a budget room which truly was a budget room! Two small beds crammed in a very small room and an abbreviated bathroom with very small shower. It did the job for the two teenage boys who traveled with us! Our room could have fit four but we only put three in it. It was a bedroom, with another room which had two daybeds. Very spacious and also very nice bathroom. Secluded inner courtyard where breakfast was available was so peaceful! Lots of choices for breakfast though it did not vary from day to day. Location-wise we were steps away from great restaurants/shops and many of the sights - Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia. Roof terrace offered magnificent view of the Blue Mosque. Oh, and the entire hotel was covered in blooming Wisteria - just incredible! Shuttle was great picking us up and taking us to the airport!

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kamloops, Canada
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 22, 2013

My wife and me stayed for 5 nights near the end of May 2013 and could not have made a better choice. Walking its only 5 mintues to the main historic sites and 15 minutes to the Grand Bazzar. Restaurants and shops are all nearby. The Staff were more than helpful and really cared for our safety and enjoyment. The hotel itself is "Boutique" with all the applicable expectations that term implies. We loved the balcony view of the Bosphorus to the outdoor sitting area where we enjoyed great breakfasts and relaxing late afternoons with a cool drink after our adventures. From the 3 large flags blowing in the breeze and the mosque across the street the whole experience could not have been better. We felt part of the culture and can say that travelling the world Istanbul is one of the best trips thanks to Hotel Zoe!

Room Tip: The best room will depend upon your individual tates. If your want to experience the culture as much...
See more room tips
  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 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.
San Francisco, California
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed July 10, 2013

My husband and I recently stayed for 3 nights at the Empress Zoe Hotel. Overall it was disappointing. This was the second hotel we stayed at in Istanbul so I have something to compare it with. The first disappointment was they failed to pick us up at the airport as previously arranged. When we finally got to the hotel, the front desk clerk was not very apologetic and questioned whether or not we even had a reservation. He told us if we wanted to complain that the owner would be in tomorrow. End of conversation. The second disappointment was the room. The amenities and decor were pretty average. There was a weird set up in which the toilet was next to a shower with no curtain so water went everywhere. Beware of the woman who runs the front desk during the day. She was really rude to us. Just nasty for no reason and very unhelpful. Its not what I had come to expect of the usually Turkish hospitality. Best thing about this hotel is the garden in the back. It is amazing, peaceful and beautiful. Other than that, there are better hotels that I've stayed at in Istanbul with nicer staff. I would not recommend this hotel.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
annnevans1, Owner at Empress Zoe, responded to this review, July 18, 2013
This was a very disappointing review for us also. It is very rare for us to receive a "poor" mark. The vast majority of our reviews are excellent or good. I would have replied earlier but I just returned from an overseas trip yesterday.

Firstly, we do have a very good airport pickup service but very occasionally a mix-up could happen. I think that would be true of any hotel. The important thing is that when this occurs we offer the return transfer free of charge. In fact our transfer service does this. I am very sorry if the receptionist who greeted you did not apologize enough. Of course this kind of a mistake deserves a very heartfelt apology. It is the beginning of your stay in Istanbul and it would be very irritating to find that the person in charge did not seem to take it seriously enough. We have had a meeting about this as we do have a couple of newer members of staff and this has been explained in detail. My sincere apologies for this lack of a heartfelt apology.

You stayed in room 601 which is the Maison Zoe triple room with one queen size and one single bed. It has some nice features. I would not call it ordinary. The bathroom in this room is small and somewhat unusual in its layout as it incorporates an antique sink which is outside of the main bathroom. It is a ground floor accommodation on a side street and it has easy garden access. It is not our best room but most people like it. We try to avoid shower curtains in favor of recessed cubicles or glass shower doors. This room has a marble shower recess with an arched door. I have never received complaints of water on the floor but we are looking into the possibility of adding a shower curtain as well. Thank you for pointing this out.

