Stayed here in August 2013 with my mum on our second visit to Turkey. 21 years ago we stayed here and decided to stay here again due to its close proximity to most (pretty much all) the sights in the Old City. Well what can I say, after 20 years there's been rapid improvement not only in the hotel but in Istanbul as well. They've expanded the hotel,adding more rooms, with a more modern touch, however the service and the genuine Turkish hospitality has definitely not been compromised. From the moment we booked, Ramazan (the man in charge of your smiles!) and his team were friendly, accommodating and more than helpful in arranging everything, from airport transfers, bus tickets, and an additional 5 night stay during peak season upon returning from Cappadocia and Pammukale; they even kept our big luggage bags in safe storage while we were visiting these other parts of Turkey. Free wifi which worked well in the rooms, decent buffet breakfast (cereals, fruit, Turkish style breakfast of olives, tomatoes, cucumber, cheese etc, eggs, sausages, tea, coffee, juice, breads), rooms were not huge but enough space to move around and very clean with a tea/coffee facilities,TV, wardrobe to hang some clothes, and with Air-con, nice restaurants near by (try the testi kebap (pottery kebab) at the Ozlem Restaurant across the road up the little alley, or the Sultanahmet Fish House about 100metres down ghe road crom the Basilica Cistern), and as mentioned before all the sights (the Hagia Sofia, Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace, Spice Bazaar, Grand Bazaar) are all within walking distance. Hotel is situated halfway between two tram stops (walk out of the hotel and the tram line is right in front of you) which means easy access to all parts of the Old City and can also take you across the Galata Bridge towards Galata Tower, Taksim area and the Dolmabache Palace. Also situated ithin walking distance to the Eminonu ferry port, for ferries along the Bosphorus (tip: catch the hop-on/hop-off Bosphorus ferry from acorss the Galata Bridge at Kabatas (end of the tram line), its about 12 euros per person and it does a round trip up the Bosphorus, with numerous stops n both the European and Asian sides of Turkey, as the name suggests you can hop off at any stop and explore the area before hopping back on again at the designated ferry stops and continuing your journey; the ferries run frequently throughout the day and are much better value in seeing different parts of Istanbul's surrounds than the tours you can get from Eminonu which don't stop at all). I would recommend anyone travelling to Istanbul to make Hotel Ilkay your base, and would definitely stay here again.
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