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Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at Sultanahmet
Ranked #17 of 1,159 Hotels in Istanbul
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed October 27, 2012

We are great fans of Four Seasons Hotels, and this one was top class. We loved the rooftop terrace for a drink at sunset ~ most romantic. Breakfast is really important to us, and here it was excellent, served in the courtyard. Immensely comfortable rooms, and superb service. Wonderful atmosphere. Highly recommended.

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank cafealtra
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Felix M, General Manager at Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at Sultanahmet, responded to this reviewResponded November 5, 2012

Dear cafealtra,

My name is Felix Murillo, I am the General Manager of the Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at Sultanahmet.

You have touched upon areas that we have been working hard during the summer, like opening A´ya Lounge at our roof top and Breakfast. It feels good to read your comments. Thank you very much.

Please cafealtra, if I may ever be of assistance within Four Seasons or within Istanbul, I will be very happy to help, my direct email address is felix.murillo@fourseasons.com.

Yours cordially,

Felix

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Reviewed October 26, 2012

If you ever get the chance to go to Istanbul, look no further on where to stay. This hotel is by far one of the best Four Seasons! Centrally located to the cities culture of sights and sounds you must experience. The hotel is within walking distance from the Blue mosque, Hagia Sofia, Topkapi Palace and the underground water cisterns makes the trip memorable.

After a very long flight from Southern California only to have our luggage delayed in Paris we hadn't a care in the world once we entered the hotel. The hotel staff made sure we had all the amenities to keep us comfortable until our luggage arrived. Our room was spacious, all our needs were met.

Make sure you go to the courtyard and wonder through the gardens. The rooftop bar had the most amazing panoramic view of both the blue mosque and Hagia Sofia, an amazing sight! Once the call to prayer begins, you experience a sight and sound that is indescribable.

  • Stayed: June 2012, traveled with family
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Thank TexasBluebonnet_14
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 23, 2012

The service quality, rooms, food and atmosphere make this hotel a very special one. It had been a prison in the past; amazing to see what it turned into. It is at the heart of the old city, very conveniently located for sightseeing. I highly recommend this hotel for a visit in Istanbul or for any special organization

We had our wedding at Four Seasons Sultanahmet this year; everything was perfect. I already knew that Four Seasons Hotels offer extraordinary service, but to actually experience it in a special day was amazing.

Every detail was well thought, staff was very attentive to all our wishes. The chef Savas Aydemir prepared a very nice menu for our guests. The bridal suite we stayed was amazing, comfortable and luxurious. Everybody was very helpful and friendly, and sincerely tried to make it our day.

Thanks a lot to Four Seasons team for helping us have a great time during our stay!

  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank NNMNNM
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 22, 2012

After 27 separate stays at the two Four Seasons Istanbul properties over the past decade – and probably 40 visits to Turkey – here are my two cents/two pence, starting with the FS Sultanahmet. From this introductory sentence, the GM already knows who is preparing this TA review … but here goes anyway. The FS Bosphorus will be forthcoming and a little more challenging to assess for various reasons. For me, I consider both properties very special and, in fact, truly a “home”. I would even consider two employees at FS Bosphorus as “friends.”

Bottom Line:
If you are looking for a boutique luxury hotel in the heart of the Istanbul historic district of Sultanahmet – and do not mind spending a few “bucks” – there is no equal to the FS Sultanahmet. The hotel combines a Four Seasons management structure with Turkish traditions of service and hospitality – an unbeatable combination. Moreover, this property was developed and managed for approximately its first dozen years by Marcos Bekhit, the finest hotelier that I ever met, and most of the senior staff he hired remains – either at FS Sultanahmet or FS Bosphorus (when FS Bosphorus opened, staff were allocated between the two FS Istanbul hotels). The “newish” Spanish GM is excellent and I have met him on a number of occasions. He once offered his personal car to drive me to Ataturk Airport, but only I would decline this offer – preferring to pay for the authentic Turkish experience of riding in a dilapidated Fiat-style taxi with a crazy driver.

Istanbul Background and Suggestions:
Istanbul has become (legitimately) a must-see destination. Recent major movies – Skyfall, Argo and Taken 2 – have at least some segments filmed in Istanbul (so much for Midnight Express). The uber-trendy private club Soho House (which means that I will never be admitted as a member) announced in May 2012 that they were building its largest club at the site of the former US consulate in Beyoglu. As other TA contributors have noted already, Istanbul traffic can be stifling. Traffic is worse when it rains and impossible if it snows. To get a feel for the Bosphorus and the local flavor, take one of the ferries that regularly cross the Bosphous for a Turkish lira or two. For the more adventurous and absolutely not faint of heart, I would recommend seeing a soccer/football match of one of the three major local Istanbul teams. As a general rule, however, walk as much as possible in Istanbul to see and feel the city. And if you are Jewish, attend a service at one of the few remaining active synagogues (arrange well prior to arrival with the concierge team). I also enjoy Sunday morning services at the main Greek Orthodox Church - especially if Patriarch Bartholomew is officiating - which is not too far from the FS Sultanahmet.

