Loved: Hotel is very new (opened May this year) and as such, towels are still plush, comforters are still billowy. Good a/c and heater. Good water pressure for shower. Breakfast is good and filled you up for the morning. With only 9 rooms, it felt like you were staying at a posh friend's guestroom (which was great and I looked forward to coming back after a long day of traipsing around town). Some hotel staff have better English than others. That being said, I got very detailed directions to where I needed to go (even directions for using the bus). Staff were very hospitable, greeting you every time you came or went and offered tea / coffee every time they saw you. Staff were also honest that there are few decent (ie. non-tourist-trap) restaurants in the area. If you can, head over to the Istiklal Caddesi area (across the Galata Bridge) for meals. Much better selection at better prices. Loved being close to all the mosques, palaces and museums. Wonderful to see them in the day and then again lit up at night.
Didn't like: Breakfast never changed, so after five days of exactly the same thing, it got a bit dull. Staircase to rooms is open, so if you have customers speaking loudly in Reception, you'll hear it from your room (at least I did, on the first floor). Otherwise, the hotel is quiet (it's on a side street off a side street). Be forewarned that the rooms are SMALL. Like just big enough for a double bed with a bit of room to spare. That being said, the design was very compact with lots of storage space. So once you get organized, it was good (except for the bathroom, which you needed a bit of acrobatics to negotiate...)
However, I felt the hotel offered great value!
Tips: (1) There is a shared shuttle going back to the airport for only 5 euro, bookable through the hotel. (2) Ask directions from the hotel how to get here FROM the airport. You can use combo metro/tram (but if you're arriving during working hours, the tram will be VERY crowded). It's a short 5-7 minute walk from the closest tram station. (3) Every time you switch lines, you will need to pay. You can either pay TL2 for a token or buy a transportation card which you top up with money (strangely, these are sold by regular kiosks selling other things, like kebabs). The benefit of the card (TL6, non-refundable) is that your subsequent trips (within 2 hours) are discounted (1st trip, TL 1.75, 2nd trip, TL 1.00). Didn't see them on sale at the airport and the ticket booth was unmanned with ticket machines only in Turkish (!)
I totally fell in love with Istanbul and Minel Hotel was a good base for traveling. You could even walk to Eminonu in about 20 minutes (where the Bosphorus cruises leave from). For more tips on what to do in Istanbul check out my travel blog:
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- We are a fresh, modern and elegant hotel nestled within awe inspiring and unparalleled surroundings of Sultanahmet. We are a small hotel designed with tastefully decorated rooms with your personal needs in mind. You will find yourself immersed in a truly unique and magical atmosphere, providing outstanding Turkish hospitably to make you feel at home.In the heart of the oldest part of the city, you will enjoy simple but elegantly appointed rooms, wake up to a fresh Turkish buffet breakfast and can take a morning walk or run in the Gulhane Park where you will feel like you are in the forest, but in the heart of the city. From our doorstep you can take a stroll on cobblestone streets and enjoy the most fascinating and historically important areas of the worlds great cities. The looming architecture of the famous Aya Sophia, the historical Topkapi Palace, and the eloquent Blue Mosque and Basilica Cistern all within a 2 minute walk. ... more less
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