Best Western Empire Palace Hotel, Istanbul
Reviews - Best Western Empire Palace Hotel
Read 406 additional reviews of Best Western Empire Palace Hotel at TripAdvisor.
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Historical Traveller Reviews of Best Western Empire Palace Hotel
The wonderful Empire Palacefrom Efes2
The position is such that sights eg. Top Kapi Museum, Dola Bahce, Ayasofya and the Blue Mosque were only a walk or short taxi ride away.
The staff are excellent, very friendly and could not have been more helpful.
The Empire Palace's buffet breakfast has to be seen to be believed. Absolutely delicious.
Our thanks to everyone there.
Valerie and Kazim Akkus
Bait and Switch - DO NOT GO HERE!from Geezer869
I was told that both hotels are owned by the same person. I firmly believe that this owner uses the Hotel Amber as a place to shuffle individuals when large groups or "preferred" clients want to stay at the Empire Palace (Hotel Amber shows no availability on BestWestern.com regardless of the date requested; this looks like the owner manages his own "bookings" at the Hotel Amber so he can move confirmed reservations at the Empire Palace to the Hotel Amber as he pleases).
Stay away from both the Empire Palace and the Hotel Amber!!
a good locationfrom AmyKate
Room was clean and had 2 single beds, which was what we had asked for. has a wardrobe and a table and chair. bathroom is small, but has basin, toilet and shower unit. free toiletries. and big bath towels, not like the small ones hotels usually provide - so a definite bonus!
Breakfast was quite poor - if you like olives, cold meats and bread, you'll be fine
A lovely restaurant about 100metres from the hotel (turn left once you come out) - it's called Cafe Homemade. it's got a Turkish old woman sitting in the window rolling dough, so a crowd puller
Very Averagefrom TinaAustralia
Hotel staff was quite nice, but not enough to compenstate for the state of the hotel!!
Nice stay at Empire Palacefrom LucyJeannie
Wonderful Selection.from bluehiller
Check your reservation!from xbl
But I would recommend checking your reservation before coming to avoid an unpleasant surprise. When I arrived off a 24hr flight near midnight, I was told upon check-in that despite having confirmed reservations for 2 rooms for 5 nights, we would need to vacate one of the two rooms after two nights. The only explanation we were given was that there was a group coming and they needed one of our rooms.
I called the Best Western customer support line in the US, who promised to take care of it. Sure enough the next day, the general manager of the hotel said it was a misunderstanding, and that it was a request and not a demand that we give up one of our rooms. But now it was only for one night rather than three. When we declined, he did not protest.
I suspect this kind of stunt is pulled regularly--I had it happen to me a few years back in the region, and since that hotel was not part of a global chain I was out of luck. I commend Best Western for acting promptly, though would have preferred not to have to make an international call to the US.
This incident was the only blip on an otherwise pleasant stay. The best feature of the hotel is its location--walking distance to all the main attractions, and if walking is not your thing then the tram stop is a block away. Rooms were small but had everything you could want--free broadband, minibar, safe, satellite tv, modern nathroom. And the terrace on top was a nice place to start the day--partially obstructed views of the Haghia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, and the Bosphorus--with free breakfast of breads, pastries, eggs, fruits, and cheeses. The walls were a bit thin, both to adjacent rooms and to the outside, but as I am a late sleeper it did not bother me much.
I'd recommend this hotel--just make sure you get to stay here after you arrive!
Great Hoel, Great Location, Great Valuefrom jynsbn
Check in was smooth and easy. All of the clerks during our stay spoke very good English. All prices and exchange rates were clearly posted around the hotel and in the rooms. The lobby was clean and well appointed. The lobby bar, while not having a dedicated bartender was always available when we requested, even at 3AM when we wanted a beer from the bellman or front desk clerk.
The room was snug, but workable. It was very clean and well appointed. Housekeeping sprayed a lot of air-freshener everyday, but that was nothing that opening the window for a few minutes did not fix. The bedding was comfortable and extra pillows and an electronic safe were in the closet. The bathroom was also snug, but again not too small. The shower had good pressure and hot water came out within seconds. The bathroom amenities were not of the highest quality, but housekeeping keep everything well stocked. The bathroom amenities also included a toothbrush/toothpaste and a shave kit; the razor even had a comfort strip. The free wired LAN internet service (CAT 5 cables available upon request at no charge) was almost as fast as our cable service in the US and always worked.
The water quality looked fine, but was apparently unsafe to drink. The mini bar had free bottled water that was restocked everyday.
The hotel was very “eco friendly”. All lights in public spaces and hallways were on 10 second motion sensors. The elevator would shut down if not in use for more then 5 minutes. You find this a lot in Europe and Asia, but to an extreme degree at this hotel. I could not sleep one night and went down to the lobby to use my computer (free WiFi in lobby) and it was pitch black and found the front desk clerk sleeping on the couch (I almost sat on him by accident).
Housekeeping was terrific! They even folded my dirty underwear that I left on the bathroom floor and placed it on top of my suitcase. They do not start cleaning until 9 or 10AM, so we were not disturbed by any hall noise. All of my fiancé’s hair was cleaned from the drain every day and they offer towels that fit a robust American’s waist/chest. If you choose to stay here, you should really leave daily tips for the housekeeping staff because they are well worth it and do a great job! (Exceptions noted below.)
A better location there is not. The hotel is located where we considered the middle of the point of the “Golden Horn” to be. There is a street car stop a few blocks away (2 minute walk). And for 1.30YTL (about US$1) takes you everywhere you need to go. There is a person that sells you tickets from a kiosk at each stop so you never need exact change. There is also a transit police officer at every stop, so safety and security were never an issue. After the fist day we realized that we were within walking distance of just about everything. A 20 minute walk in any direction will get you to 70+% of the city’s attractions and all of the big/main stuff. A major ferry depot was also within a 10 minute walk. Drivers are aggressive and the trams sometimes came so close to the sidewalk that you could only walk single file.
