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“Mixed beauty”

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Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at Sultanahmet
Ranked #15 of 1,159 Hotels in Istanbul
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 3 June 2008

This hotel was how we spent the last 2 days of our honeymoon in Turkey. While I am writing this review a little too late considering it's been almost 2 years I went thought I would put my words down,

Firstly, Make no mistake this is a brilliant hotel in an even better location so good that I ended up walking upto the blue mosque and the hagia sophia 2-3 times a day whenever we were at the hotel. And ofcourse it is surrounded by the magical part of Istanbul.

The hotel also upgraded us from the Four Seasons room to a higher class which we greatly appreciated but once we got into the rooms it was not something one hasnt seen in much cheaper hotels, While I agree the hotel must have certain limitations in terms of Architecture being an old building it still does not have the passion that one finds in few other boutique hotles (Devi Garh India) comes to mind. Everything about the place feels a little very professional which is not a bad thing but I believe a hotel of this kind could do with a little more ... But maybe the target audience prefer this way of life?

I also had a problem with the dining as there was only one restaurant and my Wife being a Vegetarian had little to choose from and ended up eating only salads thanks to a great manager at the restaurant.

Like I said, This hotel is brilliant, The location is Excellent, The staff is one of the best you can find... but it just remains a hotel not a memory one takes back home!

  • Stayed: June 2006, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank WildGoomba
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 7 May 2008

My wife, 10 year old son and I enjoyed what we collectively agreed was our best hotel stay, ever, at the Four Seasons Istanbul at Sultanahmet in early April, 2008. I think others have fully described the facilities of the hotel, so I’ll be brief there – I’d rather focus on the outstanding service.

We had a one bedroom suite. The living room, bedroom and bathroom were amply sized. Because we were at the end of one of the wings of the hotel, we had view in three directions (to the south, out of the hotel, and in 2 separate directions in the interior courtyard). The lighting in all of the rooms was excellent. The linens were first rate. There were 3 separate seating areas that were conducive to comfortable and well lit reading.

The location – in the shadows of Hagia Sophia – is ideal for touring historic Istanbul. Nothing in the old city compares to it.

Enough on the place – it measured up in every way to the Four Seasons standard. What set the Four Seasons Istanbul at Sultanahmet apart was the service. Here are some examples:

1. We arrived in the room. On my son’s bed was a soccer jersey, from one of the local teams, with his name printed on the back and his age (10) as the number. The manager had a welcome letter for my wife and I (to be expected) and one specifically for my son (wow!). Within 10 minutes after our arrival, another t-shirt, with the hotel name on it, arrived for our son.

2. Within about 30 minutes after we checked in, and then for the rest of our stay, we were addressed by name throughout the hotel. The concierges, the front desk, the bell staff, the doormen and even the housekeeping attendant, all referred to us by name almost every time they saw us.

3. I asked for the local English language paper, the Turkish Daily News, at check in (they only offered 2 options – one Turkish, one English). Later that day, I noticed the concierge stocked the International Herald Tribune. I asked for a copy. The concierge asked if I’d like one in the morning. I said yes. From then on, I got 2 papers in the morning – the IHT and the TDN.

4. Across all 8 nights, every touch in our room was done flawlessly. No missing towels or toiletries. Our water was re-stocked every day, our ice buckets filled at least twice a day. Our fruit bowl re-filled. Bookmarks were laid next to each magazine and book. Turndown was at the proper time – never too early, never too late.

There were many more little incidents that I could mention, but won’t, in the interest of space.

Every staff member we met was friendly, interested in helping us, and attentive. We struck up a lively running conversation with the door staff as we reported on each evening’s dinner, even causing us to linger for 10 minutes or more upon return to the hotel just to relate our evening’s experiences.

This hotel is not inexpensive. But it is worth every penny it charges. Stay here, and stay here often. This is a “10” out of 5, using the Tripadvisor scale.

  • Stayed: April 2008, travelled with family
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5  Thank OrrvilleRedRider
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 May 2008

