Pros: My wife and I spent five nights at the Amira and the top four reasons to stay there are the (a) hotel's exceptional staff (!!!, you'll see), (b) proximity to where we wanted to be, (c) cleanliness of the facilities, and (d) overall comfort of our experience. I just can't praise the staff enough! They're more helpful, friendly, and accommodating than most of the "luxury" hotels I've stayed at. Thank you Aziz, AJ, Tina, Baruk, Arthur, and everyone else who made this vacation so special. After leaving my Mastercard at a restaurant, Baruk quickly had a friend of his recover and deliver it to the hotel. The hotel's an even shorter walk to the main attractions than they advertise (four fun minutes to the Blue Mosque).
Cons: My mild complaints would be that the rooms are quite small (though comfortable) and voices passes through the walls like they're rice paper. When we first arrived, they told us they'd automatically upgraded us to a "Deluxe" room, which was small and on ground level, where passersby could peer into the bedroom if the curtains weren't drawn. We requested a room on a higher floor for less street noise and greater privacy. We were transferred to a standard room on the 4th floor, which was slightly smaller than the deluxe, but then we noticed the hotel's greatest detractor: noisiness. The hotel should reinvest some of its well-deserved profit into remedying this.
Through the staff's outstanding recommendations, I/we discovered the following amazing restaurants/barber:
- Matbah Restaurant (it's pretty close to a "perfect ten" in cuisine and atmosphere);
- Rami Restaurant (a 9.5, just exceptional);
- Khorasani Restaurant (an 8.5 in food, though a little touristy);
- Albura Kathisma Restaurant (an 8.5 in food, trendy atmosphere, cool ancient ruins below); and
- An amazing straight razor shave at the Sezer Kuafor (Arif the barber is pro, but no English) on the way to the Blue Mosque.
WARNING: Probably because they never got honest feedback on it, the Amira recommended the Suleymaniye Hamam because it's the only "coed" hamam in Istanbul. Avoid it if you dislike tourist meat grinders. Unfriendly staff, ridiculous tourist trap, expensive, and my wife felt like she got beat up at a karate tournament.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Hotel Amira Istanbul is a boutique hotel located at the heart of the centuries old empires' capital. Some remarkable neighbors of the Hotel Amira Istanbul are the great Hagia Sophia, the magnificent Blue Mosque, the mystic Basilica Cistern, the imperial Topkapi Palace and the colorful Grand Bazaar. Amira Hotel offers you spaciously designed 32 rooms in Sultanahmet area, featuring very comfortable visco mattresses, local touches like ottoman style hand-made ceiling paintings and high-tech amenities such as mobile wireless internet modem that you can use also outside the property while discovering Istanbul . Along with its world famous cordial guest services, Amira Hotel offers a rich , complimentary buffet breakfast and a tasty 5 O'clock tea treats, free Wi-Fi access, a business corner with featuring an iMac, in house ATM machine, a wellness center that includes a gym, jacuzzi, sauna and massage services. Also our concierge would be more than happy to assist you in every aspect of your stay, whether business or pleasure. ... more less
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