Best Western Empire Palace Hotel

, Istanbul, Turkey
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Best Western Empire Palace Hotel

, Istanbul
4 star

Rooms: 35

17 Hocapasa Mah - Istanbul - 34110 - Turkey Hotel Website | | 0090 212 514 54 00
406 Traveller

Reviews - Best Western Empire Palace Hotel

Historical Traveller Reviews of Best Western Empire Palace Hotel

The wonderful Empire Palace

from Efes2
We have just return from this fabulous hotel in the heart of Istanbul.
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
Bait and switch!! I reserved 2 rooms at the Empire Palace through in June 2007 and had a Best Western confirmation number. Upon arrival, both my guests and I were taken to the Hotel Amber. I booked the Empire Palace specifically for its location and amenities. The Hotel Amber is not in the same location or of the same quality. One of my guests uses a wheelchair, so the impact of this change was not insignificant. No explanation for the change was given and no price discount or other compensation was offered. It was late at night so we had no real options to go elsewhere.

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 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 location

from AmyKate
Just back from a long weekend staying at the best western empire palace. Very good location, about 40 mins from the international airport.
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 Average

from TinaAustralia
Not a bad hotel, but certainly not a 4 star standard!! Location was good in Sultanahmet, old city, however, having now been there, Taksim is probably a better place to stay in.
Hotel staff was quite nice, but not enough to compenstate for the state of the hotel!!

Nice stay at Empire Palace

from LucyJeannie
Stayed for 4 nights from April 25th to May1st 2007. Not the cheapest hotel (€95 per night double room) and the room was absolutely tiny. But it was quiet, very clean, the staff was friendly and helpful, lovely decor, loved the breakfast on the top floor in the veranda overlooking the Bosphorus and the Topkapi gardens. There is a hamman but it's quite expensive, €30 for 1/2 hour. Walking distance from the main sites, just down the street from the Topkapi palace. Overall good stay.

Wonderful Selection.

from bluehiller
My son & I stayed 4 nights at Best Bestern Empire Palace. The hotel is so central to all the attractions in Istanbul. Very clean and a helpful staff. Excellent free hot breakfast. This hotel is in walking distance to Grand Bazaar, Blue Mosque, Ferries & other boats and Spice Bazaar. Right in the heart of the city. Great location! We highly recommend this as an excellent choice for a budget hotel. We were able to take a van service to airport which saved quite a bit of money. Agency is right near hotel. Excellent eating establishments in area of Grand Bazaar. This hotel was a real "find" and we highly recommend it. Betty Lou & Mark Field

Check your reservation!

from xbl
On the whole I enjoyed my stay here for 5 nights. Location can't be beat, rooms were small but nice, good free breakfast, and free high speed internet. Occasional lapses in housekeeping (some towels not cleaned every day), walls somwhat thin, but no serious complaints.

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 Value

from jynsbn
The Good…

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.

Other/General Istanbul…

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
We picked this hotel because of the central location to the attractions and also because it was in the "Golden Horn" section of Istanbul, which was very old but offering an amazing array of diversions close at hand! This hotel was a 17th century Ottoman Palce that was recently renovated, and althought it was small(35 rooms) the hotel was well staffed, the rooms were very clean and service was great. Upon first look, the hotel appeared to be in a seedy sidestreet in Istanbul right down the hill from Hagia Sofia.. which is actually true, but you couldnt beat the location and seeing the amazing variety that Istanbul has to offer. The trolley ran right in front of the hotel and at about 1.10 Turkish Lira per trip this was the best bargain around.. no need for a rental car! ( You wouldnt want to drive here anyway we found out as the drivers are absolutley insane!) The hotel had a modern lobby with a coffee bar/lounge just past reception and the service was impeccable. The rooms were well appointed in red velvet spreads and dark woods and the bathrooms were lavishly appointed in heavy slate style tile. The restaurant on the top floor overlooked the Bosphorus straight, had consistent service, good food and friendly staff and we always had a decent meal there. The basement had its own "hammam"(or Turkish Bath) which was nothing to write home about but still wasnt offered even in more expensive hotels.We were walking distance to the Spice Bazaar and Hagia Sofia , Grand Bazaar and the Blue Mosque but you could easily take the trolly to all of these destionations. "Cafe Homeade "was right across the street and you couldnt find a better restaurant.. .. amazing service , great food and a friendly atmosphere. The owner of the restauraunt also happens to own a Turkish rug store a few doors down,(everyone seems to own one) with great prices and no pressure shopping which is hard to find in Istanbul( Yes we bought a rug and its flawless). Dont miss The Gar Bar down the street and see Alex.. Great sports bar with cheap beers and fresh authentic Turkish food!The hotel was the ideal place for home base and offered us the perfect place to enjoy Turkish culture! The prices were great and we will definately stay here again when we come back!

Excellent Place for Young Couple

from misbah1
My bfriend and I stayed at the hotel, for 1 1/2 weeks, it was fabulous. Very friendly staff, excellent breakfast menu, although it is a bit rowdy because you can hear your neighbor, the hotel was superbly clean, the staff was aamazing, and oh I miss those jams upstairs. I would KILL to have a taste of those again. Superb!

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

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  • best western empire palace
  • Address: 17 Hocapasa Mah - Istanbul - 34110 - Turkey
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