Istanbul Hotels:
Turkey is very generous with their hotel ratings. Expedia lists approximately 75 Istanbul hotels with five-star ratings, including three Holiday Inn’s and three Best Western’s. Go figure. Given that caveat, the Intercontinental, Ritz Carlton, Hilton, Conrad, Ciragan (pronounced “tsheer-an”) and Divan (among others) are all very good five-star Istanbul hotels and I stayed at them all, with the exception of the Divan. Within a 15-minute walk from the hotel, moreover, you will probably find over a 100 hotels with various ratings – none of which compares to the FS Sultanahmet. That said … I have stayed at all different types of hotels throughout Turkey (mainly in the north and the west) and never had problems with any.

Location:
This Four Seasons is an easy walk to all the main historical attractions: Blue Mosque, Aya Sophia, Grand Bazaar and Topkapi Palace. The hotel itself is beautiful and received a nice write-up in Architectural Digest when it first opened. It is the older of the two FS Istanbul properties and has a more traditional Turkish feel than the FS Bosphorus. FS Sultanahmet also is not on the water as is the FS Bosphorus – and sitting on the patio of the FS Bosphorus on a warm morning or evening is a quasi-religious experience for me. However, if you are staying at FS Bosphorus, do not expect an upgrade to a Bosphorus-view room – even if booking with your Black Amex card. Only about 10% of FS Bosphorus rooms have a clear view to the Bosphorus and the hotel has been running at high occupancy rates. People are paying full price to have this view. As an aside, the FS Sultanahmet is closer to Ataturk Airport than FS Bosphorus. In addition, Google Maps says the distance between the two FS properties is 8km and takes 14 minutes, and this is without traffic. During heavy traffic periods I would recommend the tram to a taxi. I have walked between the two properties in 70 minutes, but it was a brisk walk and I knew the way.

Immediately adjacent the hotel is an archeological site. In fact, the hotel was in an expansion phase until a major archeological find was uncovered – or the expansion became a political issue, depending upon whom you ask. Regardless of the cause, there is no hotel expansion at the moment. Nevertheless, streets around the old district can be closed at any time and this can be a problem. When I complained to the GM about the road closure last year that forced me to walk up the hill to the hotel with my luggage, he said he too was unaware of the road construction as well until he arrived at the hotel that day. Since the hotel is in the main tourist district, you should be prepared for a lot of tourists and touts selling everything from carpets to souvenirs to restaurant meals. To get rid of them (and they are only men, unless it is for the bus tours of Istanbul), you can either ignore them or I use the Arabic word for “enough/ finished”: “khalas”.

Facilities:
FS Sultanahmet lacks a pool and large gym/fitness/spa/hamam facilities of FS Bosphorus but makes up for it with charm and an intimacy. It is a true boutique hotel and there are a number of old/famous hamams close to the hotel. The banqueting and function rooms are much smaller than FS Bosphorus – as is the entire property – so you are less likely to be bothered by the music blaring from a wedding or a Bar Mitzvah celebration (yes, I once saw a Bar Mitzvah). That said, observing a Turkish wedding can be fun as well as interesting. And now for the immutable laws of Istanbul: the already-mentioned traffic can be heavy (even by LA standards), everybody smokes and speaks loudly on their cell phones, and all Turkish parties will blast music – regardless if alcohol is served. Smoking is not permitted inside the hotel but is allowed on the grounds. If you want to use any of the spa/gym facilities at the FS Bosphorus, you can have it arranged by the FS Sultanahmet or – as I do – just show-up. As a general rule, it is no problem arranging things at either FS property no matter which one you actually stay at since many of the employees once worked together at FS Sultanahmet.

The FS Sultanahmet rooftop patio/bar offers an unparalleled view of Aya Sophia and a partial view of the Blue Mosque (a nearby hotel keeps building additional floors which, over time, has blocked a full view of the mosque). I remember one evening on the rooftop patio watching the snow fall against the backdrop of two of the world’s finest buildings ever constructed, Aya Sophia and the Blue Mosque. For me, this is an equally religious experience. As a side note, the roof top bar was just remodeled and opened when I was there in mid-August. On a hot day doing the tourist things – such as jostling for the best vantage points in Aya Sophia with the large groups from the giant cruise ships that could have docked in the morning – it is nice to have your hotel nearby as a rest stop.

