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Hotel Empress Zoe
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Reviewed 1 April 2012

We recently completed a six day stay, and chose Empress Zoe based on a recommendation of a friend. This is a hotel which has been lovingly created over a long time by Ann Nevans, a gracious hostess, and as such has the individual taste which is far from a corporate clone, with entry to the rooms up a narrow spiral staircase, a lovely enclosed garden, beds designed by Ann's sister, and a clever mixture of old stone, heated tiled floors, bright colours, and thoughtful design which extracts maximum utility from the space available. We had a ground floor triple right on the back street, so could hear passing foot traffic. This was not a problem however. As for the daily call to prayer at 5:45, well, this is Istanbul, so it is part of the experience. Empress Zoe ticks all the boxes for comfort within a reasonable price. Firm beds, soft pillows. A delicious and consistent breakfast with fresh fruit and yoghurt, an assortment of cheeses, spinach puff pastries and good strong coffee. It is extremely well-situated, a short walk away from the major sites. Ann's staff were so helpful and friendly they deserve to be mentioned by name, so thanks to Hayati, Binnur, Leyla, and Lutfu, each of whom played a role in making our visit memorable. For us the whole week was magical, and a large part of that was having Empress Zoe, a warm, comfortable and welcoming refuge to come back to after exploring this fascinating city. Highly recommended.

  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank ericwhitetiger
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 March 2012

It's in a great location, although being jolted out of bed every morning by the call to Mecca takes some getting used to. I take that back. I could never get used to that and would definitely find a hotel that isn't so close to a mosque or many mosques. My room was fine. Small, on the top floor of the hotel but one of the staff kindly carried my heavy suitcase up there without being asked. The gentlemen at the front desk were all very friendly, happy to give advice. There is a very nice breakfast served every day but I only made it to the ending of one. I'm used to a more plush hotel so this wasn't exactly the right fit for me, but the other guests all seemed very happy with it.

  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled solo
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6  Thank JohnLosAngeles_CA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 March 2012

My daughter and I stayed here last December for four nights. The very warm welcome soon turned sour when I asked if I could get wifi in my room. One of the reception guys blamed my new ipad for having poor reception while the other guy there was very friendly and apologized, fixing it quickly by turning the wifi modem off then on again. To be fair, the grumpy guy apologized later as well... so weird though and unnecessary.

The rest of the stay was uneventful... had a great time in Istanbul. However, I returned a couple of weeks later and a nasty woman was on reception. I sat while waiting for the phone calls to finish and listened to her shout at some poor person on the other end. Then she got off the phone and began shouting at the two men who were working with her on reception.. some issue regarding a customer... very mundane and totally unprofessional.

I asked if I could have a room for just an afternoon, happy to pay full price, just to have a shower and sort luggage before flying home and she almost barked at me that it would be impossible. I didn't really need to have a room... I was just enquiring... I would never go back to this hotel though... I'm sure there are nicer places and people around Sultanamet...

Having said that, thanks to the one guy on the reception who was so sweet and helpful... the one with glasses... sorry you have to work with those hot heads.

  • Stayed: December 2011, travelled with family
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6  Thank Mary C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
annnevans1, Owner at Hotel Empress Zoe, responded to this reviewResponded 25 March 2012

I thought about whether to reply to this review as she seems a peculiarly judgmental and easily irritated person.

However, there are a couple of points that bear mentioning:

We let go a receptionist in January (this visit was in December). He was a good person with some very admirable qualities but he was not outgoing enough and did not handle the front desk with confidence. He is no longer with us. The fact that the wifi problem was quickly solved by the receptionist she liked and the other apologized makes it seem a bit trivial to go on about.

Our 2 female receptionists are lovely and polite. I wonder how one could make judgements on a phone conversation (presumably in Turkish) on an unknown subject even judging the party on the other end of the line a "poor person". However, I took this opportunity to reiterate to all our receptionists to transfer calls into the office whenever possible. Also I have noticed that they sometimes congregate at the front desk when the shift changes and speak to their colleagues in Turkish during the changeover. I have asked them to be sure to speak in English whenever possible when guests are in the lobby so that no one feels excluded and to be sure to interrupt calls briefly to assure guests that they will be with them in a moment. This is already our protocol but it does not hurt to go over it again.

It could also be noted that there are cultural differences in the way people speak and their tone, hence the saying that all conversations in Greece sound like an altercation.

Finally, our purpose in having a hotel is to rent rooms. We would not get very far if we "barked" at people wanting to stay with us and told them it was "impossible". It seems obvious that we were fully booked although she does not mention this rather pertinent fact.

We found ourselves scratching our heads as to why she had returned - and then bothered to write all this ?

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 March 2012

This is a lovely little boutique hotel. It's perfectly located, just around the corner from the Four Seasons in the Sultanahmet. The rooms are small, but have very charming features. It's on a great street with lots of restaurant and cafes just outside the front door. They serve a lovely fresh breakfast included in the daily rate. You can walk to many of the important sites such at the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, Grand Bazaar. The staff are very accommodating. As others have mentioned there is a very steep spiral staircase, but the staff carry your bag to your room, so it's really no problem. It's a good choice!

  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled with friends
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4  Thank michellebarrett
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 March 2012

This hotel is the perfect place to stay in the old city of Istanbul.
It is surrounded by very nice restaurants and bars, it is 2 minute walk from Haguia Sophia, and the Topkapi Palace, and it has its own roman palace below it! Not to mention that the rooms are super cozy, and its staff is friendly, and speak good english!
Totally recomended!

  • Stayed: March 2012
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2  Thank Jmv7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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