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Hagia Sophia Hotel Istanbul Old City 3.5

Istanbul, Turkey

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • In the Old City, near several major historic sites
  • Interior design impressively fuses Middle Eastern and Western styles
  • Large rooms have coffeemakers and minibars, plus modern bathrooms
  • Many rooms have views of the Hagia Sophia
  • Restaurant and bar on-site
  • Lovely terrace with panoramic views
  • Meeting room and business center
  • Free Wi-Fi and parking

Cons

  • Room decor is a bit bland for Istanbul
  • Some complaints about room cleanliness
  • Breakfast not included in all rates
  • Bathrooms are shower only, no tub
  • No gym

Bottom Line

Located within walking distance of the Basilica Cistern, Hagia Sophia Museum, and Blue Mosque, the 63-room Hagia Sophia Hotel Istanbul Old City is an upper-middle-range hotel with distinctive interiors that fuse elements from Western and Middle Eastern design. Spacious guest rooms have minibars, coffeemakers, and free Wi-Fi, though decor is a bit bland and some guests complain about cleanliness issues. The property has a restaurant, pub, and terrace with panoramic views, but there's no fitness center. Travelers looking for a more ornate, historic look may prefer the White House Hotel Istanbul, which has similar rates though it lacks an on-site restaurant.

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Scene

A grand combination of modern polish and Middle Eastern details

The exterior of the Hagia Sophia Istanbul Old City doesn't hint at the palatial majesty of its lobby and common areas. From the outside, the cream-colored walls and horizontal windows are refined, upscale, and a bit bland. The terrace's cafe tables, wooden chairs, and topiary trees are nice accents, but none of these elements prepare guests for the lobby's exalted ceiling with bold white-and-tan stripes that are echoed in the shiny, high-polish floor. Paired with these sleek, contemporary lines are alternating wooden wall panels and white arabesque panels dotted with triangle-shaped cutouts that let in light through the windows they cover. The result is both austere and sublime. Other common areas of the hotel, such as the meeting room and restaurant, have a subtler take on the same motifs. The North Shield bar, however, opts for a very different style, taking inspiration from typical U.K. pubs. While it's all well executed, extending the interior's dramatic design to the exterior facade would make for a better first impression.

Location

Near the center of the Old City peninsula, within walking distance of many historic sites

Situated in the Sultanahmet section of Istanbul, the hotel is in a great location for tourists who want to explore the Old City's historic sites on foot. Not only is the Hagia Sophia basilica able to be seen from many of the hotel's rooms as well as its terrace, the museum is only a five-minute walk away. Topkapi Palace, which was home to Ottoman royalty for four centuries, can be reached in seven minutes on foot, while Basilica Cistern, one of the largest cisterns in Istanbul, is just down the street from the hotel, about a minute away. Visitors traveling by public transport can walk to Sultanahmet light rail station in five minutes. Taxis, buses, and trams are also easy to access. Istanbul Ataturk Airport is about a 25- to 40-minute drive from here, depending on traffic. 

Rooms

Sleek, contemporary rooms with espresso-makers and minibars 

The 63 rooms at the Hagia Sophia Hotel have a contemporary design, utilizing dark wood and large mirrors to create sleek, sophisticated interiors. Not quite as luxurious as the lobby and common areas, decor is a bit more subdued here. But the spacious rooms do have some attractive accents, like nightstands with stained reliefs of birds. A large wooden accent wall behind the bed offers the natural beauty of the grain as another design element. Beds are comfy but not quite plush. In-room perks include coffee- or espresso-makers, minibars, flat-screen TVs, safes, free Wi-Fi, and bathrobes. Bathrooms have modern finishes, with shower stalls, but no tubs. Glass walls separating the bathrooms from the bedrooms might pose privacy issues for some, though these have vertical venetian blinds. Guests should note that there have been some complaints about cleanliness issues in rooms.

Features

Terrace with views of Hagia Sophia, restaurant, pub, meeting room, and small business center

The hotel has several amenities, but its terrace is the most impressive. While the black cafe tables and wooden chairs are all serviceable, the panoramic view of the Hagia Sophia is outstanding. The hotel's restaurant serves a combination of Turkish and continental cuisine, and has the capacity to serve groups as large as 250 people. Breakfast is included in some rates. The North Shield bar is modeled after a traditional British pub and serves pub fare. An urbane meeting room is unexpectedly stylish, plus there's a business center with a computer and a printer. But the lack of a gym will likely disappoint some travelers. Free Wi-Fi is available throughout.

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Address

Alemdar Mah. Yerebatan Cad. No:13 Eminonu/Cagaloglu, Fatih, Istanbul 34122, Turkey

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