Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at Sultanahmet
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Alex: I am having a great time in Turkey. As you know, I am in Istanbul. We had a tour guide today. He showed us to a 5-star hotel named the Four Seasons. If you want to know what a 5-star is, some people rate the hotels with stars 1-5. It was really beautiful, but it used to be a prison. I couldn't believe it but I knew the tour guide was right. …
Hello! (I'm not even going to try and write 'Hello' in Turkish!) We are in Istanbul, where West meets East. A good friend of Jeff's said that if you want to experience the Islamic world you should start in Istanbul and take baby steps into it. Our introduction came in the form of the beautiful and haunting evening Islamic call to prayer emanating …
Great tour of Istanbul today just to get to church. We took a bus to Taksim square, across the Galata bridge and up a large hill. A man on the bus talked to us about his job at the Four Seasons Hotel, where such famous stars as Demi Moore, Cameron Diaz and Charlize Theron have stayed. He also met Bill Gates when he was there. He pointed out where …
So, I think this has to be my favourite part of the trip, maybe.
We've just all gotten along so well, and we've done so much, covered over 6000 miles and been through some seriously great times, and some tortuously bad times.
It's my second time in Istanbul, and I love it just as much, if not more. We've feasted like goddesses, …
Number 7 (22nd September 2003 - 16th October 2003) My goodness, are we still in Turkey? There's only so much belly dancing and baklava we can indulge in so departure must be imminent. Difficult how to describe Istanbul; we meant to stay for a 'couple of nights' but 2 weeks later departed, burns, colds, baths and all. Everything off and on to a hot …
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Historical Traveler Reviews Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at Sultanahmet
Four Seasons has really done it right (as usual). My father and I stayed at the hotel for one night on a tour through the Balkans. The rooms were amazing, and the location is perfect. The next morning when we awoke we heard the call to prayer, looked outside the window and saw the Hagia Sophia. Tarkan is an incredible help and will not hesitate to assist in any way possible.
My wife and I had our honeymoon just this past month. We spent 5 days in Rome and then did an 11 night Mediterranean cruise, which included an overnight in Istanbul. We decided to stay in the city rather then shlep to and from the ship both days, since there is much to see in this city, and we had very little time to waste.
While both of us were weary about spending so much money when we basically had free room and board, in hindsight we could not have made a wiser choice.
First off, the location is spectacular. Lying just down the street that separates the Hagia Sophia from the Blue Mosque, it is a itinerists paradise. All of the Old City's major sites are down the street or around the corner, which is especially helpful if you need to make any important pit stops (use your imagination) in between visits. So, you cant beat this place for location.
Secondly, this is a Four Seasons, which means the service is going to be extraordinary. And it was. I must have told them we were on our honeymoon, though I forgot, and was suprised to find a bottle of local sparkling wine (which was wonderful) and fresh strawberries with cream and powdered sugar, along with a very cordial note welcoming us and congratulating our marriage. That was a nice suprise but did not compare to what they did after.
When we returned from dinner that night we came back to the room to find our bed turned down, and completely covered with beautiful rose pedals..they had also made the bath tub for us and put more pedals on the water, and lit scented candles illuminated the bathroom (which without all the garnish was still very impressive) creating an overall extremely romantic experience. We will never forget this. My wife almost had tears in her eyes.
So I HIGHLY recommend this hotel. The staff is proffesional and polite and the hotel itself is very pretty and has quite an unusual history. Ask a porter to point out original graffiti on the columns left from prisoners who had stayed there before, when it was a prison of course, not a Four Seasons.
Just a little note for this great hotel " Everything is extremely perfect"
Do you have a problems?? Not probleme.Not speak english(or very bad).
1.- The staff speak very singular english.imposible speak my problems.
2.- Room service is terrible.the same problem.No speak english
3.- You have a problem?? Not solutions
4.- Little rooms(luxury rooms)595 U$ for nigt.
5.- The fisrt day listen: Check out 2.30.p.m.2 days more say NOT.You check out 12.00 a.m.After discussion in very bad english change may check out for 2.3 a.m.
6.- The restaurant in very dark and the cuisine in normaly:The price of wines very expensive.the service is normaly.
The next time go to Ciragan Palace or other.Is my fisrt time with Four Seasons and the last!!!!
All Along The Watchtowers!
Chic and central, this very obviously converted prison is unlikely to serve as the setting for Midnight Express - The Sequel! Rather, Four Seasons has renovated an institution that probably won few human rights awards and transformed it into a colourful, luxurious hotel. I did not stay here but sneaked off for a Vodka and Tonic, during a tour whilst my fellow tourists were being beleagured by the salespeople in the rather drab, but expensive, leather shop around the corner. This hotel is best for location, which despite the roads being very much up for repair, was easily the most central out of its other 2 key rivals, Ritz Carlton and Ciragan Palace. Loved the Courtyard and general ambience. The hotel lacks the grandeur of Ciragan and Ritz however. It faces directly onto the street and is not nearly as spacious as the other 2 hotels. Four Seasons is however, modern, fun and ironic in this changing world of ours. It would appeal to the well heeled younger traveller.
I gave it 4* as the Barman kept me waiting a long time for my drink ( I was avoiding high pressure Turkish Leather Men - I needed a drink!) Indeed, our man with the voddie (Absolut everywhere, no Stollie) even broke off essential bar duties at one point so that he could unhurriedly make conversation with other staff. Unbelievable! Similarly the 5YTL tip for the 20YTL vodka and tonic was swept up with the utmost nonchalance. My wife and I stayed at the Ritz Carlton and such casual service would be unthinkable there.
In short, whilst I did not actually stay , I was naturally curious to see the Tripadvisor #1 hotel. I don't think in trerms of service and space it is quite worth the money. Number 3 maybe, after Ritz Carlton's easy first place and Ciragan's second but not the tops. In short, grandeur prices with off hand service at boutique level.
