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“Lovely hotel, Great location, Miserable staff”
Review of Ajia Hotel

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Ajia Hotel
Ranked #477 of 1,141 Hotels in Istanbul
Certificate of Excellence
Brighton, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Lovely hotel, Great location, Miserable staff”
Reviewed 23 April 2014

We booked this hotel for four nights for the second part of our week's stay in Istanbul. We had spent the first 3 nights in a hotel in the heart of the old city and the customer service we received in the first hotel was second to none and was in stark contrast to that which we received at the Ajia.
On the day we arrived, we had spent the day completing our visits to the tourist attractions in the old city and had locked our valuables in our suitcases. As we arrived in reception, the young man on reception asked for our passports and we had to undo our suitcases in reception to find them. It was clear the receptionist was not amused; he was curt and monosyllabic. This was our first impression of the hotel which did not improve throughout our stay.
We booked the hotel as a quieter and more tranquil alternative to being in the frenetic city centre and we were looking forward to putting our feet up on a sun lounger (as depicted on the hotel website). However, April is clearly the beginning of their season and there was not a single piece of furniture to be seen on the decking/Quayside, despite the temperature reaching a respectable 20 degrees during the first couple of days of our stay.
We went to the bar to find a solitary barman and ordered two gin and tonics - apart from a nod and a thank you - no further interaction from the barman (we weren't expecting a hearty conversation but a 'welcome to the Ajia wouldn't have gone amiss). There was not another soul to be seen in the hotel for the time we stayed - until the Saturday evening. We dined in the hotel restaurant on the first night. The food was excellent but modern, contemporary cuisine which is quite pricey compared to other local restaurants. We also had breakfast the following morning. However, we felt very uncomfortable being the only guests dining and as the staff were completely non communicative (not even, 'how is your stay? Can we do anything to help? What lovely weather, etc.'), we chose not to dine in the restaurant again for the rest of our stay. It was just too painful.
In the hotel information manual in our room, there was information about a free boat taxi service to take us across to the other side of the Bosphorus. When my husband went to the reception desk to enquire, we were informed the boat was 'damaged' and this service was not available. Instead we told to take the boat taxi from the port (Kanlica) just five minutes walk from the hotel. This we did, but it costs (for 2) 20 Turkish lira per return trip. Not a lot of money but, there was no offer to cover this from the hotel in lieu of their usual service not being available. The hotel manual also suggested that we ask about any sightseeing we'd like to do. My husband asked about boat cruises on the Bosphorus. The receptionist was unable to suggest anything of any use - no information of companies to contact for example. We ended up doing our own investigating using the very sporadic wireless (I had to complain about the wireless connection by day 2 and was then informed that we needed separate log-ins. This was then provided but clearly would not have been had I not asked).
We found that in fact, you can take the public ferry for 25TL from Kanlica and see the top part of the Bosphorus from the public ferry.
The cost of staying (room only) at this hotel - even though we got a deal through the Guardian for half price accommodation, was not insignificant as we still payed 180 euros per night. Had we been paying the full amount - 360 euros a night, we would have shipped out to another hotel as, the room was barely worth £165 per night, let alone over £300. We had a room on the ground floor level with views of the Bosphorus - very beautiful and our room was modern and stylish. Very comfortable bed and a spacious bathroom. However, had we been given this room in the height of the season, it would have been a nightmare as this was exactly where all the chairs and sun loungers would have been placed (had they been available) and, the taxi boats which brought wedding guests on the Saturday night, moored (repeatedly) outside our window.
Having spent the Thursday and Friday day and evenings in the hotel in splendid isolation (clearly no other guests visible) the Saturday was a different story. We'd been out exploring during the day and returned to our room at around 4pm to be informed (via a note left on our bed) that a wedding was taking place that evening and we therefore could not eat in the restaurant but could order food in our room. The staff had not breathed a word of this during our interactions to this point. Had we known about the wedding and had they informed us sooner, we may have chosen to stay out for the evening or, book elsewhere. Because of the tardiness of informing us, that option was not available to us.
Our room was located underneath the restaurant and the music and noise went on until around 1am. We were travelling home the following day and this was the last thing we needed on the final night of our holiday.
It may be a different story if you stay in this hotel in the height of the season. It may have been a different story if we had been paying full price (we certainly were made to feel as if we were an inconvenience). My advice therefore is, this is a lovely hotel for conferences and weddings but I'd steer clear if you're thinking of staying for a restful break. It is definitely not worth the prices they charge for the room per night.

Room Tip: Avoid staying on a Saturday evening. Ask for a room away from the Restaurant. Ask for a room on the...
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  • Stayed April 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank ameier
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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178 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
  • Location
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (32)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Turkish first
  • Any
English first
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 1 April 2014

This is a nice option if you're in Istanbul for a good couple of days (any less and you'll just be exhausted by all the travelling back and forth) and want to take it easy at a quiet location that's away (far away) from the hussle and bussle. That being said other than the lovely view and decent facilities, the hotel could improve it's offering by having spa facilities/treatments/gym (as there is very little to do in the area) and a menu with more local options.

