We chose this hotel for its location, the main attractions were within walking distance.It was a good choice as he Suleymaniye Mosque ( the largest and grandest in Istanbul was close by.
The rooms were clean and tidy with tea and coffee making facilities, the staff were pleasant, polite and helpful.The lobby is dated but adequate .There is free Wi-Fi throughout , there is also a hotel computer and printer that is free to use.
The hot and cold buffet breakfast was plentiful and of good quality.There is also a Jacuzzi, Haman and sauna available in the hotel , but you will need to pay in EUROS to use them.
There is another Best Western Premier Senator with Spa behind the Blue Mosque.It is a nice looking hotel from the outside, but we did not go inside so I can't tell anymore.You can access it by walking along the hippodrome , pass the Obelisk which is adjacent to the blue mosque and down a cobble street..
There is a nice side street with shops selling traditional products , the shop keepers leave you alone , and there are restaurants at the end serving nice food , all this is behind the blue mosque , you can't miss it.
Please note that most places accept Turkish lira only.Best to change small amounts as the exchange rate fluctuates on a daily basis.
To get to the main attractions take the tram 1 ( Bagcilar - kabatas) and come off at Sultanahmet.
From there you can either cross the road for a bit to eat or go straight to the Blue Mosque.
What can I say.This mosque is amazing, one of the best we have seen and it's free .On the way out straight in front of you is the Aya Sophia , this huge building is impressive, the best views are gained walking up a twisting stone floor ramp that leads to the gallery, There are some beautiful Byzantine mosaics not to be missed.
Behind is the Topkapi Palace the main residence of the Sultan.Do not miss the treasury, the armoury and the Harem, get close to all the exhibits and study them as long as you like.The items on display are one of a kind with artefacts from the prophet Mohammed and from several centuries of Sultans.
If you are a 007 enthusiast you should know that three movies were filmed here in Istanbul.'The world is not enough' ,'From Russia with Love' , and 'Skyfall'.The basilica cistern located to the left of the Hagia Sophia was used during the filming of 'From Russia with Love'.
This is an underground structure and a feat to roman engineering.The columns used were recycled from Pagan Temples , you won't spend much time there , but it is worth a visist.
From Sultanahmet the tram continues north past Sirkeci station.This is where the Orient express ended its journey.There is a museum (closed Mondays)if of interest.It is worth noting that passengers arriving on the Orient express use to stay at the Pera Palas hotel still in operation today ( Mesrutiyet Caddesi).
From the station the Tram continues to Karakoy ( stop here for the Galata tower) to Taksim square.The main shopping street starts here and you can get to tunel square in half hour or less
There are plenty of restaurants and cafes for a bite to eat, you won't go hungry.
The grand bazaar is an indoor market , full of interesting little shops .They all sell the same things so look around for a bargain before committing yourself.You can easily get lost so make a note of the gate number before entering this vast area .there are cafes inside , we found one called fez café , great little place to enjoy an expresso and watch the world go by.
You can actually get access to the spice Bazaar from within.Look for gate 16 ( Uzuncarsi Caddesi) then walk up hill to an intersection .You will see a gun shop on your right , take a left then take a right , from this point it is downhill to the Rustem Mosque (Rustem Camii).When you get to the Mosque go right to get to the Egyptian bazaar via ( Hasircilar Caddesi).There isn't much there , it's over rated in our view.
The Dolmabahce Palace is something else.
It was the residence of the Sultan of the empire very glamorous place.Guided tours consists of 40 to 50 people which spoils it a bit.Be aware that not all guides speak very good English, unless you are at the front you won't understand what they are saying.It is a bit disappointing to be perfectly honest.But don't let me put you off the crystal staircase and the 4.5T chandelier makes up for it.
from kabatas terminus it is less than 10 minutes walk north along the Bosphorus shore to the palace.
Would I recommend this city and the Best Western Premier senator as a place to stay?
Yes without hesitation.
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- Also Known As:
- Best Western Istanbul
- Istanbul Best Western