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“A short stay in Sultanahmet, Istanbul.”
Review of Hotel Empress Zoe

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Hotel Empress Zoe
Ranked #45 of 1,160 Hotels in Istanbul
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 14 August 2013

We stayed in this Bed and Breakfast Hotel for four nights on our way to Ozdere south of Izmir in May 2013. We had a very friendly welcome on arrival. This very well run hotel was a real haven of peace from the hubbub of the Sultanahmet area of the old city and within easy reach of all the major sites and places of interest. Breakfast in the garden or inside was excellent. Our room "The Petite Suite" was very clean and comfortable. All of the staff were very friendly, polite, and spoke several languages between them. Very reasonable cost per night at this time of year and well worth the visit. My wife and I were recommended this jewel among small hotels by our daughter who had stayed here several years ago. We would have no hesitation in staying here again. It is clearly very popular so book early !!

Room Tip: All rooms have A/C. Roof terraces give good views across the Bosphorus and Marmara sea. There are mo...
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  • Stayed: May 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Simon C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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313 - 319 of 777 reviews

Reviewed 12 August 2013

I LOVED this hotel....and I loved Istanbul. I just came home from an around the world trip and this was my favorite hotel AND country. Empress Zoe is a gorgeous little hotel that represents all of what Istanbul is. Welcoming, beautiful, magical, friendly, unique and makes you want to come back for more. This boutique hotel is situated perfectly for you to see the ancient sites and wander the city. The daily breakfast was amazing...and the resident felines very entertaining and welcoming! My room was perfect, and looked onto the garden...everything was clean and very well taken care of. The roof deck was perfection...you must make the climb up there to relax and enjoy the view. This place is perfect and well worth the stay. I have no doubt I will be back to Istanbul and I won't stay anywhere else.

  • Stayed: July 2013, travelled solo
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2  Thank jsea09
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 July 2013 via mobile

Had a great stay here for our first time in Istanbul. A peaceful oasis in the busy tourist area of sultanhamet. Rooms were clean and the garden oasis is very relaxing. Breakfast was fresh and had a great selection. Staff were accommodating with advice and were so kind to hold our bags for a late flight and give us an empty room to shower and change. The location is perfect being close to blue mosque, aya Sofia and topkapi palace. It's an easy walk also to the grand bazaar and tram stop to new city. Restaurants and shops surrounding are not great- very touristy so overall if its your first visit I would say this is the best hotel in the area but if you've seen the sights and are a bit of a foodie I would stay in Beyoglu (a but trendier and great restaurants).

  • Stayed: July 2013
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Thank Amelia P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 July 2013

We chose Empress Zoe based on many recommendations we came across while researching accommodation options for our trip to Istanbul. 

It is in a great location - across the street from the Four Seasons hotel and no more than a five minute walk to the plaza in front of the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia. 

We decided to splurge by staying in one of the suites - room 603. It has two floors with two bedrooms on the lower floor (as well as the bathroom)  and a sitting room/kitchen area on the second floor (inducing a refrigerator). The best part, however, were the two balconies on the top floor. One provides a decent view of the Bosphorus and Marmara Sea (and it is the most spacious) while the other looks over towards the Four Seasons. They were fabulous places to relax after long days of sightseeing around Istanbul. 

The beds were comfortable and the rooms well shaded by the curtains. While the suite is air conditioned we did not like the positioning of the units in the bedrooms - they blow cold air onto you when in bed which can get uncomfortable. 

The staff were friendly and most helpful.  The breakfast is simple and includes two hot items but after five days we did get a little tired of the options. The indoor courtyard, which is shaded by trees and vines, is a wonderful place to eat and have a drink in the afternoon (they do have bar service after 4:00pm). 

If you don't like walking up stairs I wouldn't stay here. To access the guest rooms you must first walk up a small, spiral staircase and you can have as many as two more staircases before you get to your room. 

As noted earlier, the location is fabulous. If you are visiting Istanbul for the first time you do want to stay in the Sultanahmet neighbourhood so you can easy access all of Istanbul's top sites. 

While there is no restaurant in the hotel there are plenty of options just steps from the front door. Beware - you will be accosted at every step by men trying to get you to come into their restaurant. Best to go out with a destination in mind and ignore all others. We had a good dinner at Magnaura as well as Giritli (which is a little further away). 

One final note, you will soon discover that you are in a Muslim country when the call to prayers boom out of the many mosques. One is located right behind the hotel and the 3:45am call (the times do change) did wake us up. If you are aight sleeper ear plugs might be a good idea. 

