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“What a wonderful place!”
5 of 5 bubbles Review of Hotel Empress Zoe

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Hotel Empress Zoe
Ranked #43 of 1,129 Hotels in Istanbul
Certificate of Excellence
London
Level Contributor
12 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“What a wonderful place!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 22 October 2013

I heard about this hotel from an article in the Guardian and when I saw the photos on the website, I was sold! When we made the booking it was completely booked bar the honeymoon suite which was 40 € more but since I was so set on this hotel we said yes. We booked the airport transfer, which made life a lot easier and enabled a smooth start to the weekend. The hotel has the most suitable location for the sightseeing tourist! So central, and still so quiet, and so beautifully restored. It is a very old building and where possible the owner preserved the original features. The modern additions are tasteful very appealing. The fellow travelers all seemed very pleasant and it is always a good sign if you see someone reading a book in the garden or playing chess in the sitting area. People obviously want to spend time here! There were couples, friends and families. The three hotel cats are adorable! The room was beautifully decorated, clean with a very large bed and the marble bathroom in a hammam style was simply amazing! We loved the almond soaps! The staff were so helpful with any of our questions, helped us, how to see all the sights and not end up going somewhere on a day that its closed and even made reservations for two restaurants in advance for us. They also helped us with their opinion there and did not let us down (see my review on Leb-I-Derya and Mikla). The breakfast in the morning was a good selection of continental foods with a Turkish influence. We loved the daily pomegranate! We were able to enjoy it in the garden on these gorgeous little marble tables. On the last day we just went up on the roof terrace with a last Efes and enjoyed the view over the Golden Horn and the Bosporus. It was so beautiful to sit there in the sun, peacefully reading a book, a perfect ending to a perfect weekend! It is the first time that I not only want to come back for the city, but also for the Hotel! We felt very well looked after, by incredibly friendly and kind people! We were very sad to leave. It could have not been a better stay.

Room Tip: We can only speak for the honeymoon suite, but these 160 € are definitely well spent. It is a very q...
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  • Stayed October 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Tilgner
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (176)
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English first
Basel, Switzerland
Level Contributor
30 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 14 October 2013

Cool interesting location -- it was quite amazing to exit the busy street and emerge in an interior courtyard that felt completely secluded from the hustle and bustle. The rooms are located off a beautiful garden with cats wandering. The rooms themselves are spacious and well appointed -
we stayed in both the Villa Zoe and also the Garden Suites - both were excellent.
The staff are friendly and the breakfast buffet has yummy eggs, homemade muffins, yogurt and fruits.

  • Stayed October 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank 135anonymous
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Santa Barbara, California
Level Contributor
19 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 12 October 2013

I stayed at Empress Zoe for three nights after reading the reviews on TA, and it was everything I expected, and more. I fell in love with it, and with Istanbul! I had to make time to explore the rooftop with the beautiful view of the Bosphorus, and pots of red geraniums below, the charming nooks and crannies, and artwork on the walls. The hotel is full of charm, and starting the day in the garden with yoghurt and honey, fruit and coffee got me ready for each day of exploring wonderful Istanbul. Less than a ten minutes away is the Blue Mosque, Aya Sofya, Topkaki Palace, and Basilica Cistern. It was also easy to walk to the Spice Market and Rustem Pasa mosque by following the tram tracks which the woman was happy to show me on the map. I also walked from Taksim Square (took tram there) back down Istiklal Caddesi, across the Galata Bridge, and to the hotel. So convenient, and fun, and such a charming retreat to return to. I loved the natural olive oil soaps provided, too. Everything so comfortable and charming. Highly recommend!

  • Stayed September 2013, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank travellingyogini7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
10 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 7 October 2013

We (a couple) stayed here two nights and fell in love with the hotel. Situated in an original Ottoman house, the hotel is full of charm but with tasteful, contemporary decoration. I loved the spiral staircases, alcoves and nooks and crannies, where we breakfasted (lovely Turkish buffet including homemade muffins and great coffee) or had an evening cocktail (10 out of 10 to the barman - try the "Istanbul" cocktail).

We stayed in the penthouse suite and definitely recommend this. A beautiful room full of wood panelling and antique-looking furniture, persian rugs it was like being on a film set. And the shower is fully decked out in Hamam-style marble. The 270 degree views from the room were just wonderful!

I think we met most of the staff in our two days and found all to be very friendly and helpful, booking taxis for us, advising on prices (and of course the super barman!). The location was perfect too - just 5 mins walk from Aya Sofia and the Blue Mosque and on one of the best streets in Sultanahment for restaurants.

