Sirkeci Mansion, in the heart of Old Town Istanbul, has won a TripAdvisor Award every year since 2009. I now know why. The service is impeccable. Feedback is encouraged and acted upon. The staff are all incredibly friendly and greeted me by name. The concierge service is of a particularly high standard.
At your breakfast buffet in the morning, you will find a daily newsletter at your table, giving you tips, Turkish phrases and insider knowledge to events in Istanbul. Every day, the hotel runs an activity (included in your room rate). Mondays, to compensate for the fact that many museums in Istanbul are closed, there are two. They range from walking tours, to street food tours, and even a short cooking class. The cooking class I observed during my stay was a small group having lots of fun chopping and cooking things.
The hotel itself is family owned and run and a mere 10 minute walk from major sites such as Aya Sofia, the Blue Mosque and Topaki Palace. The owner is a passionate boutique hotelier with a particular interest in local sustainable tourism. He, along with the various associations he established, helped build the Sirkeci area into the charming tourist destination it is today. His own hospitableness and charm spill over to his staff.
The hotel is made up of 52 rooms, with a selection of standard, triple, family rooms and larger, deluxe suites, some with a balcony and fabulous views over the Gulhane Park and Bosphorus Sea. The decor is of a simple Turkish design and you will find a welcome note and Turkish delight in your room (delightful!).
The roof terrace has amazing views across Gulhane Park and out to the Bosphorus and is transformed into a restaurant in the summer time. The views, coupled with the food, make it a popular choice for outsiders as well so it’s recommended that you book in advance if you’re visiting during high season.
Sirkeci Mansion is popular with couples and independent groups (not large tour groups), looking for a hotel in a peaceful, historic location. You won’t find any late night clubs here.