The gardens of the hotel are spectacular and surround the only restaurant in the hotel’s courtyard, though you can be served food and drinks in the bar area. Breakfast is buffet or a la carte, though in slow periods, the buffet is not served. On Friday nights at FS Sultanahmet there are often wine tastings and I found these evenings fun and interesting, plus a great value. The rooms have a Turkish motifs, Bose stereos, large screen TVs, and “standard” Four Seasons l’Occitane amenities in the non-suite rooms.

Conclusion:
The two FS Istanbul hotels are as good as your going to find within the Four Seasons portfolio of properties. Since I love both properties, it is often a coin flip as to which one I will stay at and will often be determined by what facilities and location I prefer at a given time. On some visits to Istanbul, in fact, I stay at both properties (recommended if you have the time). Obviously, the FS Sultanahmet is not cheap (I have been paying more for my room in Istanbul than I do for the Peninsula NY at 55th and 5th) but I would describe the hotel with superlatives and based on the level of occupancy I have observed recently, people are willing to pay these rates. Since I have a preference for boutique hotels over large ones, love the Sultanahmet area, and the FS Sultanahmet was the “first”, I have a slight preference for FS Sultanahmet vis-à-vis FS Bosphorus. Now you must flip your coin.

Room Tip: Room selection is not as critical at FS Sultanahmet as FS Bosphorus. Aya Sophia and courtyard views...
  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled solo
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6  Thank SanMoTraveler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Felix M, General Manager at Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at Sultanahmet, responded to this reviewResponded October 30, 2012

Dear SanMo Traveler,

I, and every single employee of this Hotel, may only be incredibly thankful to you, thankful more than for anything else for the genuine care that you have for the wellbeing of this place.

Thankful also for being yourself, for being real and being sincere every single time.

Yours respectfully,

Felix
a.k.a. "the Spaniard"
İ Olé !

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Reviewed October 21, 2012

It lived up to its reputation. An oasis of peace and luxury surrounded by the bustling streets of Istanbul, but superbly placed for the main tourist attractions. Our room looked out over the architectural site. The large conservatory in the middle of the gardens/courtyard, where you take breakfast and other meals, is particularly appealing.Great breakfast selection - too much really. The rooftop terrace where you can have evening drinks is a must. The fitness room is on the small side but as I was the only one using it, that didn't matter; the equipment is modern. The service was typical Four Seasons, very courteous but not over the top. I saw the other Four Seasons when we went on our Bosphorus boat trip and am sure we made the right choice! This is much better placed.

Room Tip: The rooms on the higher floors will presumably have better views over the City
  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank Anthony D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 19, 2012

It was a difficult decision as to whether to stay at the Four Seasons on the Bosphoros or the Four Seasons at Sultanamet but we deffinitely made the right choice. The hotel is perfectly placed for
visiting many of the most historic sites in this wonderful city, and the staff could not be more helpful and pleasant. Our room was spacious and the large bathroom had lots of lovely flat space for all
my things. What a pleasure. The breakfast and lunches we ate at the hotel were delicous and the guide the hotel engaged for us was charming and knowledgable. Thank you Four Seasons for
a memorable visit.

  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled with friends
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1  Thank Caroline v
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 17, 2012

We spent only two nights here at the end of a cruise from Venice but I wished we could have stayed longer. The hotel is perfectly situated and within easy walking distance to major sites (Blue Mosque, Hagia Sofia etc). All the staff were so friendly and helpful. Yup, the price is high and we may have found better value elsewhere - but in my book, worth it. One of the outstanding features of the hotel is how beautifully and tastefully decorated it is. I actually went up to the top floor and walked along all the corridors all the way down to the ground floor just to see the beautiful tile work and furnishings. Our room (a De-Luxe) was exquisite with every luxury one can think of. Given that the building was apparently a jail at some point in history, the renovation is astounding. If you go, be sure to visit the roof garden on the fourth floor which gives a great view over the Bosphorus.

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank Jean G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at Sultanahmet

Address: Teyfikhane Sok No 1 Sultanahmet, Istanbul 34122, Turkey
Phone Number:
Location: Turkey > Istanbul > Sultanahmet
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Business Hotel in Istanbul
#4 Family Hotel in Istanbul
#8 Romantic Hotel in Istanbul
#15 Luxury Hotel in Istanbul
Price Range: $293 - $525 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at Sultanahmet 5*
Number of rooms: 65
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Also Known As:
4 Seasons Hotel Istanbul At Sultanahmet
Four Seasons Istanbul
Istanbul Four Seasons
Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul

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