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Armada Istanbul Old City Hotel 3.0

Istanbul, Turkey

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • Central location within a 15-minute walk from main historic sights
  • Rooftop terrace and restaurant with a sea view
  • Clean, charming rooms, some with sea views
  • Cozy indoor lounge-bar
  • Free breakfast that includes cheeses, pastries, and eggs
  • On-site parking lot that’s free for guests to use
  • Apartment-style accommodations available
  • Meeting/event rooms in an assortment of sizes

Cons

  • Nostalgic decor feels a bit dated and worn
  • Standard and Superior rooms are on the small side
  • In-room amenities are fairly basic
  • Rooms with sea view also overlook busy road
  • Summer weddings on the terrace can be noisy until late

Bottom Line

This 108-room mid-range hotel in a central part of Istanbul’s historic Sultanahmet district is one of the largest in the area, making it a popular choice for tour groups as well as families. The rooms are on the small and basic side, with nostalgic decor (mostly charming, if bordering on kitschy) that extends into the hotel’s public areas, which are sprinkled with the likes of vintage radios, street-vendor carts, and birds in cages. Separate apartment-style accommodations are available for guests who want a bit more space, or a more contemporary feel to their rooms. Features include a rooftop restaurant and terrace with sea views (shared by some of the rooms) where a quality free breakfast is served; there's also a cozy bar on the ground floor. The hotel is comparable in price to the Best Western Citadel across the street, which has similar facilities but a more standard-issue look.

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Scene

Hospitable historical hotel that’s starting to show its age

This long, low-slung building served as a barracks for soldiers in Ottoman times and an air of nostalgia pervades its interior, starting from the cavernous and slightly gloomy lobby, where wooden tables and chairs are set amid an array of bric-a-brac—including vintage suitcases, model ships, birdcages, and a marble fountain inhabited by small turtles. Long hallways upstairs with somewhat dingy wall-to-wall carpeting lead to the 108 rooms in three different categories. The hotel is frequented by tour groups in busy seasons, and its numerous function rooms, mostly on the ground floor, also often host meetings and weddings, which means it can get bustling. Guests generally give the staff high marks for their helpfulness.

Location

Tucked away in Sultanamet but a short walk from the sights

Squeezed between the shorefront road and the old suburban rail line on a secluded cobblestone street, the Armada Old City can be a bit tricky to find, but its location is more convenient than it might first appear. It’s within 15 minutes on foot to major sights like the Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, the Basilica Cistern, and the entrance to Topkapı Palace, as well as the tram line that crosses the Galata Bridge to Beyoğlu, passing the Eminönü ferries along the way. Two of the best-reviewed restaurants in Sultanahmet, the higher-end Giritli and Balıkçı Sabahattin, are within a five-minute walk of the hotel. The proximity to Kennedy Caddesi, the road that runs along the Marmara Sea, means a short trip to the airport — 20 minutes by car in light traffic — though some guests with sea-facing rooms have complained about road noise.

Rooms

Smallish rooms with a quaint "Old Istanbul" air 

Standard and Superior Rooms at the Armada Old City are the same size (215 square feet) and decked out in similar style, with wooden floors, simple white bedding, and dual-toned green walls with painted flower motifs. The difference between the two categories lies in what’s outside the room; Standard Rooms are on the lower floors of the hotel, while Superiors have a view looking out over the Marmara Sea or toward the Hagia Sophia or Blue Mosque. Either way, the small upholstered window seats (in all room categories) are a nice touch. Deluxe Rooms are larger, with a seating area and bigger work desk; some have lighter-colored walls that make them feel larger still. Deluxe Rooms have a full or partial Marmara Sea view. Most rooms in all categories have Turkish carpets on the floor and Ottoman-themed prints on the walls. 

All rooms have desks, flat-screen TVs of various sizes, kettles, minibars, air-conditioning, safes, and free Wi-Fi, which is also available throughout the hotel. The bathrooms have rain showers, hairdryers, slippers, assorted toiletries, and lightweight hammam-style bathrobes.

Two separate accommodation options provide additional choices for families and others who prefer a more apartment-style stay. The Armada Apartments on the next block has eight units decorated in a more contemporary style, with sitting areas, pullout sofa beds, and a wet bar area. Around the corner, two Ottoman-era wood houses have been renovated into the Stablesgate Houses & Studios buildings, one that can be rented as an entire unit with two double bedrooms, a full kitchen, and a washing machine, and the other split into two separate studios with partial kitchens.

Features

Terrace restaurant with a view, cozy lounge, and on-site parking

A free, big traditional Turkish breakfast buffet — cheese, breads, dried fruits, olives, and hot dishes, as well as an assortment of dry cereals — is served in the top-floor restaurant, where guests can eat inside or out on the terrace overlooking the Marmara Sea. A la carte selections are available for lunch or dinner. During the summer months, the restaurant often serves as a venue for Turkish weddings, which are typically large and can be noisy until late. During the month of Ramadan, it’s also a popular spot for the evening "iftar," or fast-breaking meal, which is served from a set menu.

On the ground floor, a large salon with colorful stained-glass windows hosts weddings and other events when the weather is inclement; a separate small, cozy bar with high-backed upholstered chairs and vintage radios on the walls is mostly used in the winter months as well. There are also five meeting rooms of various sizes on the ground floor, and a small carpeted room with floor cushions that’s billed as a play room for children.

The hotel offers free parking for guests in a private garage, use of a business center, and laundry service. Tours, transportation, and other services can be arranged.

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Address

Ahirkapi Sok. No 24, Cankurtaran, Fatih, Istanbul 34122, Turkey

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