Beautiful hotel in the heart of old Istanbul. The old prison, and yes there's no question we'd love to be imprisoned there. So close to the Blue Mosque and Agia Sophia etc. Best tip - wander out at night when the crowds have gone to view the buildings from outside in the twilight/dark - the majesty blew me away much more than during the bustling daytime.
The roads are cobbled so wear high heels with caution, but it's still possible.
We stayed in a 4 seasons room (120) which was a lovely haven - faces the outside garden, not the courtyard. The construction of the extension woke us up every morning, not ideal but didn't start til approx 9am so actually it gets you up in time for brakfast which is a very adequate buffet most days.
Bathroom very good, Occitane products. Fresh fruit and water daily. Red wine in the minibar was badly corked, they replaced it, didn't charge us for it and sent us a cheese plate. Housekeeping and room service excellent, as expected at these prices. I happened to be in the room, a staff member came in to change the ice, asked me how I was - said slight cough so he brought me apple tea and an extra box of tissues.
Restaurant was standard western client stuff - for me a bit dull tasting, no adventure and fairly highly priced, however reliable and it is peaceful which is something that one comes to appreciate in this bustling place. Bar is fine, good staff.
Only complaint really would be the concierge desk. Sent 2 emails regarding arranging an airport transfer - no reply (even though the booking confirmation asked if we wanted transfer info sending) but in fact all you need to do is jump in a taxi at the airport, cost approx 30 lira. Even worse they recommended a restaurant specifically with a Bosphorus View, took one hour to drive there in a taxi (traffic is heavy but part of the scene) and when we arrived there was no reservation. We were given a terrible table where the waiters bumped into my husband, and we couldn't even see the Bosphorus! The food was minimal but worse, supposedly fresh sea bass which wasn't at all fresh. Always suspicious when you place an order and it arrives within minutes, as it's obviously been cooked and lined up for unsuspecting tourists. £100 bill for poor food and experience - avoid the Park Fora - you have been warned. Unfortunately we did tell the concierge but they didn't take it seriously, and I suspect they'll recommend this restaurant to you. The Sabbatin fish restaurant 5 minutes walk from the hotel (in the guides) serves much better fresh fish, it's slightly frenetic ,but honest and the red mullet was memorable. Best restaurants seen to be outside Sultanamet. Develi do good kebabs (and I'm usually not a big fan) and they also have non-smoking which is a touch unusual here!
My second tip is if you're a wine drinker, drink local wine, better wines are absolutely fine and compliment the food, as foreign wine has hefty taxes attached.
Gym in the hotel was actually very enjoyable for us so we went daily - good equipment - 3 lifefitness treadmills and a cross trainer, plus bike machines, weights etc with TV screens. Small but not many people go there. Friendly gym staff. Shame no pool but I think hamams are the thing in Istanbul not swimming. Saunas in the changing rooms.
Overall a special hotel, as you would anticipate. Concierge advice slightly lacking.

  • Stayed: April 2008, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank Olive66
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 April 2008

I've come to expect Four Season's Hotels to be flawless and this one is no exception. The concierge found us a helicopter with 30 minutes notice. The bartender always remembered what we drank and even opened the bar at 3am for us. :)

There are only 63 rooms/suites in this hotel and it seemed there was a staff member for every room. We stayed in 326. This room has view of the Sea.

We sent laundry in at noon and it was back at 7pm. They even returned the money they found in my pockets. Every request we made was met with a smile.

What wasn't expected was the location. You can walk to all the major attractions in Sultanahmet from here, including Haghia Sofia, The Blue Mosque, The Basilic Cistern and even the Grand Bazaar. You could not find a more convenient location. Yet it is tucked away just enough to be off the well beaten tourist path.

If you are going to Istanbul this is the place to stay.

The hotel has wireless and wired high speed internet. AT&T roams for both data and voice. Reception was very good.

  • Stayed: April 2008, travelled with friends
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4  Thank rcullet
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 April 2008

You cannot fault the hotel, it is fabulous, especially the staff who did everything they could to help us enjoy our visit. Our room was lovely with a great view, the food in the restaurant beautifully prepared and served.
Like any big city, the sharks are there waiting outside, but the real locals are welcoming and friendly. We hired our own boat for a trip around the harbour, much better than the tourist boats. Eat in the fish market, very cheap and enjoyable. Where possible take a ferry around the harbour, it is very cheap and great fun.

Stayed: March 2008
1  Thank simonww
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 March 2008

Stayed at this hotel for a special anniversay & the hotel could not do enough for us. They upgraded our room, we had a happy anniversay cake waiting for us in our room on arrival & even a special anniversay desert after our dinner there on the first evening. The hotel is in an excellent location for the old town, absolutely everything is within walking distance. All the staff were very helpful, including things like recommending restaurants & advising on directions everytime we left the hotel. It is very pricey to eat & drink there but this is to be expected at a hotel of this status. Istanbul is a facinating place that I have always wanted to visit & staying at the Four Seasons was the icing on the cake.

  • Stayed: February 2008, travelled as a couple
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Thank Mctaffish
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 March 2008

First off, the Four Seasons in Istanbul is mere steps away from most of the attractions you're going to want to see right away (to be precise, the Blue Mosque is a 5 minute brisk walk... 10 minutes if you're slower... specifically: out the front door, make a right, up about 100 paces, another right, 25 paces... Blue Mosque is behind you on the left, Hagria Sofia is right in front of you, the Topkapi Palace is straight ahead). Keep this in mind when weighing where to stay and what to pay. B.T.W., if Four Seasons is way out of your price budget, there is a road full of pleasant looking backpacker hotels & hostels about two streets away from Four Seasons... but I digress...

