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“Cute hotel with rooftop terrace in the heart of Istanbul” 5 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 #72 of 945 Hotels in Istanbul
Minneapolis, MN
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Cute hotel with rooftop terrace in the heart of Istanbul”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 31, 2011

I found Empress Zoe in my guidebook and stayed there for a total of 5 nights. I thoroughly enjoyed my time at the hotel and would recommend it to everyone. The location was fantastic with numerous restaurants nearby and the famous mosques only a few minutes away. They have a beautiful rooftop garden terrace where I drank wine every night and enjoyed the sounds and smells of Istanbul. The entire hotel staff (receptionists, housekeepers, and bartenders) were all very friendly, respectful, helpful, and very knowledgeable about local resources.

  • Stayed December 2010, traveled with friends
    • 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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565 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
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Moscow, Russia
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
17 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
72 helpful votes 72 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 30, 2011

Istanbul is so special that I never wanted to stay in a chain hotels in this city. Empress Zoe was a perfect match for the mood - small hotel with a character and personality, clean, nice breakfast and perfect-perfect location. Very nice hotel team - professional yet with a true hospitality that you always expect in Turkey but not always find. Very good place to stay, absolutely charming - with kilim covered beds, hidden nice garden and views of the old city.

  • Stayed January 2011, traveled with friends
    • 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
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chicago
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 21, 2011

This hotel is small, intimate, and charming. My husband and I visited Istanbul, Bodrum, and Cappdocia. Our other hotels were 5 stars, but this inexpensive gem was the most memorable one of my trip. As a first time visitor to Istanbul, I loved the location in the middle of Sultanahmet. The noise and bustle and crowds and energy is great. If you need perfect peace and quiet, then why leave home? Or just go sit on a beach in Florida? World travel is for people who don't mind making a few adjustments. Even though I made reservations 8 months in advance, they only had the smallest room available. Not a problem. The room was clean, comfortable, and attractive. The bathroom and shower was very nice. Be warned- the call to prayer comes through loud and clear at 5 am. I'm not a light sleeper, so it didn't bother me. Breakfast is simple, but delicious, and the terrace is a beautiful place to eat and have a drink in the evening. The hotel bar charges exactly what bars in the neighborhood do for drinks, unlike most hotels which charge double what you'd pay elsewhere. The only complaint I have was the reception staff, who I found to be cold, rude and disdainful. My husband and I look much younger than we are, so maybe they thought we were college kids? Not that that's an excuse. I'm laid back about that stuff, so it didn't bother me, but more sensitive, demanding types should be warned.

  • Stayed September 2010, 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
    • 2 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, January 23, 2011
I confess that I am absolutely mystified by this review which is complimentary in every way except about the attitude of our reception staff. I am answering this right away because this is the 3rd such comment in the last 4 reviews of our hotel which have all been positive in every other respect. We have had meetings about this and will discuss it seriously again to try to get to the bottom of this. We have narrowed down the time frame to September and October 2010 for all 3 reviews (2 reviews of a September stay and one of an October stay). We did have 2 new receptionists in September and they are still with us. Up to this time we have never had anything but very positive reviews of all our staff. I have never seen them being anything but extremely polite and helpful. All of our receptionists have a good command of English, one is fluent in French also. Unlike most small hotels I employ 2 receptionists for each of the morning/afternoon and afternoon/evening shifts (8 AM to 11 PM) so that one handles office work and telephones while the other is free to help the guests with any of their questions or requirements. There is one person handling the night shift. I have an extra receptionist to cover day offs so that we are never short staffed. A small hotel like ours trades primarily on its good name. It is extremely important to us that our staff go out of their way to give exceptional service.

Our receptionists vary in the types of their personalities. Some are more outgoing and others more serious and quiet. I have not found this to be a drawback as a very outgoing personality is not always necessary in a sincere and helpful person.

If anyone would like to write an email to our hotel (addressed to the owner Ann Nevans) and add their experience we would welcome your feedback.