Overall the hotel’s service was similar to what I would expect at a higher end boutique hotel, larger Marriott or even a nice Hyatt. When we arrived, we did not touch our bags until they were in our room. We asked for a power adapter that they did not have and when we asked where we could buy one, the bellman got some petty cash from the desk and went out and bought one for us to barrow. When we asked for new towels one afternoon, they were brought to us within 5 minutes and the person did not even wait for a tip.
In general we found food handling standards to be well below that of that of the US and breakfast at the hotel was no exception. They offered a decent spread of mostly local foods (no orange juice, just Tang), but also had eggs, cereal, cakes, etc. Regarding food safety standards, the eggs were always cold by the time we got to breakfast at 9AM, milk was room temperature and not on ice, block cheese offered with nothing sanitary to hold it with while cutting, the breads were soft at 7:30AM, but a little dry by 9AM, etc. The breakfast was offered on their rooftop (enclosed by glass in winter) and offered nice (slightly obstructed) views of the city.
The Not so Good…
We found auxiliary hotel services to be priced slightly high when compared with the cost of the room. A soda in the mini bar was about US$4-5, an airline-sized spirit bottle was about US$8-12. Imported spirits were very expensive in general (throughout the city). Dry cleaning was on par with most 3-4 star US hotels, aka expensive.
On our second day, we went to the front desk and asked where we could find a coin laundry mat. The front desk clerk took our non-hotel laundry bag and ran out the door. As he was leaving we asked how much it would cost and he replied that he would let us know. We assumed that he was going to a laundry mat and would pay the attendant to wash it for us. Later that afternoon we were presented with a $150 dry cleaning bill that we had to pay in cash on the spot. That was more then we spent on a three night stay! Later we complained and he refunded 25%, which we considered reasonable because it is not like we are fluent in Turkish and could have avoided the miscommunication. Still, US$5/pair of socks was more then my Wal-Mart socks were worth. This was disappointing.
On our third day we found a housekeeping master key in our suitcase. We tested it in the locks of two other rooms on our floor to confirm out thoughts.
Another point that we did not like was the staff’s use of fear (for lack of a better word) when it came to directing us to non-tourist places. They explained that other then a few specific areas, places were dangerous. We disregarded their advice and found many great places that we might not have had we not been a bit adventurous. One place they advised us not to go was an outdoor shopping strip that offered very high end shops (think NYC’s 5th Avenue) and the only two Starbucks that we saw in the city. There were about 20,000 well dress young adults on the pedestrian only strip and was a lot of fun. We obviously avoided dark alleys.
Noise does not bother me too much and you have to consider that you are in a major city, but there were some unpleasant aspects. The local mosques were happy to remind us to pray beginning at 6:30AM via speakers that broadcast all over the city. By leaving our windows open at night we could hear lots of stray cats and dogs fighting in the streets and trash collection. We could also hear the TV and phone in the room next door and down the hall.
Overall the price, value and service were so good that we decided to book an additional three nights at the hotel for a total of 6. It was well worth it and I would stay here again. I consider myself a very disconcerting traveler and this simple hotel won me over in the end through good basic service and location, although they do have room to improve.
Budget a few hundred extra dollars to be ripped off with at a bar, restaurant or in the Grand Bazaar. Excluding the laundry issue mentioned above, we were taken advantage of on two different occasions to total about $500. Once at a seafood place where they offered two different kinds of Sea Bass, one costing $10/lb. and another Sea Bass costing $130/lb. At the Grand Bazaar I would not recommend paying more then $15-20 for any single item. If your negotiations price anything above $20 you are being cheated. If a shopkeeper is carrying about $500,000 in inventory in his shoebox booth, he probably would not have to be there to hassle you. There is no such thing as a $3,000 broken antique watch.
Charming Ottoman Palace with a great location!from Scorpiobehr
Excellent Place for Young Couplefrom misbah1
Finally, there was amasjid across the street so we could hear the adhaan, call to prayer, every morning, and as a Muslim that was amazing peaceful and sweet. Although, we slept thru it. ;)
Love Istanbul, the best city in the world!
Also, we booked at 69/night, amazing rate.
Top Local Tips for Istanbul
Be sure to take boat trips around Istanbul - very cheap and you can see much Many restaurants in area near Grand Bazaar. They put trays of food in the window for you to see. We tried several and they were all very good.
Trams Istanbul trams are a very easy and cheap way of getting around so don't be afraid to try them
beware! istanbul i think was a beautiful country to go and see, but what ruined it for me was the culture of need to constantly haggle for everything, to the point where i found myself haggling for a packet of crisps. You have to be very careful of your money otherwise they will take almost triple price off you! Dont trust the taxi drivers, be very very careful of them. my mate had 50 lira snatched out of his wallet and pretended he had only taken 5 by showing another that he was holding back in his other hand! they will act as though they dont know where they are going, dont believe them, of course they know where topkapi palace...the equivalent of buckingham palace is, they just want the opportunity to keep stopping and pretending to ask people, take a map with you and offer to direct them if they reckon they really don't know!If someone recommends a place to you, eg. restaurant, do go..they are only looking out for their mate!
Other names for Best Western Empire Palace Hotel
- istanbul best western
- best western istanbul
- best western hotel istanbul
- best western empire palace
- Address: 17 Hocapasa Mah - Istanbul - 34110 - Turkey
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