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“A favorite place to stay”
Review of Hotel Empress Zoe

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Hotel Empress Zoe
Ranked #31 of 1,163 Hotels in Istanbul
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 25 June 2013

We just spent a week here, a third time visiting Istanbul and a third time staying at this hotel. We love it. Except for climbing the spiral stairs, I can only say good things. Note that you don't have to carry your luggage up these stairs, they will carry it for you, but if you have trouble climbing its not your best choice. The street can be noisy sometimes as noted by another reviewer, but the double windows very effectively block it, and we've never been bothered by street noise. They have a lovely rooftop terrace with a great view of the water. The included breakfasts in the garden are a highlight of our day. There are multiple restaurants nearby (but avoid the Alaturk Fish House across the street-see the restaurant reviews), and the major attractions are within short walking distance. The location is also very convenient to the Ataturk Airport. WIFI is included, and the room rates are very reasonable. The staff are all very friendly and helpful, and make you feel very much at home there. If you like small hotels with a lot of charm, this is your place.

  • Stayed: June 2013, travelled with family
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Thank ChucktownDan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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331 - 337 of 785 reviews

Reviewed 24 June 2013

Absolutely wonderful hotel just 3 blocks from all the attractions in Sultanahmet, on a bustling street with many good restaurants. Breakfast is served in a beautiful garden, staff is very helpful. The entire property is gorgeous, but still reasonably priced. Our little suite of rooms featured a balcony overlooking the garden (can't emphasize the garden enough) and a terrific bathroom with a very cool shower. You'll need some help getting your luggage up and down the spiral staircase off the reception area, but that is my only criticism. Well, if you're a light sleeper and not a devout Muslim, you might resent the sunrise call to morning prayer at the nearby mosques, but that's hardly the fault of the hotel and a thoughtful and generous guest will consider that one of the features of the neighborhood to appreciate. Make sure you climb to the view of the Marmara sea from the rooftop terrace. Oh, and the cats make it all feel a little bit like home.

  • Stayed: June 2013, travelled with family
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1  Thank syael1339
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 June 2013

I recently spent 5 nights at Empress Zoe in the Sultanahmet area. It's close to many major tourist attractions (Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia,etc) and plenty of restaurants a door step away.

Firstly about the hotel. We had a room on the 3rd floor and despite it facing the street, it was quiet. We can even see the distant harbour from our room. The bed is nice and firm though I found the pillows to be too soft for my liking. The air condition worked fine and we never had a problem of being too hot in the room. They clean the room well each day and the floor was cleaned each day as well. Overall I thought the room was comfy for our stay.

Breakfast was included in the price of our daily rate. The breakfast spread was nice; with some hot selection and some cold selection. The same food was served during the entire duration of our stay though I must say I wasn't bothered by it at all. The scrambled tomato eggs was my favorite and the plain yogurt with home made chunky strawberry jam mixed in was excellent. They kept it simple but what they served was good. The scrambled tomato eggs does run out pretty quickly. One our last day there, there was next to none left when we got there. Shortly after we sat down, one of the staff brought over a bowl of the scrambled tomato eggs for me! I guessed they knew it was my favorite. That was so sweet of them...

The hotel staff are so helpful and friendly. They do go out of their way to make you feel at home especially being in a foreign country. There are three resident cats (Mojo, Sophie and Bobby) that can be seen around the hotel all the time. They are very friendly, my favorite being Sophie, she's the grey one that normally sleeps around the couch near the breakfast area).

I think the location of this hotel is perfect. We literally walked everywhere. We even walked from the hotel to the Grand Bazaar and back as well to other areas. If you're not too keen on walking you can easily take the tram. There's a tram stop minutes from the hotel. It's 3 TL each way. You can buy tickets close by the tram stop, you won't miss it. You can even select English from the ticket machine.

And yes there's free wifi at the hotel. They will give you the password that you will require for access. I did find that I had to keep switching between different wifi to gain proper access in the room. Though if you have a smart phone once it's been set up with all the different wifi in the hotel, it will switched on its own to the strongest wifi signal depending where you're automatically.

If you're not keen on stairs, this hotel might not be suitable for you. There's no lift access only stairs but we were ok with it. I would recommend you staying at this hotel if you're looking for a good location hotel, friendly staff, comfy room and all.

  • Stayed: June 2013, travelled with friends
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1  Thank AdelePh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 June 2013

Its definitely a boutique hotel. No lift and an initial narrow circular staircase that changes to circular marble stairs, a quaint semi four poster bed but a beaut view from our room to the Bosphorus over a disused Hamami. The roof top patio offered an even more commanding vista.

The Bosphorus side of the Blue Mosque and the Ayasofya, Empress Zoe is well located for such important cultural sites and a long line of restaurants commence right outside the door. Breakfast in the garden area is very pleasant with a good range of all the elements that make up a Turkish breakfast with a nod or two to the needs of the Anglo breakfast stomach. Reception staff were very helpful and Yusuf deserves a tip every time he effortlessly carries a heavy suitcase up those flights of stairs.

Clean with hot water a-plenty, the Zoe bathroom DIDN'T have that faint whiff of sewer that other hotels and homes had. (For the Melbournites, think Werribee air when the wind blows the wrong way.)

Loved the outside area at the top of the external staircase that led to our room. Great space for quiet reflection with a view.

Hotel Zoe recommended using the Cagaloglu Hammami (est. in the 1600s) and our experience there was nothing but positive. In fact my wife emerged some 25 minutes after me in a state of bliss having been really worked over by the massuesse. It was our second visit to a hammami and the better of the two hammamis by a distance.