Indeed the Best!
We spent eight nights at the Four Seasons, March 20-27, 2005. We agree completely with the review posted by the couple from Vermont (Feb '05) -- it's an extraordinary hotel in an exceptional location for viewing the major sights of Istanbul. Without repeating their comments, we'd add the following---
The service really is extraordinary. Most of the staff have been with the hotel since it opened in '96, they seem to enjoy their work a great deal,
and they work together seamleslessly. They are also genuinely nice people who go out of their way to make your stay memorable.
The hotel is not the typical "grand European" style with mammoth chandeliers and acres of brocade and damask. It's more of a "neoclassical" style, very low-key and elegant, with original artwork, classy furniture, great beds, high-quality linens, and immense closets. Lots of nice touches like robes, slippers, wonderful toiletries, beautiful bathrooms and good reading lights. Even the smallest rooms are very good-sized. Ours, #426, (a corner) was huge-- with a sofa, chair, writing desk and chair.
The food is very good, and the glass-enclosed restaurant in the courtyard is surrounded by lovely gardens. The Sunday brunches are just spectacular; we had the "regular" one, and then the Easter brunch a week later. The Food and Beverage Director brought some of the "specialties" to our table to try, and the Chef (Italian, and ran some of the best restaurants in Chicago) milled around and explained the preparation of some of the dishes.
The location is very quiet at night, but we consider that a big plus over all the noise and congestion in the areas north of the Galata Bridge. Friends of ours stayed at the Ciragan Palace, and while they liked the hotel, found the location very inconvenient. From the Four Seasons, you can walk to 75% of the major sights.
Lastly, the concierge staff is VERY knowledgeable and helpful... their recommendations are worth taking. They endorsed our thought of going to the Korfez restaurant for lunch (on the Bosphorous-- they send their boat to meet you) -- it was a memorable experience. They also purchased our plane tickets to Cappadocia-- half the price of buying them in the US, AND you can change them with no penalty when purchased in Turkey.
The hotel was rated #1 in Europe by Conde Nast in 2003, I think, and they deserve the accolades. We will also be back.
My wife and I just returned from eight nights at the Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul and would rate it among the very best experiences we have had in thirty years of travels. The hotel is exquisite and small (about 65 rooms), even by boutique hotel standards. The staff was extremely helpful and considerate without being invasive. For example, the person in charge of night turn-down service came by at about 7pm to see when it would be convenient to replace towels, empty waste baskets, close drapes, etc. and then return when we were out.
Travelling to Istanbul in January, when the weather can be in the 50s and overcast, you will find the city and hotel largely devoid of tourists. Our hotel rate of $210US reflected that fact. So if you don't mind the weather, it is a great time to see one of the most interesting cities in the world. The hotel is a short walk from the Topkapi palace, Haghia Sophia,
and the Blue Mosque, among other sites. The Grand Bazaar and Spice Bazaar are a ten minute walk. We took cabs to the the main shopping district of Taksim and the Dolmabahce palace, which are a short drive away.
The hotel has an excellent restaurant. Travelling with our nineteen year-old daughter we opted for one meal in the dining room and a couple of others served in adjoining lounges, which were informal. While most of the better restaurants are a taxi ride away, we found decent restaurants within walking distance of the hotel, the most interesting being Balikci Sabahatin (a fish restaurant).
I would go back in a minute.
Best Location in Istanbul
We just got back from staying at the Istanbul 4 Seasons for 7 nights and it was amazing. It's a beautiful building and quite small for a big name hotel. It's on a quiet side street in the old city, inbetween the Blue Mosque and the Aya Sophia. The Topkapi Palace is just around the corner, as is the Basilica Cistern. The Grand Bazaar and the Spice Market were only about a 15 minute walk.
My boyfriend and I have both been to Istanbul before and the location of this hotel cannot be beat. We could see the Aya Sophia from our room window, and from the rooftop deck you can see both the Aya Sophia and the Blue Mosque. Especially stunning is hearing the call to prayer at 5 am (we left our windows open so that we could hear, otherwise I think it would be soundproof), and hearing the evening call to prayer from both mosques while having a drink on the roof.
The service is great, as you would expect. Our room was beautiful and big, with very high ceilings. They look exactly like they do on the website. The hotel seemed to be swimming in employees, which seemed overwhelming for the size of the place.
We had dinner at Seasons as well one night after being too tired to venture out. It was very good and we thought a good value in relation to other meals we had at local restaurants. (The day of bargains in Istanbul is over). We also had a couple breakfasts at the Seasons restaurant, which we thought pricey - like $27 per person for an American or Turkish breakfast (this was the price of the Sunday buffet about 4 years ago). One morning, however, we ordered room service to the rooftop deck and the sunrise view was well worth it.
The only thing we had a complaint about was that they had one computer and they charged 25 cents a minute to use it. We brought a blackberry, but it did not work, so consequently we ended up spending a fortune on computer fees. In their defense, our room had wireless internet hookup but we neglected to bring our computer. So, if you go and want internet access, bring your computer! Also, we did not use the gym, but it was very small and non-distinct.
Best Possible Experience
The best experience possible. Istanbul is so much more than we expected.
The hotel (which is built in the real prison from the infamous "Midnight Express" movie storyline) is stunning -- in the best location -- with perfect service.
Check out the hotel website and look at the pictures. It really does look like that.
Excellent service... exceeds Four Seasons standards
Excellent hotel. All that you would expect from a Four Seasons.
Few things to note:
1) in an extremely quiet neigborhood.... not much happening after sunset
2) right next to the mosque.... convenient but also subject to loudspeaker prayer calls throughout the day
3) no river view... if you're into that sort of thing