The rooms are a bit dated but are still very nice with great views and very comfortable beds. I loved the mattress I slept on and asked the hotel reception about it. Not only did the gentleman I spoke to confirm the make but he went out of his way to provide the exact model as well. Unfortunately the service I received from him was an exception; while not poor, the staff could have been more helpful, informed and friendly especially as there were quite a few issues with the internet and with trying to arrange transport to Eminonou on the weekend. Most of the time we were met with a confused reply to our queries. We were never really able to get the wifi to work which was a real problem as we counted on having access to the internet to help us make plans.

Pros:
- Lovely atmosphere, large rooms and very nice beds

Cons:
- Location: it took 2.5 hrs to get there from the airport, it is quite a trek to the old city and despite it being advertised, the boat service costs about 100 Euros each way so it's not really an option unless one is willing to splash out
- Wifi was down when I was there and entertainment selection on TV was limited in English

  • Stayed March 2014, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank EWCT
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 30 March 2014

A lovely hotel and location, although if you want to spend time in the city it takes about an hour's travel to get there cheaply. First the bus (take bus nr 15 p) near the hotel to Uskadar, then a Ferry to Eminuno, then the Tram (T1) to the old area and Bazaar or you can go by private water taxi but this is very expensive (Euro 100 one way!). Painless trip though and fun to experience 'local' life in Uskadar and Kanlija (we did not see one foreigner on the bus or Ferry). The service from the hotel staff was really good, the food excellent although the menu was a little pricy when compared with some really good restaurants in Istanbul which would also offer more Turkish dishes. Pity the hotel does not offer some gym facilities nor does it have a pool, especially if you are staying more than 3 days! Whilst we loved the setting, the dolphins, the ships coming past, I would next time stay a little closer to Istanbul centre, where you can find a number of other very good boutique hotels, especially in the Beyoglu area. This would save you 2 hours traveling a day.

Room Tip: You pay extra for a room with a view of the Bosphurus, but worth it. No pool nor fitness facilities...
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  • Stayed March 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Daniel D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Norway
Level Contributor
12 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 26 February 2014 via mobile

Never felt more like a princess! Getting up in the morning, watching dolphins jump in the river before breakfast! Beautiful rooms, great staff and service, and the food (both breakfast and dinner) was amazing! I am looking forward to going back there again!

Stayed May 2013, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
1 Thank Tskjef
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Dubai
Level Contributor
82 reviews
32 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 60 helpful votes
Reviewed 26 February 2014

Usually very pricey, I think we got lucky and got a nice attic room for a decent price.

If you like architecture like we do, it is worth a visit just to see the place. Plus the location is superb as far as we are concerned: a bit far from the hustle and bustle. Oh yes, they have a complementary shuttle boat to take you to the other side of the Bosphorous. We stayed at the Ciragan last time in Istanbul. Of course a beautiful hotel, but for some reason this one was more unique.

Stayed October 2013, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
1 Thank BecharaYen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ellicott City, Maryland
Level Contributor
27 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 December 2013

While the A'jia is a boutique hotel given that it's small and quiet (except Saturday nights) with good service, it is most certainly not a 5 star establishment. I am fine with the hard-to-reach location and minimalist décor in the lobby. Even the loud crowd on the weekend did not bother me much. What matters most to me is my room, which truly was dated and desperate for an upgrade. We were told while booking that we would be given a bigger room (subject to availability) but when we asked for it we were told they did not have any available. I found this just a little hard to imagine as this was middle of November and the hotel was miles away from the main tourist spots.

Anyway. After I got used to the tired, small-ish room we were given I noticed the cute treats on the table and discovered the large bathroom. The bed was extremely comfortable and all toiletries, towels & bathrobes were replaced daily. Even the complimentary treats. The two best things about the hotel would be the service and the breakfast. I loved that their breakfast was all Turkish - different kinds of cheese, jam and bread with Turkish sausage. No complaints there whatsoever. The view of the Bosphorus and the building being situated right on the water's edge, although exciting, offers little during the winter months. We also ended up never using the complimentary shuttle boat because we always left before the service started and returned after it stopped for the day. Check-in, and check-out, was a breeze.

Weighing out the pros and cons I would not return here until they go through a full renovation. The dated, old rooms are not worth the rates and long journey from old Istanbul and back. If guests have to sacrifice so much of their time, energy and money to stay here the hotel simply must give more in return. Right now there is no way of justifying staying at the A'jia instead of at a nice, boutique hotel in Sultanahmet.

  • Stayed November 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank ShababSaad
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Chesapeake, Virginia
Level Contributor
13 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 November 2013 via mobile

Beautiful view over the Besphorous, and delicious supplemental breakfast I enjoy it a lot, nicely decorated room with lovely balcony perfect for couples where they can enjoy a cup of hot tea and enjoy the view of the other side .
Helpful staff ,the only drawback is it's location away from the down town so if you have rental car you'll have no problem

Stayed December 2012, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
Thank Amna23
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Ajia Hotel

Property: Ajia Hotel
Address: Cubuklu Cad. Ahmet Rasim Pasa Yalisi No:27 Kanlica, Beykoz, Istanbul 34812, Turkey
Region: Turkey > Istanbul
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #477 of 1,141 Hotels in Istanbul
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £££
Hotel Class:5 star — Ajia Hotel 5*
Number of rooms: 16
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
A’jia Hotel awarded by the 2009 Condé Nast Johansens Award for Excellence as “Most Excellent Charming Hotel” in Europe.A distinguished boutique Hotel, a’jia is a traditional Ottoman mansion that jewels the Asian shores of the Bosphorus. ... more   less 
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