10.01.2013 - 10.01.2013
Following are all of the hotels that we stayed at while in Turkey, with the exception of the hotel where we stayed the first night (which we don't recommend and shall remain nameless). I tried to remember to take photos of the actual rooms we stayed in, but in a few cases either forgot to, or didn't want to show them with the beds unmade and the rooms in the usual state of disarray we have them in! Please contact the hotels directly if you desire further information, including rates or reservations. Our travel agent made our arrangements; I have no affiliation with any of these hotels, received nothing from them, and never disclosed to them my intent to include them in any travelog or on-line rating. This information is simply offered for any travelers who may want to visit in the future.
Four Seasons on the Bosphorus - Istanbul (1 night)
This was probably our favorite hotel of the entire trip, with good reason, as it was also the most expensive. It's a gorgeous facility and judging from the dinner and breakfast we had, their food and service are outstanding. The location, while wonderfully scenic, is not terribly convenient to sight-seeing in the old city, and is probably not a good choice if this is your first pleasure visit to Istanbul. We stayed in room 2403, which is an upgraded room, although I don't remember the specific class.
Four Seasons at Sultanahmet (2 nights)
This was our second favorite hotel of the trip. To be fair, our room (112) there was quite a bit smaller (and less expensive) than the one at the other Four Seasons, and we never ate any meals there other than breakfast. But everything about it was top notch, and the location in Sultanahmet can't be beat. In case you're wondering, the hotel formerly was a jail (!) and still retains architectural fragments of its former life, such as the bars on some of the windows. Breakfast was good, although the offerings were not as large as at the other Four Seasons. This would be my first choice if returning to Istanbul for pleasure, vs. business.
Museum Hotel - Uchisar, Cappadocia (3 nights)
This cave hotel occupies a gorgeous setting halfway up to Uchisar castle, and is exquisitely decorated with museum quality artifacts that its owner collected. It is a traditional "cave hotel" in that it is built into the side of the mountain and many of the rooms actually have stone cave walls on one or more sides. All of the rooms have names rather than numbers and we stayed in a suite called "Ebrulli." This hotel is probably not a good choice for anyone who can't handle stairs very well, or who has a risk of falling. Building codes in Turkey aren't like in the US, so handrails aren't always installed where advisable. In their dinner restaurant, food was good, and service was slow, although they appeared to be trying very hard to please. Breakfasts were very good.
Key Hotel - Izmir (3 nights)
This hotel is sited beautifully along the waterfront in Izmir. Our water-view room (111) actually consisted of two bedrooms each with an en-suite bathroom, with a sitting room in between. Having this extra bedroom was a nice surprise, and helped when I developed a cold and was coughing a lot. Frankly, we found all of the concealed electronic controls in the ultra modern-styled hotel room a little baffling and frustrating. It was irritating, for example, to have to use a TV remote and cycle through menus to close the window shades at night. If you stay there, take a 10 year-old child along with you to operate the electronics! Mostly Turkish (vs. western) food items are offered at breakfast. Don't order fried eggs, for example, or you'll get eggs that have been deep-fat fried and unrecognizable. We never ate dinner there, as there were more appealing restaurants close by.
Istanbul TAV airport hotel (1 night)
The only reason to stay here is if you have a long international layover or an early morning departure, as we did; otherwise, stay in the city. Be aware that there are two different sections in this hotel: In the portion designed for in-transit passengers not clearing immigration in Turkey, there are no windows. We stayed in the other, nicer, area that makes up the majority of the hotel. It's a pretty standard hotel, clean and nice. We did not eat there, and so cannot comment on the food. Staff were nice and there is a shuttle (which is NOT clearly marked, at least from the domestic terminal pick-up point) running between the hotel and the airport. It is a difficult and confusing walk from the airport, so the shuttle is definitely advised.