Room Tip: Go for the Penthouse if it's free (and you don't mind spiral staircases!).
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  • Stayed October 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Englishman_abroad265
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Level Contributor
10 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 30 September 2013

Arriving late and tired, Empress Zoe was a perfect introduction to Istanbul- Inhabiting an ancient bathhouse (with some adjoining buildings in their original state) the gardens and interiors are indeed fit for a Sultan and although in the heart of the noisy, touristy Sultanahmet, the walled gardens amazingly provide a barrier from the street noise to internal suites. A fat grey cat purring on her grey velvet cushion at breakfast eased us into a day at the Blue Mosque round the corner, and we enjoyed sitting in our sunlit suite looking into the garden and catching up on some work.
My only comment was that not all the staff were friendly- whilst some were delightful, others seemed a little abrupt but the last young woman who took payment was inexplicably downright rude. We also found that a recommendation for the fish restaurant Balikci Sabahattin was not a good one- the staff were so rude to us that we left, and the food we did eat was unremarkable- but apart from that, the Empress was a lovely restful place to begin our Turkish adventures.

Room Tip: I'd definitely ask for an internal room. The ones on the street would have to be noisy.
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  • Stayed September 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank julietago
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
annnevans1, Owner at Hotel Empress Zoe, responded to this review, 2 October 2013
Dear Julietago,

Thank you for your kind and positive comments about our hotel. It seems like it was a good fit for you and I am happy that you liked it.

Regarding the conduct of a certain receptionist: She has just called me and directed me to your letter. She feels very badly that her behaviour was deemed to be rude and abrupt. I know that this young woman normally goes out of her way to be extremely helpful with guests. I would say that she is usually more attentive and goes farther to please than would even be expected. The only explanation I can think of is that she was having a bad day perhaps coupled with a lot of guests checking in or out and requiring attention at the same time. I do have 2 receptionists on duty for both the morning and afternoon shifts so that one can deal with emails and answer the telephone while the other attends to the special needs of guests. We are having a meeting tomorrow to discuss this letter and how best to improve our systems and the manners of certain receptionists. Believe me your comments have been taken very seriously. Providing good service is of paramount importance to us.

Regarding our recommendation of the restaurant "Balikci Sabahattin": We highly recommend this place for being a genuine Turkish "meyhane" (Turkish style mezze and fish restaurant) in the Sultanahmet area. Many Turks also come here and count it as their favourite meyhane. They are ALWAYS full and often overwhelmed. We also have to wait sometimes but find the food and ambience to be well worth it. I am sorry that you did not have a good experience here and will mention it to them.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Derbyshire
Level Contributor
115 reviews
48 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 82 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 25 September 2013

I booked this hotel for five nights around a weekend as a present for my wife's 40th.
It was absolutely superb and I think you would struggle to beat it on the romantic stakes in Istanbul.
We arrived in the morning after a transfer from Ataturk airport (booked through the hotel). There were severe delays at immigration and I was concerned the driver might leave. I didn't need to worry; the driver was there and we were in the car five or ten minutes after we cleared customs.
We arrived at the hotel around lunchtime. Check in was smooth - no problem at all - and our cases were taken up to our room.
We booked the room with a balcony view (No. 42) of the Bosphorus. It is on the top floor which are up several flights of stairs, including a narrow spiral staircase from the reception (which is on the low ground floor) to the ground floor. There are no lifts, so if you find stairs difficult you may want to stay on the lower floors.
The room was lovely; clean, air-conditioned and decorated with local features, with a small vestibule onto the balcony. There is a fridge and space to store your cases in the vestibule. The bathroom was fitted with a shower cubicle with plenty of hot water at a good pressure.
The views from the balcony are of the city as it drops down to the sea. The hotel is in a built up area so you do find yourself looking across to a terrace restaurant and down the street, as well as across the Bosporus to Asia. It was a nice place to sit in the early evening and watch the ships. There is another balcony on the roof terrace above the room. Access is via an outdoor terrace and staircase from the same floor as room 42. This terrace shares a low wall with the balcony area.
The views from the roof terrace are even better; you are above the roof terraces of the buildings between you and the sea and behind you are the Blue Mosque and Aya Sofia. There are tables, chairs and sun loungers up there.
The hotel is sympathetically built into the ruins of a Turkish bathhouse and the central area has been converted into a private shaded garden area which is a real oasis in a busy city like Istanbul. One of the nicest parts of the holiday was enjoying the breakfast in the garden at the start of each day.
The hotel is also the home of three cats; Jasper, Mojo and Sophie. They are obviously well-loved and cared for. Crucially, they are not intrusive and seem to spend most of their time sleeping in the garden area.
Wifi is free and available throughout the hotel. The bandwith is pretty decent, better than a lot of hotels I've used in more developed countries.
The hotel is located close to Sultanahmet Square, which is the historical centre of Istanbul. The Aya Sofia, Blue Mosque, Basilica Cistern, Topkapl Palace and Archeological Museum are all within ten minutes walk.
There are a series of tourist restaurants along the same street from the hotel. These are OK but better food can be found by eating a but further afield.

