This is a beautiful Hotel made even more wonderful by the fantastic management team. A special thank you goes to the F/O Manager Safi who helped make everything worthwhile. The Hotel is equal in quality to other five star hotels in the main tourist areas but the price (because of its location) is much better. It has a fantastic gym & very nice spa, together with sauna steam room, large swimming pool & Turkish bath. It also has a Prayer room, which was very useful, & there is a small mosque within 100yds of the hotel.
I used the hotel facilities each morning and never got bored. For swimming pool usage a swimming cap must be used (5euros for cap) the location is slightly out the way for tourists visiting the Sultan-Ahmed district, however there is a fantastic tram service outside the hotel, which runs every 5 mins to the main tourist sites. (1.5 lira one-way regardless of distance). There are approx 6 stops before you get to blue mosque. 20mins journey.
I strongly recommend that anyone who wishes to get a feel for Istanbul commute via tram as you get to admire the local areas in and around Sultan –Ahmed District. Besides if you wish to do a spot of shopping the tram stops at several stops and all along the routes there are hundreds of shops selling anything and everything. However a point to note is the tram gets very busy during peak times so be warned.
Our experience of Istanbul was beyond our expectations; our treatment was 5 star and once again thanks to the guys at our hotel. Also a mention about Osman the (bellboy), great lad and very helpful as always. The hotel does provide a map to the main places and just ask the front desk guys and they will help direct you.
We stayed for 7 nights and spent it as follows:
Day1: visited the Blue Mosque (a must see wonder) & Hagi Sofia (also recommended) blue mosque has no entrance fee but Hagia Sofia is 10lira per person. From our hotel its approx 6stops and once you get off at Sultan-Ahmed it’s a further 5mins walk. You can’t miss it as the magnificent buildings tower above the skyline.
Day2: Visited Topkapi Palace (must see wonder) entrance fee is 20lira. The location is towards the right side of Hagia Sofia, it is not well signposted so don’t panic if you cant find it just ask someone. You will need approx 3-4 hrs here; it gets very busy with tourists and bring a good camera. (Just a note you cannot take pics inside the Haram as it holds some sacred Islamic items. For Muslims this place is not to be missed. The surrounding courtyards are an ideal place to have a picnic. The views are fab.
Day3: Bosporus Cruise, get the tram to Eminuno, get off and go under small subway and once out, it’s towards your right side. You wont miss it, as a number of boats are ready waiting to take people on cruises. Don’t take the commercial ferries, as they will only do a short cruise, get a medium sized boat and it costs 10lira for a 1.5hr cruise. We caught a boat which had BOGAZ24.COM splashed across it. The cruise itself is wonderful you get to see many places of interest on the way around, again take a good camera. & Remember to take a jumper as it can get Cold. Also take some food, as there is not much choice on board. Tea sellers are about and a cup is 1lira.
Day4: Eyup: This place is perhaps one of the most wonderful places to visit if you want to chill out, away from the hordes of tourists. Best way to get here is by taxi and the cost from our hotel was 8lira. There is a Mosque called Ayuub Sultan (Companion of Prophet Mohammed). This place is of immense value to Muslims as the grave of Abu Ayuub Ansari is here.
Once done from the mosque take a Teleflex (cable cart) (1.5lira each way) to Pier Loti, where you have amazing views of the Bosporus. You can take a coffee here and just admire the views. You could spend a whole day in Eyup, as there are also many small shops around to keep you busy. Prices here are better than the main Sultan-Ahmed District.
Day5: Princes Islands, there are a series of 5 islands, the largest and most touristy is Buyukada, however we chose to go to Heybeliada. To get here you will need to get a ferryboat from KABATAS. To get to Kabatas a tram will be best as it goes direct. The ferry costs 3lira per person one-way and tickets can be purchased from the station. This island is the 4th island and it is a 2hr ferry ride. You will get an announcement at every stop, however only in Turkish so you have to count the stops yourself. Once you get here you can just relax, take in the magnificent views, go to one of many small shops and just chill. There are no cars on this island so travel is via cycle or horse and carriage. A 40mins tour on horse and carriage will cost 35lira, prices are non negotiable. Or you could hire a bike (not sure of costs). Nevertheless you can spend an entire day here admiring the island.
Day 6: Grand Bazaar, this is a place to go if you are prepared to walk and walk. To get here you can get a tram, which is the 2nd or 3rd stop after blue mosque stop. They call it Grand for a good reason, it has more than 4000 shops, however everyone seems to sell the same thing, which is annoying, and the prices are touristy prices, so no deals here. I wouldn’t recommend taking children, as the walks can be long. Nevertheless a visit to Istanbul isn’t complete without a bazaar tour.
Day 7: Underground Cistarn, built around 532ad it’s no ore than a place, which holds water. It has its history, however I’d stay away from here, as there is nothing to see but columns upon columns. The ticket price is 10lira.
The last day was spent shopping around; we bought some nice souvenirs and spent it walking around the main Sultan-Ahmed area enjoying a picnic. We visited the new mosque at Eminuno, had fish sandwich from one of many fishing boats. (fish is highly recommended).
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Discover this elegant hotel located in the old part of Istanbul. The Barceló Eresin Topkapi***** hotel is situated in the Old Town, in Istanbul's European quarter. Thehistoric centre, the Gran Baazar and the Sütlüce conference centre are only 10 min by tram which stops right in front of the hotel. This hotel in the Barceló Premium category boasts spacious, light-filled rooms, a fantastic health and wellness centre (1,000 m²): the U-Spa, a conference centre with 12 meeting rooms and free Wi-Fi connection in all the rooms and common areas. There is also a fabulous culinary offer with themed menus in the Picasso Restaurant. The hotel also boasts its own Hammam (Turkish bath) to help you discover the traditions of this fascinating country. Enjoy the distinction and beauty of this marvellous hotel which makes every guest feel special, because your comfort is so important to us. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Barcelo Eresin Topkapi Hotel Istanbul
- Barcelo Hotel Istanbul
- Barcelo Hotel Eresin Topkapi