Generously sized rooms, including family units that sleep up to four
Free breakfast on rooftop terrace
Free afternoon tea service
Free airport transfers with stays of three or more nights
Free on-site parking and free Wi-Fi throughout
Ornate, Old-World decor can feel stuffy and dated
Smoking rooms available (a pro for some)
Once a private Ottoman manor home, the Tashkonak Hotel in the Old City of Istanbul is a refurbished, 19th-century property with 33 rooms and a rooftop cafe overlooking the Sea of Marmara. The three-pearl hotel opened in 1999 and offers an Old-World experience, with traditional decor, tea served each afternoon, and a free breakfast buffet on the rooftop terrace. However, there are no elevators, and some may find the decor a bit fussy. Guest rooms are spacious, particularly by Istanbul standards, but units at the sister property -- the Tashkonak Studio Suites -- are markedly larger.
Affordable hotel with traditional ambiance popular with tourists
Taxi drivers may find it difficult to find the Tashkonak Hotel as it's tucked away on a quiet cobblestone street in Istanbul's Old City and hidden under an awning covered in greenery. The decor in this intimate hotel is a bit old-fashioned and stuffy, with lace squares covering the coffee table in the reception room, busy beige-patterned wallpaper, and reproductions of paintings. Upholstered chairs and settees in emerald- and ruby-colored fabrics and light fixtures dripping with crystal ornamentation add to the period vibe, plus painted ceilings bring a certain Turkish touch to the space. But tourist brochures, postcard racks, and chipped paint from moldings detract from the look. There's also a plant-filled rooftop terrace that's mostly enclosed in glass and has views of the Sea of Marmara.
On a quiet street in Istanbul's Old City, near Sultanahmet Square
The Tashkonak Hotel is a four-minute walk to Sultanahmet Square, home of the Sultan Ahmed (Blue Mosque), one of Istanbul's most famous attractions. The Catladi Kapi Bus Station is a seven-minute walk away. Topkapi Palace -- an iconic reminder of the splendid lives of the sultans -- is nine minutes away on foot; reaching the Galata Bridge, which spans the Golden Horn, takes about the same amount of time. The Hagia Sophia museum of history and architecture is a 10-minute walk from the hotel. The Istanbul Modern Museum is a 15-minute drive away or one hour by ferry and foot. Ataturk International Airport is 35 minutes away by car in the unlikely event that there is no traffic, while Sabiha Gokcen International Airport is a one-hour drive without traffic.
Spacious, well-maintained rooms with old-fashioned, stuffy decor
Rooms at the Tashkonak are dominated by gilded, jewel-toned fabrics, the occasional throw pillow, landscape paintings, and pale walls with dark wood doors. In other words, this is not a property for guests who want modern furnishings and contemporary fixtures. Beds have narrow, tufted headboards, and rooms come with upholstered armchairs or sofas and small desks. Some rooms have ornate painted ceilings and other have classic white molding. Rooms are spacious and come in a variety of configurations, including Family Rooms that sleep up to four. All rooms have air-conditioning, flat-screen TVs, electric kettles, mini-fridges, bath slippers, and safes. Bathrooms are small and have beige or black-and-white tiles and either walk-in showers or shower/tub combos.
Multiple freebies including breakfast, afternoon tea, and airport transfers
All guests at the Tashkonak have the option of a free breakfast, which is served daily in the pleasant rooftop cafe. Free tea is also served in the afternoons. The hotel provides free airport transfers for guests who stay three or more nights, and on-site parking is free for those with their own cars. The reception desk is staffed around-the-clock and includes a currency exchange bureau, plus tour-planning and car-rental services. Laundry can be done for a fee. Room service is available, but the hours are limited and can vary. Wi-Fi is free throughout the hotel.