I was visiting Istanbul for one night on a massive mileage run and being a Hilton Diamond, I wanted to use some points up. I chose this property because of their advertised airport shuttle. When I arrived at IST, I quickly learned that no such shuttle exists. Having never been there and having traveled for 24 hours, I booked a car to the hotel.
Upon arrival, I was greeted properly and explained my concern about having to pay so much for a car. They said they would confer with the manager and let me know if anything could be done. More on that later...
I found the property stunning in the lobby and the room was no exception. I loved the high room overlooking the water side with the giant windows. The diamond welcome amenities were top of the line with fresh fruit, sparkling and regular water. The hallways had dimmed lights that came up when you were present. It was also the first time I had seen switches for 'DND and Make up Room' inside the room that activate lights on the outside of the room.
The staff, everyone from Sevgi at the front desk, the guys at the bell/security stand and Riza in the stellar breakfast area were more than helpful. They helped guide me through the public transportation to a non-touristy shopping market since the Bazzaar was so far away and closed on Sunday, my only day there. The busses, while cramped with people were safe and fairly easy to navigate.
Riza was great in the breakfast area which had many hot food items both American and Turkish. They had a full racked honeycomb available to get fresh honey for the pastries. There were also many cheeses and olives showing off the great Mediterranean influence in their foods.
Back to the expense for transportation. In the end, the property owned the error on the Hilton website and reimbursed me for the transportation. Their intent is to remove it from the website for now and eventually re-establish the shuttle.
After dinner Saturday night at a nearby restaurant just down the road with a green lighted sign (great food), I went down to the pool, tub, fitness and Turkish Bath. All were very nice and modern. The sauna and turkish bath were the proper end to a 32 hour day on a full stomach before bed.
The only downside to this property is the proximity to the old town area. It would have been quite a journey to get to the bazzaar, the Bosphorus and the Blue Mosque. I think upon returning to IST, I would plan a few days at this property in Avcilar given the awesome experience they showed to me and then a few days over in the other side of town.
I look forward to my next vist to this wonderful property, one that other Hiltons and Doubletrees around the world should visit as a model of how to run a hotel.
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