June 5 - 7th, 2014
TomTom Suites is a small boutique luxury hotel. The hotel's finishes, accommodations, and service exceeded my expectations for this class of hotel.
Prior to arrival, I had emailed the hotel to arrange an airport transfer and a private half-day tour. Both were arranged, after only a couple of emails. Upon exiting customs, it took me a while to find the transfer agent. The airport is relatively small for such a large a city which translated into a very chaotic welcome to Istanbul. Even if you're not staying at TomTom, I would highly recommend arranging a transfer. After navigating through congestion and many very narrow streets, we made it to TomTom...well almost. TomTom is located across a narrow street from the Italian embassy which houses a school. We arrived right as exiting school buses caused a gridlock and we walked the remaining two blocks with our luggage. This was certainly no one's fault, and the driver offered to carry our luggage for us.
The check-in took a while as other guests were checking-in and asking questions. Recall this is a small hotel. We were not inconvenienced at all, as comfortable seating was available in the lobby. The front desk attendant was very personable but professional and spent about ten minutes familiarizing us with the hotel and surrounding area.
The room was very spacious with a separating seating area. The furniture and fixtures were contemporary and more than adequate for our needs. There were closets for storage, but not large enough to stow our luggage (we never travel with more than carry-ons). The bathrooms was spacious with a separate rain shower and deep soaking tub. While the tub was large, the shower had room for one. There was only one sink, and I found the sink area to a bit cramped for two people. The minibar was more than adequately stocked, and the free water was a very welcome. The coffee bar/ machine was the best I have ever experienced in this class of hotel.
The roof-top restaurant had beautiful views, and service was sufficiently attentive. We only ate at the morning buffet (they also take orders table side) which was more than adequate for our needs. We did not have dinner at the restaurant.
The TomTom is not located in a tourist area, but we found mass transit to the main tourist areas convenient (just a tip, there is a funicular that will take you to the bottom of the hill). While the location was fine for us, it is a little rough around the edges, we did not feel unsafe however I would avoid the walk to/ from the main shopping street at night. We walked down (it's a steep hill) the walkway at night and there were many empty buildings with loiterers.
As I said, the hotel arranged a private tour guide. The guide was very knowledgeable, and escorted us around the grounds of the Blue Masque (the Masque was closed for prayers), the Hagia Sophia, Grand Bazaar, and Spice Market. However, we did not appreciate the side trip to turkish rug shop where we were pressured to buy a handmade turkish rug (one starting at $38,000). After three very firm 'no thank you's', we continued our tour. We had similar experiences (albeit less emphatic) at the Grand Bazaar and Spice Market. In retrospect, we should have been more firm with want we wanted/ didn't want, but we didn't appreciate being put in this position. While I don't blame TomTom, if you book a tour through the hotel you should be very clear what you want and don't want.
Without a doubt I would stay at the TomTom again. The room was luxurious and spacious with a very accommodating staff, exceeding our expectations. While not located in the main tourist district, there were more truly authentic ethnic restaurants and shopping. I would recommend this hotel to singles and couples that want to escape the crowds of larger hotels and who want to experience the neighborhoods of Istanbul.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Tomtom Suites, The Old Franciscan House is an authentic Istanbul building whose posture reflects the social history of Pera from 1850’s to recent. Throughout its history, this building was home for French nuns and some well-known Levantine families. Now it is ready to host its new guests with its "unique" service policy and a new design, pairing modern comfort with historical background. Tomtom Suites, The Old Franciscan House has 20 suites, a terrace offering a panoramic view of old town and a nostalgic outlook. It tells the story of an over 100 years old building with a stylish language, but without loosing the essence of the story. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Tomtom Hotel Istanbul