We are perplexed about the rudeness of one of our female receptionists. There are 2 of them handling the morning shift and to my knowledge, and as overwhelmingly attested in our reviews, they are both very courteous and helpful. I would say they go well beyond being hospitable and go out of their way to be friendly, caring and interested in finding solutions to make the most of your trip - be it the right restaurants, special requests or whatever is needed. I guess anyone can have an off day but "downright nasty for no reason" is certainly an incredibly negative assessment. I cannot imagine any of our receptionists behaving like that and would welcome any further comments you would like to address to me personally by writing me at the hotel - if you wish to do so.

I guess we cannot please everyone and I am very sorry that you had such a negative experience in our hotel. I'm glad you liked the garden :))
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
london
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
17 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 10, 2013

The Empress Zoe is located in sultanahmet area of Istanbul. This is effectively the 'old town' and the hotel is a short walk away to the Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, the Cisterns and also the light rail that takes you up to the market or down to the port. It is in an excellent location.
The room windows are double glazed and keeps out most of the noise from the street below and the very early call to prayers. Just to the right of the hotel is a street with a variety of restaurants, which is very convenient.
The staff are lovely and the rooms are very well kept. There are no lifts but there is a porter who carries your bags up/down. The breakfast is light and refreshing but is the same everyday.
Overall a very comfortable and convenient hotel to stay at.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cornwall
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 8, 2013

I meant to post this ages ago -- it's a couple of years out of date / (November 2011) , but unless something has gone seriously awry since then (which I doubt) this is one of the nicest hotels in Istanbul.

Small but with no shortage of character the lobby is part of a small cistern and the garden is adjacent to a ruined bathhouse. Our room wasn't vast but it was really comfortable and didn't feel at all cramped. We didn't get much use out of the balcony it being November but can imagine it would be great on a warm summer's evening. Breakfast was a traditional buffet with plenty of choice. The staff were friendly and really helpful aided and abetted by a host of well looked after, friendly cats that rotated around the building depending on the time of day and the warmest spots. We would definitely stay here again. It's ideally placed for Topkapi palace and the Blue Mosque and short walk from the Grand Bazaar.

Also recommended: if you're in Istanbul for more than a couple of days and like cooking you can take a cookery class just down the road at Cooking a la Turk. We had a great afternoon making a series of dishes that we then got to eat.

  • Stayed August 2012, 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
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Aberdeen, United Kingdom
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 28, 2013

My partner and I recently stayed for 5 nights in the Empress Zoe Hotel. The staff were friendly, helpful and courteous and ready with recommendations for things to do and places to eat. The location is absolutely fantastic - a mere stone's throw from the Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Basilica Cistern (which definitely worth a visit) and not too far from the Grand Bazaar either. The best thing about the hotel is the lovely peaceful garden, where you can sit quietly underneath the trees and bushes, amongst the ruins of an old Hamam, drinking a gin & tonic (best gin & tonics we tasted while there and cheaper than in the surrounding bars too). Even though Istanbul is a huge and busy metropolis, you step into the garden of the Empress Zoe and feel transported.
There are three lovely cats; Mojo, Sophie and Bobby. There were nearly only two cats left because we loved Bobby so much that there was talk of a cat-napping! Bobby is definitely one of the cuddliest and friendliest cats I have met and if you like cats, look for the ginger one for your cuddle fix!
Breakfasts were very nice - lots of fruit and tasty pastries and nice strong coffee to start your day.
The hotel is manned 24 hours.
One thing to mention is that there are a lot of stairs in this hotel and so it's not suitable if you have trouble with mobility - we were perfectly happy to climb the stairs and the staff will take your luggage up for you so no need to struggle with bags, otherwise I would not hesitate to recommend the Empress Zoe to anyone visiting Istanbul.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 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.
Hotels you might also like...
mm/dd/yyyy mm/dd/yyyy
Price Your Stay

Been to Empress Zoe? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

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:
#58 Family Hotel in Istanbul
#62 Best Value 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

Owners: What's your side of the story?

If you own or manage Empress Zoe, register now for free tools to enhance your listing, attract new reviews, and respond to reviewers.