There is no option to put half stars and I am not sold on giving it a 4 star yet but I can see how it can easily get there with a few improvements in time. I will start off with saying that I have traveled all over Europe and am familiar with different hotel types from 3 to 5 stars and I understand the differences between them thus the varying expectations that should be derived from each. I am very objective in my reviews but I feel I have to be very careful in this one because I have noticed that the owners are very much in tune with these reviews and can tend to be defensive at times. I hope they don't feel that way about this review and try to use it to enhance a good hotel to make it even better.
I have found this hotel through TA and have started to send emails to the hotel for inquiry. I have to say that they communicate very well, prompt, diligent, detailed and very patient. Great first impression. Not all hotels in Istanbul operate the same way so kudos to Empress Zoe (EZ) for that.
We arrived in the evening and were immediately ushered to our room. Yes there were the stairs but we are a very fit so it didn't bother us a bit. Plus someone is always available to help you with your luggage. So unless you cannot manage these steep stairs, this should not be an issue. We stayed in Room 34. This is a single room but can accomodate 2 people. We did not want to spend a lot of money for a room that we will only be staying in for 8 hours a day to sleep, shower and change. We paid 90 euros in cash and stayed for 6 nights. The bed as you will see in the picture has one side against the wall and a small space on the other side. There is a small desk, an alcove to hang your clothes (no closet space really), a safe and even a small refrigerator. The bathroom is a good size with strong running hot water and they provide toiletries. A full length mirror is also provided which was a nice touch. Its pretty much the standard things you need. The bed is firm not hard and the pillows were fluffy a good ensemble The sheets were good but the towels so so. There are times when I felt that the lighting was not sufficient and it can be hard to read or find stuff which was mentioned in another review. Yes I know its the hotels design but there are ways to circumvent this without compromising the design. This is a really small space so if you are a couple and want your space then add more money and get a bigger room. There were times that we had to open the window because the heating (radiator?) is too hot and we cant regulate the temperature. We asked the front desk and they told us to just turn its counter clockwise but the knob was really hard to turn so we just gave up on that and slept without the blanket. Now for all you very light sleepers like me, Im not sure if this is the room for you. I survived by pushing my earplugs way deep down my ears which may have caused some pain in my ear after 6 nights. Without my earplugs I wouldn't have slept a wink. The room is on the third flr and it is facing the street. A street that has restaurants all over and there's quite a lot of cars and even some tourist buses that navigate through it. Ive been told the windows are double glazed but it really didn't work if you ask me. There's music that plays till 1 am every day from one of the restaurants which I confirmed from the front desk. The sounds of base thumping and vibrating is something that is quite annoying and is heard in the room. I never heard people's conversations in their rooms unlike the white house hotel which had paper thin walls but I heard every door slam and open from the penthouse to the second floor as well as cabinets slamming from adjacent rooms and furniture being dragged. I never heard footsteps though. Keep in mind that I am not dwelling on the morning prayer from mosque across the hotel coz believe it or not, I never got awakened by it except for the first day which is the start of some Muslim holiday. My bf did not bring ear plugs so he did get awakened by it but it only lasts for a few mins so don't get put off by it. Putting this in perspective, if you are an uber light sleeper find another room in this hotel, maybe the one facing the garden and BRING YOUR EARPLUGS!!!! If you are not a light sleeper at all like my bf, this room will work for you. In retrospect, I might have just paid extra money to find a room that is not facing the streets that's what I would have done. Everything I have said so far confined to just room 34.
The property is rustic and charming TONS OF CHARACTER, every detail was well thought of and it shows everywhere. I have nothing but praises for it. The place is also tidy and clean. The location is fantastic. You can walk everywhere. Restaurants as you walk out. A few mins to major sights and the Tram stop is just a few mins away. I could not have asked for anything more location wise. For first time visitors to Istanbul this is an ideal location. Taksim or Beyoglu are good party places maybe a place to consider if you have done the sightseeing and want to live with the locals.
The breakfast is on the second floor. I have to say it is a healthy breakfast they serve, if you want bacon, fried eggs, ham etc then you wont enjoy this but if you want fresh tomatoes, muesli, hard boiled eggs, yogurt, multi grain bagels, fresh pomegranite seeds then just like us you will like their spread. Its a small selection but its the quality not the quantity that counts. I wish the water glasses were bigger coz we had to take 4 trips to the bar to get some. Drinks are not readily available you need to ask from the bartender. Wish they had bananas :)
I have read a previous review that criticized the service being short, non-chalance and not really eager to help. This is an area for improvement. In our 6 night stay there I can only mention 2 people that really gave us very good service and that is Binnur (hope I spelled that right) but she is only available in the mornings. She has a wealth of knowledge and is eager to answer any questions and provide local insights, we really appreciated her help. The second one is Luftu who works in the evening. Not as knowledgeable as Binnur but always ready to offer help with a smile. I cannot say the same for the rest of the people here. They were never rude but lets put it this way, if its not Binnur or Lutfu, I didn't feel like engaging in a conversation so we would walk to other hotels to have our questions answered so we can get the details we needed. No, im not asking for a kiss and a hug or to hold my hand but service that is willing to answer questions in detail and if you don't have it then try to do some quick research since you are looking at your computer and we don't have one. Basic good service skills. Unfortunately, this aspect needs some improvement improved. If it weren't for those 2 names I mentioned, this place will have a rating of mediocre at best in terms of service quality. The breakfast people and the cleaning crew are friendly which is a very positive thing even if they don't really speak english very well.
This place can be a good value for your money if it matches your needs and preferences.
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Booking.com so you can book your Hotel Empress Zoe reservations with confidence. We help millions of travellers each month to find the perfect hotel for both holiday and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- Also Known As:
- Empress Zoe Hotel Istanbul