  • Stayed: July 2013, travelled with family
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3  Thank John B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 July 2013

Our family booked two rooms - one of which was a budget room which truly was a budget room! Two small beds crammed in a very small room and an abbreviated bathroom with very small shower. It did the job for the two teenage boys who traveled with us! Our room could have fit four but we only put three in it. It was a bedroom, with another room which had two daybeds. Very spacious and also very nice bathroom. Secluded inner courtyard where breakfast was available was so peaceful! Lots of choices for breakfast though it did not vary from day to day. Location-wise we were steps away from great restaurants/shops and many of the sights - Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia. Roof terrace offered magnificent view of the Blue Mosque. Oh, and the entire hotel was covered in blooming Wisteria - just incredible! Shuttle was great picking us up and taking us to the airport!

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

My wife and me stayed for 5 nights near the end of May 2013 and could not have made a better choice. Walking its only 5 mintues to the main historic sites and 15 minutes to the Grand Bazzar. Restaurants and shops are all nearby. The Staff were more than helpful and really cared for our safety and enjoyment. The hotel itself is "Boutique" with all the applicable expectations that term implies. We loved the balcony view of the Bosphorus to the outdoor sitting area where we enjoyed great breakfasts and relaxing late afternoons with a cool drink after our adventures. From the 3 large flags blowing in the breeze and the mosque across the street the whole experience could not have been better. We felt part of the culture and can say that travelling the world Istanbul is one of the best trips thanks to Hotel Zoe!

Room Tip: The best room will depend upon your individual tates. If your want to experience the culture as much...
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  • Stayed: May 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank MASIAI
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 July 2013

My husband and I recently stayed for 3 nights at the Empress Zoe Hotel. Overall it was disappointing. This was the second hotel we stayed at in Istanbul so I have something to compare it with. The first disappointment was they failed to pick us up at the airport as previously arranged. When we finally got to the hotel, the front desk clerk was not very apologetic and questioned whether or not we even had a reservation. He told us if we wanted to complain that the owner would be in tomorrow. End of conversation. The second disappointment was the room. The amenities and decor were pretty average. There was a weird set up in which the toilet was next to a shower with no curtain so water went everywhere. Beware of the woman who runs the front desk during the day. She was really rude to us. Just nasty for no reason and very unhelpful. Its not what I had come to expect of the usually Turkish hospitality. Best thing about this hotel is the garden in the back. It is amazing, peaceful and beautiful. Other than that, there are better hotels that I've stayed at in Istanbul with nicer staff. I would not recommend this hotel.

  • Stayed: June 2013, travelled as a couple
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8  Thank maggiejofeldman
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 18 July 2013

This was a very disappointing review for us also. It is very rare for us to receive a "poor" mark. The vast majority of our reviews are excellent or good. I would have replied earlier but I just returned from an overseas trip yesterday.

Firstly, we do have a very good airport pickup service but very occasionally a mix-up could happen. I think that would be true of any hotel. The important thing is that when this occurs we offer the return transfer free of charge. In fact our transfer service does this. I am very sorry if the receptionist who greeted you did not apologize enough. Of course this kind of a mistake deserves a very heartfelt apology. It is the beginning of your stay in Istanbul and it would be very irritating to find that the person in charge did not seem to take it seriously enough. We have had a meeting about this as we do have a couple of newer members of staff and this has been explained in detail. My sincere apologies for this lack of a heartfelt apology.

You stayed in room 601 which is the Maison Zoe triple room with one queen size and one single bed. It has some nice features. I would not call it ordinary. The bathroom in this room is small and somewhat unusual in its layout as it incorporates an antique sink which is outside of the main bathroom. It is a ground floor accommodation on a side street and it has easy garden access. It is not our best room but most people like it. We try to avoid shower curtains in favor of recessed cubicles or glass shower doors. This room has a marble shower recess with an arched door. I have never received complaints of water on the floor but we are looking into the possibility of adding a shower curtain as well. Thank you for pointing this out.

We are perplexed about the rudeness of one of our female receptionists. There are 2 of them handling the morning shift and to my knowledge, and as overwhelmingly attested in our reviews, they are both very courteous and helpful. I would say they go well beyond being hospitable and go out of their way to be friendly, caring and interested in finding solutions to make the most of your trip - be it the right restaurants, special requests or whatever is needed. I guess anyone can have an off day but "downright nasty for no reason" is certainly an incredibly negative assessment. I cannot imagine any of our receptionists behaving like that and would welcome any further comments you would like to address to me personally by writing me at the hotel - if you wish to do so.

I guess we cannot please everyone and I am very sorry that you had such a negative experience in our hotel. I'm glad you liked the garden :))

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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
#167 Business Hotel in Istanbul
Price Range: £49 - £120 (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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