This was my second stay at the Sirkeci Konak and I was warmly welcomed by the delightful Okay.
We arrived early in the morning, and our room was not ready. We were kindly allocated another room to use until 1pm, and then our luggage was transferred to our room (2203), which was on the front, left hand side of the building, with double glass doors looking out over the street.
The room was spotless, very quiet, and the air-conditioning was effective. The beds were extremely comfortable, and there was a desk with a seat, another chair, and a small clothes' wardrobe. The bathroom was very small, but the shower had excellent water pressure, and the towels were thick and fluffy. Tea and coffee making facilities were provided, as was a quality iron and ironing board.
Breakfast was the same as on my last visit several years ago – delicious: plenty of fresh fruit and juices, nut varieties, cereals, yoghurts, Turkish hot dishes and wonderful cheeses, scrambled and hard boiled eggs, various breads and pastries etc.
The Turkish bath, pool, gym and sauna areas were terrific, but I didn’t have time to utilise those facilities.
There are three outstanding feature of this hotel – the staff, the location, and the series of free programs provided to guests so that they might better understand Turkish culture, customs, food etc.
The staff have a friendly, helpful, and enthusiastic attitude. Many of the current staff were here on my last visit. In particular, Okay at reception, and Turker in the restaurant, deserve special mention, along with a delightful young man, Sezgin, who has been working at the Sirkeci Konak on a part time basis while completing university studies.
On the morning of our arrival, we took the 4 hour “A Taste of Lifestyle in Golden Horn” walking tour, which I had taken several years ago. We were way off the tourist route, firstly to the Mosque of Mehmed II, the conqueror of Constantinople, then to the Fatih Farmers Market, which is held in streets every Wednesday. Not a tourist in sight! It is the largest open air market in Turkey, where you can buy anything and everything – fruit and vegies, spices, underwear, clothing, curtains, cookware, even little chicks that you can raise at home. We then walked down a long, steep, cobbled stone street to the home and church of the world’s leader of the Greek Orthodox community.
The next day we took the “Local wine tasting with a selection of Turkish cheeses”, conducted admirably by Turker.
And the next day, the “Turkish cuisine cooking experience”, which was such fun. We chopped all the ingredients, watched the chef prepare the food – Turkish shepherds’stew served with a spiced bulgar - and then we ate it for dinner!
And then “A walk through the trade life of 800 years”, followed by “Drinking in a local way: raki” experience later that afternoon. Thanks to Sam for an interesting chat about his family life over much raki!
The only hotel tour that we missed was the “Culinary tour in Sirkeci district”, which I participated in last year (while staying at a sister hotel, the Neorion).
And there’s more!
There are several free computers available to guests, both linked to printers. Free wifi has a strong signal in public areas and in rooms.
Drinks and snacks are provided every afternoon at 4.30 pm in the “living room”, which affords a great opportunity to chat to other guests.
The generous owner, Faruk Boyaci, can often be seen talking to staff and guests.
A departure gift was a lovely gesture.
We booked a 4 night stay on the hotel’s website, which entitled us to a one way transfer to or from Ataturk Airport, an 11% discount for cash payment, and a free dinner in the wonderful Neyzade restaurant (reviewed separately).
The hotel’s surrounds had been upgraded since my last visit. The street is now fully paved and many new shops have sprung up, including a very useful laundry only 20 metres to the left, which charges 10 TL/kilo for washing and drying.
The Sirkeci Konak surely provides the best “package” experience available in Istanbul.
I cannot recommend this hotel highly enough, and look forward to staying there when I return.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.