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Hotel Amira Istanbul 3.5

Istanbul, Turkey

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • Attractive rooms combining modern amenities with warm traditional decor accents
  • Five- to 15-minute walk from Istanbul’s main historic sights
  • Ample breakfast buffet includes assorted breads, jams, cheeses, and olives
  • Public roof terrace with a great view
  • Wi-Fi throughout hotel and free mobile routers to borrow
  • Small spa with sauna and whirlpool tub available for private use

Cons

  • Standard rooms are on the small side
  • Few rooms of any class have balconies or views
  • Lower-floor rooms can be a bit dark
  • Fitness area is tiny and cramped

Bottom Line

This 32-room, upper-middle-range boutique hotel is one of the most popular options in the Old City, and stands out for its central location, personal family-run atmosphere, excellent free breakfast, and stylish rooms. It is a five-minute walk to the Blue Mosque, and within a 15-minute walk of all the major attractions in Sultanahmet. The standard rooms are a bit on the small side, and few rooms in any category have balconies or views – though there’s a fine panorama overlooking the Marmara Sea from the rooftop terrace. Otherwise, the hotel has little in the way of public areas or entertainment features. The mobile Wi-Fi routers on free loan to all guests are a nice touch to aid in visitors’ explorations of the city. In intimacy and charm, it's comparable to the nearby Hotel Ibrahim Pasha, but with larger rooms.

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Scene

A small, family-run hotel frequented by couples and families

Hotel Amira’s grey stucco exterior looks rather nondescript, if well-kept, but the hands-on owners who run the place have tried hard to make the interior feel like a home away from home for the couples (including honeymooners) as well as families who typically stay here. Visitors rave about the personalized service, including sightseeing and dining tips, offered by hotel staff, and little details like the bucket of loaner umbrellas by the front door reflect their attention to customer comfort. Guests enter into a narrow hallway lined on the upper floors with faux French balconies and covered by a glass roof with some subtle Art Deco-style floral patterns. The entry space cleverly connects what used to be two buildings, with an elevator and interconnected stairways accessing a web of short hallways. The layout is a bit maze-like but makes this small hotel feel even more intimate, and there are just a few rooms on each floor.

Location

Within a 15-minute walk of all main attractions of Sultanahmet

For visitors planning to do a lot of sightseeing, Hotel Amira has a prime location. It’s a five-minute walk to the Blue Mosque and Hippodrome, and a further five to 10 minutes on foot to Hagia Sophia, the Basilica Cistern, Topkapı Palace, and the city tram line. From the closest tram stop, Sultanahmet, it’s three short stops to the ferries of Eminönü (for access to Istanbul’s Asian side and the Princes’ Islands) and one more to Karaköy, where travelers can take the historic funicular up to Tünel Square and İstiklal Caddesi, the Beyoğlu neighborhood’s main thoroughfare. Some of the buildings in Hotel Amira’s immediate vicinity have seen better days, but there are nearby shops for both basic needs and souvenirs, as well as some restaurants, though a larger concentration of eateries can be found on and around Divan Yolu, a 10-minute walk away. The hotel’s street is a bit off the beaten path, but there’s business cards at the front desk with a map on the back that guests can use to navigate back home, or show to a taxi driver. It's a 30-minute drive to the airport if traffic is good (which is always a big if in Istanbul).

Rooms

Large, unfussy rooms with neutral decor and subtle style accents

The rooms at Hotel Amira are all similarly decorated, mostly in clean white with light-wood floors, hand-painted ceilings, deep burgundy curtains, and patterned bed runners to warm things up. The 32 rooms are split nearly evenly between standard category, which run a bit small, and more spacious deluxe category, with one of the Deluxe Rooms labeled an “open-plan suite” with sitting area, balcony, and a sea view. A total of four rooms have balconies. Only a handful of rooms look out toward the sea, and those on lower floors feel a bit dark. Thick glass in the windows does a good job of blocking out traffic noise from the street.

All rooms have wall-mounted flat-screen TVs in varying sizes; a kettle and assortment of instant coffee and tea bags; two wine glasses, a bottle opener, and a small ice bucket and tongs; a hairdryer; a full-length mirror; and a safe. Deluxe Rooms add a Nespresso machine. The bathrooms are not particularly large, but adequately sized by Istanbul standards, and have either rain showers or small shower/tub combos, along with bathrobes and a selection of toiletries. An adjacent single and Deluxe Room can be accessed through (and closed off by) the same hallway door, allowing the pair to serve as a kind of family suite.

Features

A roof terrace with a view, hearty breakfast buffet, and small spa

Typically open from April to November, the large rooftop terrace has a striking view across the Marmara Sea; in the other direction, the minarets of the Blue Mosque poke into the skyline above the surrounding buildings. In the warm months, guests can take their breakfast here, using the phone on the wall to call up for more tea. In high season, there’s sometimes live music in the evening on the terrace.

The basement floor holds a very small, cramped fitness area – four or five cardio machines and a single bench with a handful of free weights – and a nicer spa area that can be reserved (for an extra fee) for private use. The spa has a big whirlpool tub, a small dry sauna, lounge chairs and couches for relaxing, and a massage room. There’s no on-site masseuse but the hotel has one on call for guests who want to employ their services. These features are similar to offerings at other boutique hotels in the area, though the Levni Hotel and Neorion Hotel closer to Sirkeci have pools and more extensive spa facilities.

Breakfast is served buffet-style in a cozy room below the lobby, featuring a wide selection of traditional Turkish morning bites – assorted jams, olives, breads, dried fruits, cheeses, cold cuts, and sliced vegetables, as well as eggs and other warm dishes. In the summer months, a free afternoon tea is offered at around 5 p.m. in the same room, which serves as a bar at night and a general lounge area the rest of the day. A small winter garden on the same floor offers an attractive alternative seating option. There’s no real restaurant, but a la carte lunch or dinner meals can be prepared upon request.

The breakfast room has a small library of books about Turkey for guests to peruse, and a single computer for their use. There is Wi-Fi throughout the hotel and guests can also take a free mobile Wi-Fi router with them when they go out in the city. The hotel’s website and social media accounts offer suggestions for where to go and eat in Istanbul.

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Things You Should Know About Hotel Amira Istanbul

Address

Kucuk Ayasofya Mah. Mustafapasa Sok. No 43, Istanbul 34122, Turkey

Phone

+90 (0) 212 516 16 40

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