We remain willing and eager to make your upcoming visit to Istanbul a wonderful experience.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Inverloch
2 reviews
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 26, 2010

Great location, amazing hotel. Ancient Hamam next door. Mosque metres aways so the wonderful call to prayer wakes you early. Wonderful building, every room different as not purpose built. Windy narrow staircases. Breakfast garden- all great. Our room lovely- very small balcony, comfy bed. Our only disappointment were the staff- 2 so friendly the others very condescending - we felt like we were there as a favour! But do go and enjoy.

  • Stayed September 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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California
Senior Contributor
45 reviews 45 reviews
28 hotel reviews
Reviews in 32 cities Reviews in 32 cities
36 helpful votes 36 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 3, 2010

Enjoyed nine days at the Empress Zoe, including three with our adult children. Our experience was wonderful. The hotel is very well situated for seeing Istanbul as it is an easy walk to many sights as well as the tram. We valued a uniquely Turkish hotel rather than a sterile environment. Our rooms were comfortable and spacious. Breakfast choices were abundant, high quality and tasty. Good weather allowed us to begin each day in the lovely garden. The staff was helpful, cheerful and provided excellent advice about restaurants and activities. Can't imagine returning to Istanbul and staying anyplace else.

  • Stayed November 2010, 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
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Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 13, 2010

I'm hesitant to even write a review about the Empress Zoe, because we were there for such a short period of time. We stayed in Istanbul for four nights in early October at another hotel, then left to travel elsewhere in Turkey. We came back to Istanbul the day before our flight home, and stayed at the Empress Zoe. We checked in late afternoon and then immediately left the hotel to go take care of the myriad things we needed to accomplish before going home (i.e, souvenir-buying, stocking up on Turkish Delight). We came back to the hotel late at night, and left early the next morning. So, you can see, there was not a lot of time spent at the hotel.

But it was enough to make an impression. We loved the overall look, design and decor of the hotel. It was all very charming and authentic-feeling, with the dark wood, metal spiral staircase, antiques, fireplaces, traditional rugs and textiles, and of course, the cats!! Our room was the family suite, and the bed was amazingly comfortable. The bathroom was spacious and clean, and the room was just overall very cozy.

We were running late the next morning and did not have time to eat breakfast, which I was disappointed about. It looked good.

The main complaint that I have with this hotel was the lack of any sort of proper welcome, and the overall cold service. After two weeks of experiencing the best of Turkish hospitality, both in Istanbul and elsewhere, we felt distinctly unwelcome here. The guy at the front desk was kind of arrogant and disinterested, although we found out later that he was only 19 years old, so youth could have been a part of that. But if you're working in a hotel, you need to be at least a little courteous and welcoming. I can't really given a concrete example of direct rudeness, just an overall lackadaisical attitude. Overall, the hotel had the feel of a laid-back hostel, which I usually like, especially if I'm paying hostel-level prices. But here, it came off as uncaring and unwelcoming, which was probably made more pronounced by the fact that we were paying much more than hostel-level prices. At 150 euros/night, I want to feel like somebody cares that I'm there.

Again, this might be an unfair review, since we were there for so short a time. I will stress again that the hotel was definitely very clean and beautiful, with charming decor.

  • Stayed October 2010, 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
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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Stockholm, Sweden
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 13, 2010

Arriving on Wednesday afternoon was easy due to the pre-ordered airport shuttle service. The problem that our luggage got stuck in Zurich for one day was nothing the hotel could do about. The hotel personal was very kind and service minded and we found ourselves quickly in our nice suite that would be our welcoming base until departure on Sunday afternoon. The breakfasts was also special with for example potato omelette served from 8 o'clock, perfectly preparing us for a day of exciting exploration. When we return to Istanbul again, Empress Zoe will be our preferable choice.

  • Stayed November 2010, 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
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:
#58 Family Hotel in Istanbul
#69 Best Value Hotel in Istanbul
#70 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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