We stayed 4 nights in room #7 (penthouse) with the sizeable roof terrace, which is a lovely space to have access to in such a built-up area. The protest was on-going prior to our arrival and we were concerned about travelling as the apartment is very close to the square (usually a very good thing given the food/nightlife/transport options) and much better than staying in the old town. However, Sue the owner emailed us regular updates on the situation, which was extremely reassuring as if we had just gone by the (overblown) media coverage we may not have travelled.
Sue and her husband are extremely warm and welcoming. As soon as they heard the main entrance door to the apartments open they would come to their office door (adjacent) just to greet you every morning. Sue gave us lots of useful information in getting around and all her recommendations for eating out were good (all listed on a handy map she provides you with on arrival). She booked a tour for us using their regular tour company (we did the classic walking tour) and this was a good trip, value for money with an excellent guide (Aman). We also did the Bosphorus cruise (short circle tour), but don't bother purchasing the audio guide as it is rubbish and from Taksim square you can also get a bus up to visit the amazing Chora Church and Pierre Loti. There is an organised tour you can do, but it is actually quite easy and much cheaper to do it yourself. We were also thinking about having a Turkish bath, but read the (often hilarious) reviews before you go, which were totally off-putting unless you are into naked massage with attitude.
Just around the corner there is a little shop open 24 hours that should have everything you need (although we ate out all the time) and the apartment is very well situated close to the square and access to the main transport connections, shopping area (Istiklal), and a fantastic tavern lined avenue (Nevizade). In the immediate locale you will find plenty of good places to eat and particularly a cake/coffee shop which was one of the few places that sold chocolate baklava, which is just heavenly.
The apartment itself was of a very high standard, comfy beds, good quality towels and bedding and it was very clean and secure, all in all extremely good value for money. It was also very quiet; the only residents we ever heard were the gulls on the rooftops.
The square itself is without doubt the people watching capital of the world - on our last night we ate in the rooftop restaurant at the Marmara hotel (beautiful Bosphorus views) followed by cocktails on the terrace (the best margaritas) and just sat back and enjoyed the normal comings and goings on the square for hours. We will definitely go back one day as Istanbul is just a fantastic place to visit and we wouldn't hesitate to rebook at Marti Apartments.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Violet Suite is a hotel which caters to the independent traveler who wishes to experience what it's like to live in the city they are visiting. If you want to relax at home, watch TV, listen to your music, drink beer or wine, and make a sandwich or light meal instead of eating every meal out, then we are what you are looking for. ... more less