Room Tip: Room 41 was awesome.
See more room tips
  • Stayed: June 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank hyphen3121
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 June 2013

Fantastic location for tourism, characterful rooms, good breakfast, friendly, helpful, knowledgeable staff. The only reason to stay anywhere else in Istanbul as a tourist would be if you cannot do stairs - there are a lot - or want a pool.

  • Stayed: May 2013, travelled with family
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Thank AnneOng
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 June 2013

My room, a 'petite suite', comprised a room with a double bed and a room with two single beds, a small bathroom and a hamam-style washroom (which I didn't use). The first bedroom, with the double bed, faced inside onto shrubbery and the second faced onto a short street (Adiye Sokak) which has shops and leads from Akbiyik Caddesi up to Sultanahmet square. (Akbiyik Caddesi is a full-on tourist street with tourist-oriented eateries and hotels.) To get to the room, you had to walk up two flights of a narrowish spiral staircase (so, not good for frail or disabled). The room was more than my need and it's just how the vacancies panned out that I took it, I used the kiddies' room for my bag and throwables. I thought the suite was cute. The woodwork was dark, but light came in through two windows. There is aircon, but, great!, the windows open. There is a good wifi connection in the room. There is a rooftop terrace with partial views of the Sea of Marmara and the Blue Mosque. The toilet was one of those where you use a spout at the back of the toilet bowl to water yourself after defecating and use the toilet-paper only for drying your buttocks. I had heard of these toilets, much superior conceptually than the normal Western mode, but you have to be very supple to implement the idea; the spurted water doesn't fully do what it is tasked to. Reception staff are particularly helpful. My room was €140 a night for each of 4 nights, in May (but I paid in cash to get a 10% discount). I also arranged airport pickup through them, for €25 (less 10% for cash-payment). After my 4 nights at Zoe, I had planned to go on a short tour with 1 overnight stay outside of Istanbul, checking out of Zoe to do so, and checking into a hotel in Beyoglu on my return; but I decided I wasn't fit enough to travel and pulled out of the tour at dawn; this meant I had a 'homeless' night in Istanbul; I couldn't stay at Zoe another night since they did not have any vacancy; the receptionist rang the Beyoglu hotel for me and arranged for me to extend my booking and check-in there a night earlier; a simple act of help by her was a great relief for me given my predicament. The hotel's location is great for the main Sultanahmet sights, which are 100 meters up; the Sea of Marmara is 100 meters downwards (the pedestrian path along the seawall is full of locals and though busy, a nice change from the tourist-and-tout hustle of Sultanahmet square). The hotel is opposite a mosque and you can hear the 'call to prayer' very distinctly; the loudspeaker from the mosque does a duet with one a bit further away. There is a real bank (Deniz Bank) in a small street off Akbiyik Caddesi, 100 meters west of the hotel; the street is called Mimar Mehmetaga Caddesi and it leads up to the Arasta Bazaar; this bank has an ATM outside and helpful staff inside. There are also ATMs in Sultanahmet square. And also at this square a post office (I still send postcards); it's a yellow booth branded PTT next to the row of ATMs. There is a corner store around the corner from the hotel, at the intersection of Kutlugun Sokak and Tevkifhane Sokak, on your dog-legged walking route up to Sultanahmet square. There are also some 'corner stores' in Akbiyek Caddesi.

  • Stayed: June 2013, travelled solo
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3  Thank Schiltron
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 19 June 2013

Thank you for your very detailed and I would have to say unusual review. A note about the toilets: All toilets in Turkey are equipped with a water spout. You will find variations of this in every house or hotel in the country. It would not be possible to find a toilet without such a feature. I realize this is an unfamiliar idea for many westerners and it might seem strange at first. For matters of hygiene it is imperative to have a water source and we find that we miss this when traveling in the US or Europe. In Paris the toilet is often in a separate cubicle with no running water source (not even a sink) available in the room - very strange. My Turkish husband complains about this but of course the glories of Paris far outweigh this one eccentricity :) In Thailand they use a separate hand held water siphon which is also a great addition. I am really perplexed as to why they do not incorporate this great idea in the west and find that on this point we are very superior in terms of hygiene.

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Reviewed 15 June 2013

Great location for sightseeing, eating etc. rooms range from small and fun to bigger and gorgeous with rugs and carpets. You know you're in Turkey! Clean, rooms and bathrooms, breakfast was fine, breakfast location in garden is nice. Cute, well thought out hotel with functioning wifi, air con etc.
Cute hotel but street noise is well above average, its in a very bar orientated place so enjoy the cute hotel AND the not so cute noise level. Hotel can't do much about the street noise I guess but just thought I'd let you know, the noise from bars is above average, bring earplugs!

  • Stayed: June 2013
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1  Thank Passport1972
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 19 June 2013

Thank you for posting your comments. I was at the hotel 2 nights ago at 12:30 PM just before you posted this review and I was also very concerned that the nearby cafe/bars had not turned down their music which they are supposed to do by 11 PM. Then I woke up the next morning to see your very timely review. We and other hotels nearby have been in touch with our small hotels association and the municipality. Your review has been translated and submitted to the appropriate authorities. We expect action to be taken shortly about a recent escalation of noise on our street. Please note that we are at the end of the street on a corner with much of the hotel looking over a quiet garden and the ruins of an old hamam. We expect an improvement in this situation shortly.

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Additional Information about Hotel Empress Zoe

Address: Akbiyik Caddesi, No:10, Istanbul 34122, Turkey
Region: Turkey > Istanbul > Sultanahmet
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Suites
Hotel Style:
#53 Family Hotel in Istanbul
#74 Romantic Hotel in Istanbul
#106 Best Value Hotel in Istanbul
#167 Business Hotel in Istanbul
Price Range: £45 - £93 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 25
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Also Known As:
Empress Zoe Hotel Istanbul

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