Lush decor and striking spiral staircase in lobby atrium
Three on-site restaurants and lobby bar, plus 24-hour room service
Spa with free guest use of sauna and hamam
Small pool with waterfall and juice bar
Good variety at free breakfast
Free Wi-Fi throughout and free parking
Laundry and dry-cleaning service available
Airport transfer for a fee
Loud soccer complex across the street
Underwhelming features: tiny pool and fitness center with two machines
Air-conditioning only in season, leaving hot rooms
The Best Western Antea Palace Hotel & Spa is a 59-room upscale hotel in Sultanahmet, Istanbul’s historic district. Its lush traditional Turkish decor, with lots of red velvet, satin, and gilt furniture, gives a luxurious impression that the hotel doesn’t live up to. Three on-site restaurants, a spa and swimming pool, and a small fitness center are nice features, but all are modest here. Rooms are modern but small, with velvet details; some have views of the Sea of Marmara. Note that locals use the soccer field complex across the street well into the evening, leading to noise complaints. Those who appreciate the hotel’s old-town location and amenities would do well to consider the Yasmak Sultan Hotel. It’s in the same price category, but it has a quieter location and bigger pool.
Out-of-the-way location, opulent public spaces, but better value elsewhere
Marble stairs lead to the Best Western Antea Hotel & Spa’s understated and stately sandstone exterior. The hotel stands in contrast to its out-of-the-way neighborhood, which is either old and run down or full of character, depending on your perspective. Inside, the hotel’s lobby and public spaces are dripping with velvet, gilt tables, and gold and satin-tufted furniture. Red carpet and gold walls give an impression of opulence, as does the three-story atrium with a ceiling mural. Guests take a velvet seat at the wood-paneled reception desk and sip coffee or juice during check-in. The Best Western Antea Hotel & Spa is one of the less expensive upscale hotels in Instanbul’s old town. Though it ticks all the boxes when it comes to features, some it ticks just barely: the fitness center is a tiny room, the pool is very small. And while it’s within walking distance of some major sights, that walk includes some challenging hills. Other upscale properties, such as the Yasmak Sultan Hotel, deliver more bang for the buck.
Convenient Sultanahmet location, close to major sights, restaurants, and shops
With an out-of-the-way location -- even taxi drivers have a hard time finding it -- on a cobblestone street in the Sultanahmet neighborhood, the Best Western Antea Hotel & Spa has a great location for sightseeing. Several top sights are close by, and the area has many restaurants and shops. It’s also across the street from a loud soccer complex. From the hotel, it’s a an 11-minute walk to the Blue Mosque, and a 15-minute walk each to Hagia Sophia, the Grand Bazaar, and Basilica Cistern. Topkapi Palace is an 11-minute drive or 21-minute walk. The tram system is quick and efficient; the closest tram stop is a 10-minute walk uphill from the hotel. Istanbul Ataturk Airport is a 21-minute drive away.
Small rooms with velvet details, modern amenities, and tiny bathrooms
After the opulence of the public spaces, the rooms may seem a bit plain by comparison -- not necessarily a bad thing. Decor varies from room to room but includes plenty of plush velvet in curtains, headboards, and blankets, which are particularly striking on the round beds in the suites. Otherwise rooms are pleasant but small, with wood floors in most and simple wooden furnishings. Some have French balconies, and views are either of rooftops or of the soccer field across the street with the sea in the background. Ocean-facing rooms on higher floors have the best views. Rooms with a queen bed and two singles are convenient for families. Done up in white and chrome, the bathrooms are quite small, with tiny showers. Each comes with a hairdryer and a basket of toiletries, and slippers and bathrobes are provided. Rooms are well equipped with stocked mini-fridges -- complimentary water is refreshed daily -- programmable safes, electric kettles with tea and coffee, and individual AC that’s only on in season. Flat-screen TVs with cable are standard, and in-room Wi-Fi is free.
Three restaurants, spa with pool and vitamin bar, good breakfast, plus free Wi-Fi and parking
The Best Western Antea Hotel & Spa has three on-site restaurants and a lobby bar. All gilt and velvet opulence, the lobby restaurant serves Turkish cuisine. Off the lobby, the garden restaurant has a glass atrium and roses climbing the terrace, and the rooftop restaurant has good water views. Room service is available 24 hours. The hotel’s spa, which includes a very small infinity pool, sauna, and hamam, is free to guests, and spa services are available. A vitamin bar next to the pool has fresh juice and a relaxing vibe. "Exercise room" is a stretch for the tiny space where a treadmill and a stationary bike are shoehorned in. Breakfast, included in the rates, is a generous spread of mostly Turkish offerings, including many fresh options and a local cheese-based bread. The hotel has free Wi-Fi throughout and free guest parking. For a fee, laundry, dry-cleaning services, and airport transfers are available.
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