I stayed at Larespark for two weeks for business. You cannot beat the location; the hotel is a mere two walking blocks from Taksim Square, which is my preferred place to stay while in Istanbul. You can spend your evenings walking on Istiklal Street, or even walking the neighborhood directly around the hotel. There is a great restaurant just across from the hotel called Beyruti, which has very accommodating staff and you can sit outside in the nice weather. Much better food and prices than what is served at the hotel restaurant.
The rooms at Larespark are comfortable. The bathroom is large, the beds are comfy, the rooms are clean. There were a couple of things that weren't so great. I was on the back side of the hotel and the street there has a nightclub that plays pumping beats until the early morning on weekends. Yet the pumping beats do not rival the lovely mating wails of the neighborhood stray cats. This cacophony had an eerie luster as it climbed up and echoed back and forth off the buildings. And the cats did not stop wailing in the early morning; you were likely to hear them at any hour of the day. I know both of these things are beyond the control of the hotel and it is just a small price you pay to stay in the middle of the action that is found in Taksim. The elevators are also a little slow at times as there are only two. The breakfast buffet was insanely huge with tons of choices and some different items every day.
One thing I did have an issue with was being accused by the hotel staff of having an extra person in my room I did not pay for. I have many friends living in Istanbul and had several of them visit me in my room. Some were visiting for several hours one night and the next day I had a note under my door asking me to call reception. I was then asked if I was a double or a single in the room. Really? When I checked in I told them I was a single, and I was not lying, it was just me sleeping there. I didn't know that they were spying on me each time I entered the hotel lobby to see who was accompanying me. This incident greatly upset me as I felt they were accusing me a being a liar and I also felt as though I was being spied on by the staff. It was a bit of a creepy experience.
But other than the one incident the staff was very helpful in other ways; exchanging money, making small change, helping with directions and Istanbul information. The housekeeping staff was very good and even left me an extra towel when I asked for one.
Overall, I enjoyed staying at Larespark because I was able to spend my evenings in one of my favorite neighborhoods in the entire world! The hotel is a decent value for the price based on the quality and the location.
Be aware though if you are staying in Taksim and will take a taxi to Sultanahmet to see the sites, make sure you ask the taxi driver what the approximate cost will be before you get in his car! It should be around 12 - 14 lira one way using the meter. If they quote you 30 lira they are going to cheat you! Istanbul taxi drivers are notorious for ripping off tourists. I even experienced two drivers that manipulated the meter to increase the fair. I caught them in the act. They don't expect you to be watching them because there is too much to see out the windows of the car. Keep your eye on them, if they touch the meter make them pull over and get a different cab. These cheating taxi drivers really give the honest ones a bad name. Tourists are the lifeblood of so many people in Istanbul that it is truly a shame that some idiot taxi drivers can tarnish a great experience by trying to make a few extra lira off of naive tourists. Public transportation is an option but unless you read Turkish or have someone that can show you the ropes it can be a little complicated the first time.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- LaresPark Hotel Taksim Istanbul is the perfect base to match the leisure or business expectations of the discerning travelers in this exciting city. Our exceptional service, combined with the warm Turkish hospitality, provides the deluxe comfort and sophistication for an enjoyable stay.All the rooms represent the unique ambiance and spacious comfort that you can expect, featuring LCD TV, tea & coffee making facilities, electronic safe deposit box, minibar, air conditioning, pillow menu, direct dial telephone, voice mail, telephone and hair dryer in the bathroom. Non-smoking rooms are also available. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Larespark Hotel Istanbul