Room Tip: Room 42 has a fantastic view It is worth paying a bit extra for if this is your first visit.
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  • Stayed September 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank RMS1974
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Houston,TX
Level Contributor
7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 18 September 2013

Stayed at this gem of an establishment (owned ironically by 2 American ladies:)) for 2 nights, while on a scheduled 2 day 48 hr stopover departing from Houston IAH into IST via Turkish Airlines continuing onward to Hamburg, Germany middle of the week. Arrived at Ataturk Airport...stood in a SNAFU of a passport / immigration line for over 2hrs (Americans need a $20 Visa available at the airport before Passport Control)...collected my bags and was whisked away into the heart of Istanbul (this can be arranged through the hotel and included in your bill for 25 EU each way). Upon my arrival to the hotel...magnificent by the way:), I was greeted by the staff (Melih was my greeter) who promptly showed me to my room close to the top floor. The hotel walls and facade date back to the Ottoman Empire and was once part of the "Turkish System of Baths". These baths were used in the Middle Ages as a stopping point for travelers and foreigners to ready themselves to meet / greet the Sultan who resided in Topkapi Palace. A tunnel system was used to connect the Old City with the Palace. My room had a nice view of the street life below lined with cafes and shops (very few cars traverse this stretch of the old city). The room itself was of standard size complete with a four poster bed which was very comfortable:), the bath while modern and updated did come with a touch of "old world" to it...nice touch;). A TV was provided with many western satellite channels to choose from and WIFI was free of charge with a very strong signal. The room surprising & thankfully came with sound proof windows:)...as you know or may NOT know...the "Old City" backs up to both the Blue & Aghia Sophia Mosques which perform calls to prayer a few times a day including at 4am in the morning. I was not awoke once during the stay due to the morning call:). Breakfast is provided and consisted of fresh scrambled eggs, fruits, toast, coffee and juices. The staff was VERY helpful in deciding what activities and tours are available to choose from. They even will call the tour companies themselves and have you picked up and dropped off at the hotel each day:).

I had a wonderful 1st day of vacation ...highlights of the day? Met some new Aussie friends at dinner also traveling Europe for the last 4 weeks from Perth, Australia (G'day Sadina Malkoc):)...discussed Taksim protests with my hotel desk mgr, Melih...and an evening walk discovering the treasures of the "old" city (ie: Blue Mosque, Aghia Sophia & Topkapi Palace) to round out Day 1.

Day 2: Active day today here in Istanbul. Just finished having Turkish coffee with one of the hotel staff called Solatya who in fact is Kurdish by birth. Our discussions centered around US / Arab relations as well as the rift between Turks and Kurds asalong with other geocentric regional topics such as being Arab in relation to the Muslim world. It was surreal to have this discussion while in the background the 4:15pm call to prayer was being sang over the Blue Mosque megaphones (this this time a woman is wailing the tune) could be heard in the background. Had a nice time earlier this morning taking in a cruise up and down the river Bosphorous. Had the opportunity to visit a number of sites today including the Maidens Tower, Kucuksu Palace, the Rumeli Fortress (Roman built during the Byzantine Period), and swam in the Black Sea toward the end of the cruise:). Met a number of interesting people including a young lady called Amber (a museum curator) along with her mom also visiting from Houston, an extremely hilarious and raucousy group of Aussie seniors on holiday, a young Japanese Coast Guard Lt. and finally an IT professional from Beijing which came to Turkey to attend the vaunted hot air balloon race (very similar to Albuquerque, NM) held on the Asian side each year. It was nice to interact with so many different nationalities in the middle of an ancient river that seperates Europe and Asia:)....

  • Stayed August 2013, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank marcboxx
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Hotel Empress Zoe

Property: 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:
#54 Family Hotel in Istanbul
#75 Romantic Hotel in Istanbul
#167 Business Hotel in Istanbul
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Number of rooms: 25
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Empress Zoe Hotel Istanbul

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