I stayed at the Mystic Hotel in late September when Istanbul and the historic Sultanahmet was at its best: warm, sunny days and cool nights filled with marvelous history and architecture at every turn.
Unfortunately, my introduction to the city was pretty terrible thanks to the Mystic Hotel.
I had booked a single view room with a late check-in (my flight landed at 11 pm) only to be put in a street-facing room with 4 single beds crammed into a room meant for 2 beds maximum. When I asked for a different room, I was shown one on the top floor with a ceiling so low and sloping that it was impossible to stand upright. I was told the hotel was booked besides these two rooms and that I had no other option.
I stayed the first night in the room with 4 beds that's impossible to walk around because all the space is taken up with extra beds. It was also impossible to have a bedside table or reading lamp so I was left to use the single glaring overhead fluorescent light or my headlamp in bed. Other charms: the bedspreads and decorative pillows were made of a synthetic fabric I was afraid to touch. There were some coordinating curtains in similar synthetics that photograph okay by daylight in the hotel's website but lose all charm under the fluorescents at night. I also discovered a monstrous yellow stain on the mattress pad below the scratchy sheets. No chair in the room or place to put your toiletry bad in the bathroom either. Unrelated to this particular room, I should mention that the staircase is a death wish: steep, narrow, no railing and auto lights come on after you're halfway up or down.
The next morning, I had breakfast on the terrace directly behind the rather sad reception/lobby area. While billed to have Bosphorus views, I would say the views were partial at best. The breakfast spread, while traditional, was also very disappointing especially now that I have experienced such wonderful hospitality elsewhere in Istanbul and across the country. There were the standards like bread, butter, cheese, tomatoes, cucumbers, hardboiled eggs, olives, jam, honey, tea and powdered coffee, but there was really no care taken in their presentation and a number of patrons had to ask for more of whatever had run out.
Shortly thereafter, I packed up and moved my bags out. I politely told the owner Oktay Balkir that I was going to look for another hotel since he was booked and had no more options for me and asked to store my bags for the day. He was gruff and his wife was lifeless, and they placed my bags in the center of the lobby as opposed to a storage closet or back office.
When I asked for directions to my travel agency right next to the Four Seasons, a local landmark next to the Hagia Sophia, he said it was impossible to tell me. Thanks. I set out on my own, and to add injury to insult I actually slipped on the steep cobbled street where the hotel is located and scraped up my knee! Luckily, I found my agency and a new hotel. When I returned for my bags, you can imagine that the gruff owner was even gruffer. He also tried to charge me a second night because he had stored my bags in the lobby for the day!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Mystic Hotel is a charming new hotel that offers you a mystic atmosphere. In this newly renovated historic building, a short stroll from Sultanahmet Square, you will have a magnificent panoramic view of the sea from the lobby and all front-facing rooms. All our rooms have air conditioning and cable TV. There is a five channel music broadcasting system, direct and free of charge internet connection. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Hotwire so you can book your Mystic Hotel reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- Also Known As:
- Mystic Hotel Istanbul