Most of the quibbling below is really only relevant to fellow gold/plat Marriott drones. If you're looking for a clean hotel with known standards and welcoming staff, this is fine, but it's best if you have business in the area. If you're coming to Istanbul to do the usual tourist trail - Topkapi, Hagia Sophia etc - prepare to spend a lot of time in taxis.
Location : the hotel's near the top of a hill on Barbaros Bulvari and the nearest metro station is Gayrettepe on the M2 line, which is over 3km away. Buses pass the front door but I didn't try them. Taxi from Ataturk was TL60 (40 minutes late at night) through the city; TL54 (30 minutes mid-morning) back to Ataturk via the highway. Taxi drivers are less than keen on handing out change - yes, what a shock - so get hold of lira coins and 10/5 denomination notes before you arrive. Taxi to Sultanahmet beside the Blue Mosque TL22/30 minutes, mid-morning traffic; mid-morning to Gülhane Park TL18 (I chose to walk uphill through the park to reach Topkapi); to the end of the Galata Bridge, TL13-15.
As an aside, more than one taxi driver was stumped by the location; not all drivers are born and bred locals and only one spoke English, so stock up on the little address cards from the hotel Navigators as there's a small map on the reverse.
The hotel stocks the Museum Card (3-day pass TL90; TL5 mark-up) and the travel pass pre-loaded with a small amount of credit; you can't top it up in the hotel.
All luggage and guests go through airport-style metal detectors at the door. Check-in was quick and easy. MR gold got an upgrade to a Bosphorus view room on the tenth floor. A reasonable if not generous size, comfortable bed, work table and a decent number of power points around the room. I used a standard European two-pin adapter without any issues. Floor to ceiling window with a very comfortable chaise longue affording views of the Bosphorus Bridge. Beautiful for the nightly lightning storms. Small bathroom, walk-in shower cubicle, robes on request. Sadly the in-room minibar is full and overpriced.
Internet was free as usual for MR gold/plat. I was given separate access codes for each of my three devices. If the internet isn't comped check the current price before you book; it won't be cheap. Speed was around the norm for Marriott, no drop-offs.
Television has a spread of around 50 channels. CNN is only available in Turkish. English speakers have CNBC, BBC and Bloomberg; German speakers are better catered for, predictably.
Breakfast is served in the restaurant on the M1 level, even for gold/plat. Turkish specialities plus omelette station, cereals, fruits, bread and pastries. Real bacon is unavailable, but beef bacon and 'vegetable ham' are on the menu. I passed. The 'watery pastry' isn't; it's actually very pleasant.
I tried dinner in the entrance level bistro/lounge bar, and in the rooftop bar. Service was amiable in both but much quicker in the bistro. The rooftop bar also had higher prices for similar food, and as I can't eat a view I defaulted to the ground floor.
Two annoyances, one Marriott specific, one general. Firstly the lounge is the least impressive I've experienced in any Marriott yet, and if you're tempted to pay extra for access, don't. Food offerings at lunchtime are a tiny spread of (cold) finger food, Turkish Delight and some fruit; two hot (meat-filled) offerings in the evening and desserts. There's a coffee machine and a spread of bottled water, but other drinks come in a large ice bucket, and once it's empty for the night, that's your lot. Yes, these are the ravings of a spoiled business traveller. The flip side is that if you spend over 50 nights a year in a Marriott, Marriott's end of the deal includes a well stocked lounge with a good supply of water and soft drinks, and sadly this isn't one of them.
More general is the minibar prices. It would be wrong of me to point out that the TL11 Snickers bar can be had from the Carrefour mini market next door for TL1 (turn left out the door). If you're willing to run the gauntlet of the 'No outside food or drink' signs similar savings can be had on the other soft drinks and snacks you didn't find in the lounge.
Conclusion ? Very helpful and friendly staff, clean hotel, distant from the tourist sights, some wild pricing. Management can fix most of the niggles, if they choose to.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- We are delighted to welcome you here at stylish Renaissance Polat Istanbul Bosphorus Hotel. Discover international excellence blended with local passion.''No matter where or why you travel, there's always something wonderfully new to be found.'' Is the integrated philosophy of Renaissance Istanbul Polat Bosphorus Hotel. Offering stunning views over the Bosphorus, the magnificent towering Renaissance Istanbul Polat Bosphorus Hotel is reflecting the modern life style norms with its architectural design. The hotel is located on the European side of Istanbul, in Besiktas, midway between the areas of Taksim and Levent, and in a walking distance to key shopping malls and Bosphorus' main boat harbor. This luxury newest addition to Istanbul hotels is designed to meet most demanding requirements of today's modern traveler, whether the trip is for business or holiday in Istanbul, Turkey. Renaissance Istanbul Polat Bosphorus Hotel offers you a comfortable accommodation with its 213 rooms accompanied by a breathtaking Bosphorus view. You can organize your successful and unforgettable events with the hotel's 11 meeting rooms which are mostly daylighted and a unique Ballroom.You can enjoy extensive food and beverage alternatives of our hotel such as Arts Restaurant with its modern cuisine and stunning design, Bar 212 where international excellence meets local passion accompanied by spectacular Bosphorus view and Living Room&Terrace with its pop in atmosphere and smells of coffee. Both fitness and spa are together at R Fitness & Spa. You can refresh your body as well as your soul. ... more less
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