I should warn you that I have no idea what hotel standards in Istanbul are. Without comparative experiences, my review may be an unfair assessment, but I'll try for a balanced review.
I was unfortunate to be allocated a room with a view of a wall. Yes, literary, a wall! The (dirty and peeling) wall was about a meter from my (only) window and hollowed into an abyss below. Additionally, the room was very small, and I bumped into something every now and then. A word for the claustrophobic; perhaps you need to ask for a proper room in advance.
The biggest no no for me, however, was that there was no desk in my room. Since I was not on holiday, but on a conference trip, I expected to work on my presentation sitting an a desk with my laptop. I asked for a room change or desk, but did not get either, and that was a big let down. I had to sit on the bed, stop whining and carry on with my work on my lap.
Don't get me wrong, it is not all dark and gloomy with this hotel. The furniture had a nice modern feel to it. The shower and toilet was big, with excellent fittings. The toilet and shower were spotless when they were cleaned. Be warned, the housekeeper will ask you in the corridor, "Room clean?". And if you give the wrong sign language, don't expect your room to be clean (or a new tea/coffee set) when you return. That question means "Would you like me to enter your room? (at all?)" - so be sure you convey the right answer. The bed, the linen, the pillows were to die for, really comfortable.
One big redeeming factor for this hotel is the staff that are so polite and eager to provide the best service they can; and this (kind of) makes up for most of the less than satisfactory services.
Another good point is that the hotel is well located, with the tram nearby, thus easy access to most parts of the city. It's also a walking distance to many amenities; the Galata Tower and Istiklal Street to Taksim. In fact, on arrival, I used the metro and tram from the airport with no trouble at all - for 4 lira. The metro (M1) is the only departing train from the airport, so you cant take the wrong one, then an easy change to the tram at Zeytinburnu, and got a good first impression of Istanbul, then got off two blocks from the hotel.
The mini-bar was stocked to the full with mostly fizzy drinks, beer and wine. A Fanta costs 2 Euro or 5 Lira in the mini-bar, or if you're thrifty like me, you could go a few meters down the street to buy a Fanta for just 2 Lira. You will need those drinks and water in summer.
I don't care much for breakfast, but it was OK the few times I had it; with an excellent cheese selection.
I cant say more about the terrace view; it's worthy of the praise.
If you're into TV, do not expect any more excitement than the BBC World News on the channel list .
All in all, I think I had too high expectations for this hotel, and while not entirely disappointed, my advise would be that you should be realistic about your expectations - it's Istanbul!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Centrally located in the heart of Istanbul, Galata La Bella Hotel offers deluxe accommodation , the best hospitality and ideal starting for your fascinating explore to Istanbul. Galata La Bella Hotel with the best location offers absolutely stunning view of The Old city and Golden Horn, within walking distance to many attractions including Karaköy Tunnel which is the 2nd oldest metro tunnel of the world, Galata tower, Taksim Square and historical city center Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia Museum, Topkapı Palace, Basilica Cistern or Grand Bazaar ... more less
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