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Reviewed January 18, 2014

This beautiful small hotel was a former prison somewhere in Istanbul's past. The food, service, staff was excellent!! Most 4 season properties are much bigger and we liked the small cozy feel of this hotel. The location was perfect as it was 2-3 blocks from the Blue Mosque and Haga Sophia. Centrally located to all restaurants and other fun sites on the European side of Istanbul.
We stayed 5 nights in a beautiful room and did not want to leave. Note: we are Americans and while some US tourists will not venture to Istanbul, we can say it was safe and we were well treated by the staff!!

Room Tip: Pick a high floor
  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank Sandra C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 15, 2014

Each Four Seasons Hotel is unique, yet each has the hallmarks of perfectionism and elegance that is expected of the name.
From the moment one steps inside, to see the extravagant floral displays, one feels cocooned in immediate luxury.
We stayed through the Christmas holidays, and the hotel had magnificent decorations: gingerbread houses, and several trees ( although artificial)...there were cookies everywhere, and in the afternoons, Gluewein was served in the lobby.
The staff was all spit-and-polish...unfailingly polite and professional...There were young apprentices too, learning the job with eager participation, which made me happy to see that working in the hotel management business is still a respectable and admired profession!
Each room is differently furnished, and our beautiful suite overlooked the gardens...The yellow ochre buildings are surrounded by lovely plantings, and there is a sweet feeling in looking out from the windows, to the beautifully lit hotel with the Mosques in the background.
A most desired respite from long days visiting tourist sites...romantic, mysterious, and utterly elegant.

  • Stayed: December 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank mse1125
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 9, 2014

After staying at another hotel in Istanbul for a conference, it was a relief to end up at the Four Seasons for the remainder of my stay. The location was perfect and next to most every major tourist site. I was able to walk virtually everywhere. The staff was very helpful and accomodating. The rooms were beautiful. The concierage was excellent.

Moreover, since I was basically robbed every time i got into a taxi, I was particularly pleased to use the concierage to request taxi service. What a relief to get into a taxi and be directly driven to where I wanted to go and be charged the actual price on the meter.

My only complaint was that my room was on the first floor so the view was not particularly great. Moreover, the bar on the fourth floor, which I understand has a fantastic view of the old city, was closed for the season. This was disappointing because this was the main reason that I selected this hotel. They should consider putting heat lamps up there given the weather is not cold at all (at least when I went).

Overally, fantastic hotel - does not disappoint.

  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled on business
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4  Thank Sandra F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 6, 2014

My sister and I enjoyed our stay at the Four Seasons Hotel! The service was excellent from the first step on the property! It is a small hotel, and felt very comfortable! We were 2 blocks from the Aya Sophia and the Blue Mosques. We felt very safe and the staff took excellent care of two Americans who felt a little out of our element! The concierge worked hard to arrange whatever we needed! We did go to The Bosphorous Four Seasons for the spa. It was wonderful! I highly recommend the Turkish bath they offer! I would go back just for that experience!

  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled with family
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3  Thank Okie-Babs
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 29, 2013

Istanbul had long been a city I wanted to experience. We only had 5 days, so we decided to concentrate our first visit in the Sultanahmet area and visit the must see historical sites. The location of the Four Seasons Sultanahmet means all the sites are right at your doorstep. I never ever considered another hotel to stay at and really looked forward to staying at the hotel as much as seeing Istanbul.

My first encounter with the hotel was before we arrived when I inquired about hotel transfers. When staying at other Four Seasons hotels and resorts we often use this facility. It is usually a bit more, but is nice when you are landing in a new exciting place. However, I was sticker shocked by the price I was quoted. I am by no means cheap, but the hotel quoted us EUR 130. 00 + Vat (18%) one way. We chose to go by taxi instead and the cost was only 45 lira. I have never ever felt like I was being fleeced staying at a Four Seasons, but the price, in Euros, for the airport transfer left a bad taste in my mouth.

The vibrant yellow hotel sits on a cobbled street. When we arrived we were greeted by a lovely young lady and taken straight to our room by another employee who seemed either slightly new to his job or he was not confident of his English. Nonetheless, he was very helpful and friendly.

Our room was very nice and keeping with the character of the hotel - which used to be a city jail. Some have stated that the furnishings are somewhat dated, but I found the rooms to be full of character. Awaiting us was a beautiful and delicious selection of macaroons (see picture) and a bottle of sparkling wine. Be warned, Istanbul is not a city for people who watch what they eat. Desserts are to die for and are everywhere you go. The room services manager and team spoiled us every night with Turkish delight, fruit, baklava and more macaroons. Furthermore, the housekeeping staff was fantastic and we absolutely have no issues here.

On our first night we attended a regular wine and cheese evening. The buffet of cheeses and other bits was fantastic. However, the service was non-existent and our wine glasses were never refilled. This would not have niggled us until we noticed our glasses were the only ones never refilled. While our table was not exactly desirable - in the walkway from the buffet to the dining area - we certainly could not be missed. The wines were pointed out to us when first poured, but the sommelier never came over to give us expert advice or to see what we thought.

The next day we had breakfast which was included in our package (not worth the money if not included) I have to say the breakfast room is extremely small and you have to weave around the food stands. The selection of foods was nice, but I am usually content with a muffin and coffee which is what I had everyday. My husband ordered a crepe one morning and I could tell the chef had no idea what he was asking for. She proceeded to make American pancakes, which were nice, but not what we ordered. The next day, my husband tried again with another chef and was told 'no we don't make'. Very odd, the griddle being used was a traditional crepe plate and the batter is not hard to make. Even odder, you just don't hear the world 'no' at a Four Seasons and if you do, you can be damned sure the next day you will have what you desire. The staff at breakfast was a mix of capable, pleasant and blasé.

Another issue with breakfast was each morning we arrived we asked our name and room number. We found this odd as every other Four Seasons we have stayed at the staff nailed this information on day one. We always marvel at this fact as we have stayed in some of the larger properties around the world and yet the FS Sultanahmet has to be the smallest property with only 65 rooms. I know this shouldn't bother me, but when the hotel sent me several guest services asking if we had been addressed by name (and the FS prides themselves on this) I had to say once and only by the young lady who checked us in and out.

Furthermore, we found our overall dining at the hotel to be decent food (nothing to brag about). However, we found the staff to be the least engaging of any property we have ever stayed at. No recommendations were ever made and when one meal we ordered went untouched no one ever inquired why.

After our stay it realized I left a blouse and bed socks. I had to contact the hotel and they did have the items. I was quoted a ridiculous price for the return of the items via UPS (in Euros) so asked if they could be sent regular post for £15 (50 TRY). I received my items back and appreciate their return.

Overall, the hotel is nice, but when you stay at a Four Seasons you expect nice and a bit more. You expect an intuitive and proactive staff and during our entire stay sadly we never encountered them. I have received two e-mails from the mangers of the restaurant and the food and beverage department. While appreciated, this is the only Four Seasons we have really been disappointed with. Where I stay on vacation is very much part of my overall experience when travelling and I can honestly say unless you are exclusively visiting the historical sites as we did, stay elsewhere.

  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled as a couple
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31  Thank Tonya M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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