Following the recommendation of friends we spent 4 nights at Tomtom suites. This really is a gem of a hotel: an oasis of calm and quiet good taste. We stayed on the 1st floor in room 14 and our relatives stayed in room 16. Both were spacious and excellent quality. The welcome was superlative: Nural (Guest Relations) was very warm and helpful (as were all the front desk staff) and anything we mentioned such as needing transport cards and museum passes were produced within minutes and we were booked into a hamam the same day - a great way to unwind on the 1st day (newly restored and opened Ayosofya Hurren Sultan Hamami - confusingly called Baths of Roxelana in my guide book - these baths are situated between the Blue Mosque and Haghia Sophia and men and women can bathe at the same time but in totally separate wings). Nural told us what not to miss and how to get there; all the restaurant recommendations were spot on (one we walked past several times without realising there was a lovely interior courtyard; its name was Pey Ma Ne). The hotel is in a very quiet and safe road (a road that is closed to traffic as this is where the Italian Embassy is sited) so it's totally silent at night. Yet you are in the middle of the buzz and charm of Beyoglu (also known as Pera). The beds were spacious and extremely comfortable. As we were treating my sister-in-law and her husband to a trip to Istanbul for a significant birthday celebration, we had considered staying at the Four Seasons. So glad we didn't! So much cheaper for a start and without any discernible less quality. The Four Seasons is lovely (we had lunch there in their courtyard; service was rather average, however) but you are in the heart of a tourist quarter which, beautifully restored as it is, is surrounded by very average and expensive tourist restaurants. It's nice to get back to a more authentic district and there are masses of places to visit in Beyoglu itself (don't miss the Mirrored Passage (Avrupa Pasaji) which we stumbled across; it's parallel to Istiklal Caddesi between Mesrutiyet Caddesi and Balik Pazari) - look up at the at the ceiling and statues). Incidentally most shops in the area stay open until midnight! Incidentally we travelled by tram (and once by bus to/from Chora Church) everywhere and it was quick and easy; only took taxis to/from airport).
I must mention the hotel restaurant, 'Nicole'. We ate there on our 1st night after our trip to the hamam. We had the 5 course taster menu and it was a gastronomic feast! The two chefs (married couple) are Turkish but trained in Paris with renowned Michelin-star chefs. The food reflects this. They are both charming and will come to your table. Actually 5 courses were in reality a lot more courses - "something sweet" turned out to be three puddings! Incidentally, the wife was doing a PhD in History at Oxford University but threw it in to become a chef.
All in all, a faultless stay and I have no hesitation in warmly recommending it.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Tomtom Suites, The Old Franciscan House is an authentic Istanbul building whose posture reflects the social history of Pera from 1850’s to recent. Throughout its history, this building was home for French nuns and some well-known Levantine families. Now it is ready to host its new guests with its "unique" service policy and a new design, pairing modern comfort with historical background. Tomtom Suites, The Old Franciscan House has 20 suites, a terrace offering a panoramic view of old town and a nostalgic outlook. It tells the story of an over 100 years old building with a stylish language, but without loosing the essence of the story. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Tomtom Hotel Istanbul