From the moment we booked, we knew we were on a winner. We emailed the hotel to find out about airport transfer to receive a quick reply at 10pm Turkish time from Lutfiye (the Front Office Manager) telling us that they'll pick us up for free because we've stayed for more than a few nights. What a pleasant surprise.
Upon arrival, we were given some welcome drinks and warmly greeted by staff who gave us a brief run-down of Istanbul. Although, short it was a wealth of knowledge that placed us well for our five-day stay. It was hard to pay attention though when you're overlooking the skyline of Istanbul from their pool area and terrace. It was far more than we bargained for.
We were then taken to our rooms to discover a very ornate room that was very functional. the hotel itself was an old Turkish building lived in by aristocrats, which had since been restored - very pretty even in the common areas. Although not all rooms are the same, our room had a shower and Turkish bath, a very ornate vanity and one of the most comfortable beds and pillows I've slept on what at a hotel anywhere in the world. The view from our room overlooked the water and Istanbul skyline, as well as some adjacent mosques. It was particularly pretty during sunset. The rooms are relatively large and has everything that you would want for a few days.
There is a restaurant, a pool deck and communal outdoor seating area to enjoy the view during selected hours. We hadn't eaten at the restaurant in the evening, however the breakfast was plentiful and consisted of coffees, juice, teas along with eggs, meats, breads cheese and fruit. It had a Middle Eastern and European influence to it. The pool is relatively small but give its location, it's not too bad and is very functional.
The pool was about ten meters long so it was more like a domestic pool than one you'd get in a hotel, however given the space that the owners have to work with they have done a great job. If you do choose to stay the HHK Hotel then being on the outdoor seating area around sunset is worth it as you watch the city transition into the evening.
A couple of minor things that could do with some improvement is that the fridge in the room is more a wine fridge than a refrigerator, meaning that the drinks are just cool but not cold. Not great if you come back at the end of a hot day in Istanbul to crave cold water. Also, the Wi-Fi worked well more of the time but during times of peak periods, it didn't cope and would often drop out.
On the matter of security, once inside the hotel grounds you are safe as there is one entrance and the door is always locked. There are also security cameras around the perimeter. I could understand how people feel unsafe in the surrounding area as it does look a bit derelict but that is the Old City of Istanbul. My initial thoughts were "where the heck have come?" but we didn't have any problems throughout the course of our stay and even found the local kids practicing their English when we walked past.
After a good stay at HHK, we did have one event that left us with a slightly sour taste. We asked for assistance in a transfer to the airport. We were given one price and later that evening, the cost seemed to have an extra 10 Euros on top. After discussing it with the person on the front desk, we were told that it was the price and if we didn't like it we should book our own. This was not typical of the rest of our stay, so we were left a little disappointed.
All in all though, I would recommend this place to anyone visiting Istanbul and I would certainly stay there again on my next visit.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- HHK Hotel Hayriye Hanim Konagi was built in 1850 and it is an original Ottoman mansion house. ... more less
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