We stayed at the Kempinksi-Ciragan in late May of 2008. Luckily, our hotel room itself was paid for by a business client for an event they were hosting.
The building itself is nothing special: very concrete and drab. The location of our room was good with a nice view of the pool and then the Bosphorus beyond. Check-in was fine and cordial.
The console phone system in the room--which also controls the lights--kept going off and on all day and all night so it would light up in the middle of the night, sometimes waking me up with light and the clicking sound it made. The TV only worked a percentage of the time, usually corresponding with when the phone was acting up. And literally, someone was moving furniture in the room above us at 3:30am the 2nd night we were there for nearly an hour! I don't know if it's a conference room they were preparing or what, but it was terrible trying to sleep with all the lights and noise.
The prices were ridiculous. By the pool, a coke cost about $16 USD. A sandwich (very average tasting, and I'm not picky usually) was about $35. We ate at one of the restaurants one night and for those similar prices (about 5 times what you would normally pay for anything), the food was OK, but not special. I'm not against paying for luxury when the experience corresponds, but in this case, there was absolutely nothing to justify the prices.
Last, the service in general was terrible. Anytime you needed something from the desk, they seemed bothered, or promised it and it never materialized without follow up. The last day, I stopped at the desk to ask for someone to come get the luggage. Then I went to the room to wait. 20 minutes later, I called because no one showed up while I was sitting doing nothing, so I called down. They apologized and said they would send someone immediately. 10 minutes later, another person called ME and said it was past checkout time and when was I planning to check out! Still no one had come to collect the luggage!
In my opinion, for these prices, the customer should be treated like royalty. Again, I am not hugely picky and really never stay in 5-star hotels, so my expectations were that we would have a quality experience for that level of hotel. It did not materialize, and I would NEVER pay to stay there. I have had equally pleasant and much cheaper stays at far lesser hotels. After 2 days, our cost for food and amenities alone was $1000 USD and we had little to show for it but a nice few hours by the pool--which we could have done elsewhere.
Last, the hotel is nice on the Bosphorus as it is, but it is not conveniently located in Istanbul and a 15-40 minute dizzying taxi ride in traffic is required to get to most areas of town where you would want to visit.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Cıragan Palace Kempinski Istanbul offers the ultimate in luxury and glamour of a genuine Ottoman Palace with its 313 rooms including 22 suites in the hotel and 11 suites in the historical Palace. This 5-star luxury Imperial Palace hotel is located on the shores of the magnificent Bosphorus overlooking the ancient city of Istanbul, provides a one-of-a-kind experience with its historical ambiance and excellent Kempinski service. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Ciragan Palace Kempinski Istanbul Hotel Istanbul
- Ciragan Palace Kempinski Hotel Istanbul
- Istanbul Ciragan Palace Kempinski
- Kempinski Istanbul