Fourth Floor balconies aren't as bad as I was what I was expecting after reading other reviews here. Yes, they don't have much of a view (my view was of a construction crane doing work on a building being assembled behind the hotel), but from another angle our room had a nice view of Hagria Sofia and you can comfort yourself in the fact that the other floors don't have balconies (or windows that can be opened, presumably).

The bedroom has a desk with three outlets level with it (and a converter is included, possibly found in the desk). The bathroom has a 120 V American style outlet in addition to European style outlets, by the way. Turndown service usually happens right after 7 p.m., where an attendant will put away an ornamental blanket into the closet (we ended up putting this blanket back on the bed each night). The housekeeper also brings in a bowl of fresh fruit (oranges, kiwi fruit, apples or pears) sometime during the day, taking out any fruit you didn't eat. The widescreen TV is really nice but I didn't notice anything very High Definition about the regular TV channels. Maybe the HD kicks in with DVD movies, and there's a nice selection of DVD movies you can borrow from the concierge downstairs to watch.

The bathroom is larger than a typical hotel room at a European airport (i.e. nicely sized). In our fourth floor room (and presumably in all rooms), there's a deep bathtub and separate shower stall. L'Occtaine products are the amenities here, and since I consider them somewhat luxe, many of them ended up in my bag to take home as souviners (housekeeping eventually realized I was hoarding them and provided even more extras for me to take home). The W.C. is in a separate room off the bathroom, very nice for a double layer of privacy away from the main bathroom.

Don't worry about staying hydrated. There are water bottles replenished every night in your room (as well as an ice bucket, which gets magically refilled at least twice a day). Water bottles can also be found in the gym (in the basement); the gym itself is nicely appointed. 2-3 treadmills, 2 exercise bikes, a cross training machine, a free weight set.

I hooked up to the net a couple times during my stay. It's European style pricing (i.e. meant for people with easy business expense accounts): $28 USD per 24 hours for internet access (slightly less if you buy multiple days at a time).

We did dinner in the restaurant, which is located in a glass enclosed gazebo in the hotel's courtyard. We also did a dinner in the bar/lounge area, where they serve "mini" (i.e. smaller) versions of some of the plates you might find in the restaurant. My wife was craving the Köfte dinner I had in the restaurant (~65 YTL for a "Turkish tasting" menu), so she got the smaller version of the Köfte dinner in the lounge (17 YTL). On another night we got a recommendation to a local fish restaurant 3 - 4 streets away, the Balikci Sabahattin (very popular with tourists & locals, we also found it listed in our Rick Steeves guidebook). The Mezze plates were brought out on a platter for us to choose from and we ended up being full just from the delicious starters and we never made it to the main course. We brought our own bottle of wine from the USA and were not charged a corkage in either the hotel restaurant or in the fish restaurant.

Other perks of staying in the Four Seasons: leave your shoes in a bag on your doorknob before 1 a.m., you'll have them polished (gratis!) and returned to you by 7 a.m. if you leave a separate card on your door knob, you'll get a morning copy of the Turkish Daily News in English. The safe in your room is handy, but wasn't big enough to hold my 15" MacBook Pro; I locked it up using a laptop cable attached to the drain pipe in the bathroom.

There is a taxi stand right outside the hotel door, and always a couple taxis to be found there at any hour of the day or night. If the weather is inclement, you'll find a very nice umbrella in your room or the door guy will hand you one from his stash he keeps next to the hotel's front doors. The hotel will send you an e-mail a week or two before arrival asking if you'd like a limousine transfer, but we just opted for the hotel to & from the airport. It was right around 40 THY (Turkish Lira) both ways.

Overall, yes we were well aware we were paying for the privilege of splurging but I think the price is balanced out by the convenience and the overwhelming hospitality of everyone (not a sour face among any one we saw working there).

  • Stayed: February 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Check-in / front desk
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    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
2  Thank MichaelInSF
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at Sultanahmet

Address: Teyfikhane Sok No 1 Sultanahmet, Istanbul 34122, Turkey
Phone Number:
Region: Turkey > Istanbul > Sultanahmet
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Business Hotel in Istanbul
#4 Family Hotel in Istanbul
#8 Romantic Hotel in Istanbul
#14 Luxury Hotel in Istanbul
Price Range: £192 - £401 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at Sultanahmet 5*
Number of rooms: 65
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Also Known As:
4 Seasons Hotel Istanbul At Sultanahmet
Four Seasons Istanbul
Istanbul Four Seasons
Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul

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