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All reviews the penthouse garden suite call to prayer narrow spiral staircase topkapi palace blue mosque charming hotel four seasons turkey old city roof terrace flights of stairs turkish style main building perfect location major sites double room
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Reviewed January 17, 2020 via mobile

A trip to Istanbul was not going to be ordinary, by any standard, but Hotel Empress Zoe added so much to the totality of my trip. Firstly, its location just steps from the Aya Sofya (Hagia Sophia), the Blue Mosque, and the many interrelated museums is terrific. Not only did it give us the flexibility to come and go to these sites whenever we wanted, but it also allowed for evening strolls when most of the other tourists were gone and when the buildings were beautifully lit up. The prime location can’t be understated when visiting very popular tourist destinations.

Beyond that, this hotel itself gives you a unique experience. We stayed for 8 nights in 2 different rooms because we wanted the Penthouse suite but it had already been booked for the first few nights of our stay. So first we were in the Garden Suite. The suites are spacious and comfortable with excellent beds, pillows and bedding. On top of its functional excellence, each room is uniquely designed with many Turkish/Ottoman/Byzantine touches so there’s no sense at all that you’re in a generic hotel that could be in any city of the world. Calling it a “boutique hotel” hardly encapsulates its charm. The entire hotel is oozing with culture and history.

If you’re able, the Penthouse Suite is very roomy with a queen bed in the bedroom and 2 day-beds/divans in the living room.
Overall , the hotel is overflowing with hospitality and efficiency. The staff are highly attentive to your every question or request, and because Istanbul can be complicated and unfamiliar, every single day we had questions or requests of some sort. For example, due to the length of our stay and because we’d arrived traveling in other cities, we had laundry to deal with. Twice the staff sent out our laundry to a local woman, and it came back the same day in wonderful condition (and at a very reasonable price). They also have excellent insights on reliable tour companies, including for the Bosphorus cruise, and restaurants. All of their recommendations turned out to be very good, although I would add 2 more—eating at Cooking Alaturka and Sunday High Tea (from 3-6 pm) in the next-door Four Seasons.

Lastly, breakfast is excellent and a great opportunity to meet some of the hardworking staff while enjoying a diverse meal. The coffee is excellent and free flowing, and for an additional 1 USD, they will brew you up a cup of their mighty Turkish coffee. The food spread is very good with cereals, breads, fruits, juices, eggs, and basically an assortment of Turkish meze items including hummus, olives, cheeses, and some local dishes. Included every morning are some delicious pastry and cake items, baked personally by Bulent, one of the amazing members of the hotel team. Some mornings there was baked mushroom and cheese filo wraps, some days it was eggplant. All delicious. I loved his cakes, similar to a fruit bread but very moist.

Also, not many hotel guests took advantage of this, but every night before sleeping, we sat by their fireplace and enjoyed a glass of Turkish wine (a bargain at about 6 USD per glass). It was such a cosy and relaxing way to end each of our 8 days.

Bulent, Fatma, Naji, Yusuf and other members of the hotel team worked tirelessly to take care of their guests and they really treated us as if we were visiting their home. It sure adds a lot of value to the hotel experience when the staff makes you feel at home. I look forward to the next visit and, in the meantime, encourage others to choose Hotel Empress Zoe.

Date of stay: December 2019
Trip type: Traveled as a couple
Thank apph64
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 1, 2019 via mobile

After staying at a few hotels in Istanbul it was refreshing to stay in hotel empress Zoe. The location was ideal to walk around the harbour in the early hours to watch the sunrise or enjoy the upper terrace to enjoy the gorgeous views. Lots of small cafes and bars all within walking distance, and we frequently visited them. Rooms were comfortable and bathroom clean the only concern was our room was a little cramped around the bed .
Breakfast was included and served in beautiful gardens which was lovely.All the staff were welcoming, kind and helpful.

Date of stay: October 2019
Trip type: Traveled with family
Thank Kirsty C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 28, 2019 via mobile

This is a lovely small hotel, in a wonderful location, run by helpful people. The room we had was quite small, but more than adequate; quiet, too. Access is quite tight, up a narrow spiral staircase, but they are quick to offer to carry your luggage. And the breakfast is good, too.

Date of stay: October 2019
Trip type: Traveled as a couple
Thank John S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 20, 2019 via mobile

We stayed for 4 nights in the “Penthouse” room and enjoyed every moment. What an amazing location in the heart of the old city, views from the rooftop terrace of the Blue Mosque, the Hagia Sophia as well as the always busy waterways.

The old townhouse buildings have been refurbished beautifully to feel like old Turkish homes, yet they benefit from double glazing, WiFi and all modern conveniences. The Penthouse is certainly extra special with its big lounge area, private roof terrace, expansive views, but we believe the wonderful marble “mini-hammam” shower is provided in many rooms.

We loved the breakfast spread, but maybe even more eating it in the romantic courtyard garden. The hotel staff were fantastic, so helpful with advice, especially on where to eat. Take their recommendations to discover the fantastic local restaurants hidden behind the typical tourist traps.

We hope to return to the Zoe soon!!!

Date of stay: October 2019
Trip type: Traveled as a couple
1  Thank marksP4951DR
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 18, 2019

You couldn't get a better location for seeing the sites of Istanbul as it is only 5 minutes walk away from the blue mosque and the Topaki palace. There are also a good variety of restaurants right outside the door and other places such as the grand bazar were a bit further away, but still within walking distance.
The hotel itself is lovely and the staff couldn't be more helpful. The breakfast was great with a good variety and we enjoyed sitting out in the courtyard to eat.
Great views from the roof terrace and our room was very clean and comfortable. We opted for the large double room, which really would suit a family quite comfortably.
I would definitely recommend to anyone visiting the city

Date of stay: October 2019
1  Thank BeckyTP
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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