I stayed for a week recently by myself on my first trip to Istanbul. I was a little worried about what it might be like to travel as a woman alone so I purposely chose a smaller hotel. The Hanedan Hotel felt perfectly safe, although I was surprised to find it run by young people and not the multi-generational family I imagined.
The hotel is located just underneath the Aya Sofia (about two blocks down a very steep hill towards the water). It is just off of a main tourist street, filled with tourist-friendly restaurants and shops, travel agencies for day trips, small grocery shops, etc. An ATM is located about 1.5 blocks away, as is a post office. The cooking school is on this street as well. The Four Seasons is right there too. It feels safe in the immediate neighborhood, although definitely touristy (but interestingly, the tourists were a very international mix, running the gamut from backpackers to families to high-end denizens of the Four Seasons.) Some of the shopkeepers are quite aggressive (in a mostly friendly but very persistent way). But for a first-time tourist, the neighborhood around this hotel was pretty great.
The hotel itself has 3 floors of rooms, with a very steep and somewhat narrow staircase (thank goodness the desk clerk offered to take my luggage up to my 3rd floor room!). There are only a few rooms on each floor, and while I could hear the doors being opened and closed, this was definitely a quiet hotel guest-wise. The rooftop breakfast room/deck was amazing, with perfect views of the Bosphorus, the Marmara Sea, and over the shoulder, a lovely view of the Aya Sofia. To see the Blue Mosque (only about 4 blocks away) you have to crane your neck, but you can see all 6 minarets. My room was VERY clean, with marble tile in the bathroom and a refinished dark wood floor in the small entry hall and bedroom. Each room is named after a different historic period in Turkey, and while my room didn't have a good view (I saw into the building next door), the room was large enough for my queen size 4-poster bed, plus a desk and chair and plenty of room for yoga on the floor. Oddly, there were obviously supposed to be two traditional paintings on the wall, but one was missing. There was just the nail and some marks in the paint where it had been. It felt pretty discordant with the rest of my experience, but it also suggested a more casual and relaxed atmosphere (which fortunately did not extend to cleanliness, which was excellent!).
There is free wireless internet (with a server on each floor so there is plenty of bandwidth and it was never slow while I was there). There was no TV in the room, but that was fine with me since I hadn't come to watch TV. The AC worked quickly and well. The shower had plenty of water pressure (and plenty of hot water). The desk, as I mentioned before, was run by younger men who all seemed friendly, although not all of them spoke English all that well (they just ran across the street to a sister hotel if there was a language issue and things got worked out quickly). They were all very friendly and polite.
The breakfast was pretty good, BTW. There was fresh bread, thick Turkish yogurt, a selection of jams, honey, and butter, as well as olive spread and two different kinds of cheese and cold cuts. There were also hard-boiled eggs. There were fresh apricots every morning, and some mornings there were grapes or melon. The friendly young woman working there was quick to make tea or coffee to order. The view for breakfast was really amazing, and it added up to quite a pleasant experience.
Overall, I found the hotel to be quiet and relaxed. It was not really fancy, and besides the lobby and the rooftop deck, there weren't public spaces. It was great to have the internet access, and it was great that everything was clean. Nothing was really fancy (for example, I could see on the next rooftop deck over, there were hammocks that people could use, and several other rooftop decks on neighboring hotels had bars and restaurants), but it was a good solid place to stay. And probably the lack of flashy tourist draws made this hotel a lot quieter, so it really works for people looking for a basic decent place that is near to the action but is pretty quiet and safe inside. I'd certainly stay there next time I go to Istanbul.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Hanedan Hotel is located in Sultanahmet - the heart of historic Istanbul and the most convenient location for exploring all that the city has to offer . We are located on a quiet side street and have all of the amenities one may require including Private Bathroom, Air-con, Private Safe, Hairdryer, Direct dialphone, 24 hr Reception, free wireless, Laptop etc... ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Hanedan Hotel Istanbul
- Hanedan Istanbul