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“Relaxed, Stylish and Reasonably Priced”
Review of Hotel Empress Zoe

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Hotel Empress Zoe
Ranked #43 of 1,134 Hotels in Istanbul
Certificate of Excellence
England
Level Contributor
49 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“Relaxed, Stylish and Reasonably Priced”
Reviewed 30 October 2013

I stayed in a single room for 5 nights. The bed was comfortable and not a single, although the room was a little on the small side - but then why would you spend much time there in Istanbul? Breakfast was good, the staff were relaxed, competent and seemed happy enough - and were happy to help out. I thoroughly enjoyed my stay. The hotel itself is built up from ruins, and they've still got an old bathhouse to restore - so help them out.

Room Tip: The singles are small, but good value. The suites are really impressive.
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  • Stayed October 2013, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank F1Baron
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (178)
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English first
Vancouver, BC
Level Contributor
27 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
Reviewed 27 October 2013

We stayed 5 nights here at the end of October 2013 and have enjoyed this bed and breakfast immensely. Hotel staff are unfailingly polite and helpful, the room had everything one would need, including a little fridge,lots of electrical outlets, and good lighting for bedtime reading. The shower had loads of hot water and even the floor was heated under the toilet area. The queen bed was super comfortable and heating in the room was just right. Window opened in the shower room so fresh air was another perk.

Whoever owns this hotel has an artistic eye. You see it in the organic cotton blinds, the "mosque" headboard, the decorated pillows in the breakfast room, the choice of wall lamps, the bathroom taps. The lobby is as incredible as the photos on the website show.

The morning coffee was excellent with 2 hot dishes, wonderful preserves/compotes and fresh fruit. Loved the bowl of fresh pomegranate seeds for topping one's yogurt. their extensive list of recommended restaurants nearby and far was helpful and they even made me another copy to fold up in my purse when I asked. Prices are reasonable for the quality of this hotel with its close proximity to all the big sights in Sultanahmet. We stayed on the garden level, close to the breakfast room, and had only to walk down one little flight of stairs. There is no elevator so if walking is a problem, stay in the triple room we had off the garden. We will be back.

Room Tip: Choose the triple room off the garden, if you want to reduce the number of stairs you must climb.
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  • Stayed October 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
5 Thank JoanandMel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London
Level Contributor
12 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
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
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Helpful?
3 Thank Tilgner
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Basel, Switzerland
Level Contributor
30 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
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
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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
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
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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
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
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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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
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
    • Service
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
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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
#112 Best Value Hotel in Istanbul
#167 Business Hotel in Istanbul
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Number of rooms: 25
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Also Known As:
Empress Zoe Hotel Istanbul

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