Asia & Australasia

My hOtel: Four Seasons Istanbul at Sultanahmet, Turkey


myhotel

 

Hard to believe it was once a prison...

Hard to believe it was once a prison…

 

Pre-Arrival

–          Was there any pre-arrival communication by the hotel with myself via email or social media?

My stay was organised months in advance, via email (very organised, I know!) and prior to me arriving, the hotel did send out some tweets indeed. I was arriving very late (you can read about my trip here) and I wanted to make sure I was able to eat something on arrival.

–          Did I try to engage the hotel via Twitter? Did the hotel interact with me and made me feel welcome/special?

They did indeed.

–          Has the hotel tried to gather any personal information (e.g. preferences) prior to my stay?

At this stage, it is fair to say that the Four Seasons know me quite well – I never ask for anything special and if at a Four Seasons, I know everything I need will be there.

 

 

Arrival

I have really never visited a prison, but this one felt very homely.

I have really never visited a prison, but this one felt very homely. Photo by Four Seasons.

–          The wow factor! What was the hotel decor style?

We arrived past midnight and assume we were the last guests to check-in, so the doorman actually knew our names, which made for a very nice welcome. Our check-in form had been pre-filled in, so we were to complete check-in in our room – something that happens more and more and I find such a nice touch. Obviously at this time of the day (or night!), there were no queues and we really appreciated the gesture.

–          How quick and efficient was the hotel check-in?

Well, extremely efficient as stated before. We just signed everything and provided our credit card details.

–          Was I addressed by name once reservation has been located? (it is all about the small details, some others are outstanding with this, and I love it, like I do when I board an airplane)

Oh yes, right when we stepped out of our airport car.

–          Did I get an upgrade from my confirmed pre-booked room type?

I wasn’t sure which room I got, and was delighted to be given a one bedroom suite.

–          Did I feel genuinely welcomed by the hotel staff?

In all honesty, the staff were exceptional – and that is what made this stay so unique.

–          Luggage – how many people did I have to tip before the luggage made it safely to my room? This is cultural, I know

We actually never saw our luggage, which was taken straight to our room.

–          Wi-fi – was I told anything about it? Was there a charge?

All Four Seasons hotels now provide free wifi (at regular speed), and also offer a paid faster offer.

 

Room Experience

I never stayed at a suite at a Four Seasons I did not love...

I never stayed at a suite at a Four Seasons I did not love…

–          First impressions – décor, size and wow factor

Our suite was incredible and huge, and very very well-appointed. I loved how the gentleman who escorted us to our room prepared us for what was to come, by saying ‘you know this was a prison before? we tried to stay as true to the roots of this building and provide an experience as close as possible to the original’. I had to think twice to get what he was saying and really did laugh.

The suite has a large corridor, a great living room, bedroom, dressing area and a fab bathroom. More on that later.

–          Welcome amenity

Tough to beat a Four Seasons welcome... I tell you!

Tough to beat a Four Seasons welcome… I tell you!

Remember when I said I would be hungry and wanted to make sure there would be something to eat? Well, I wasn’t exactly expecting a model of the Bosphorus bridge, complete with a cheese selection, lots of nibbles and a bottle of red wine. But we ate it all, almost!

On the second night, we were surprised by some Gin & Tonics, which really was a nice touch.

–          The bed

Four Seasons beds have a real problem - you don't want to leave them...

Four Seasons beds have a real problem – you don’t want to leave them…

The bed was indeed wonderful and incredibly comfortable, as expected.

–          Closet/Wardrobe – proper hangers or those annoying ones where you need a PhD to get them out one by one? This is a personal pet peeve of mine. I can’t stand them.

No problems here!

–          Iphone Charger/Dock

There was a Bose docking station for iPhone 4 which we did not use.

–          Bathrobes and slippers

I always say I never use the bathrobes or slippers unless it is more of a spa hotel, but I had to. I had to. Why? Because the hotel provided me with kids slippers and adult small ones, and I thought it was the sweetest thing. For the record, I have small feet (size 36 EU, 3.5 UK, 6 USA) and hotel slippers are always huge. So I have to report I was heartbroken when the kiddie ones were a tad too small – but the others were OK. The hotel also provided 2 different types of robes, and I adored the printed ones. I did wear them around, and if they were a tad smaller, I would have purchased one.

It is all about the details... and do you recognise who is on that photo frame?

It is all about the details… and do you recognise who is on that photo frame?

–          Coffee and Tea

There was a Nespresso coffee machine, which we did not use.

–          Free bottled water

Of course, and changed daily.

–          Magazine selection – had some nice surprises and doesn’t happen often enough!

I had a copy of Four Seasons magazine.

–          Power sockets in useful places – we have more and more devices and we know where we want them! By the bed, by the working area.

We had a bit of an issue, but found sockets near the desk, where we charged all our devices.

 

Bathroom

Totally my kind of bathroom

Totally my kind of bathroom

–          First impressions – décor, size and wow factor

The first thing I noticed was the rug, which was very different from normal and really gave a sense of place to the hotel. I knew I was in Istanbul, Turkey, at all times and I loved the decor of the hotel. The bathroom was very well-appointed indeed.

–          Bath, shower and taps – I am looking for Duravits and Hansgrohes (or other fab brands) around the world. How fab was the shower? And a little pet peeve.. was I able to operate the shower without asking Mr. O for help?

We had a bath tub (which we did not use) and a fabulous shower room, which a very good shower head. I did have to ask Mr. O for instructions, but we now have a system where he goes first and then figures it out.

–          Towels – yes, please! How many and how soft and lovely?

Very very good.

–          Toiletries – own brand, super brand, baby ones or proper ones? I shall find out!

We had Bulgari toiletries, which are nice, although I am not keen on the shampoo/conditioner.

–          Amenity kit – I don’t want more sewing kits thank you very much, but I will need a shower cap.

I LOVED the clear liquid bags provided by the hotel (I only saw them once before at the FS Boston). I am not even ashamed to say that I brought them all back with me.

–          Hairdryer – is it a human one, or just something stuck to a wall that only makes noise?

I did not use it on this occasion, but located the hairdryer which looked proper.

 

Breakfast

The very nice breakfast room

The very nice breakfast room

–          Décor of breakfast room

We loved the breakfast room, especially the fact that we were able to enjoy an alfresco meal on the first day, and had to retreat indoors on the other days.

–          The spread (inc yumminess)

Mr. O declared this to be one of the Top 3 breakfasts he ever had – which is saying something. The spread pleased locals and any international tourists, and I have to say, the ‘Turkish options’ were outstanding. I have very good memories from my breakfasts in this part of the world and I won’t be forgetting this one in a hurry. I also discovered for the first time in 10 years that Mr. O was obsessed with honeycomb, which was one of the stars of the show.

No words, no words. Good thing calories do not count when you are abroad.

No words, no words. Good thing calories do not count when you are abroad.

–          Cost (I have seen a hotel charging €75 for breakfast – a tad much, maybe?)

We paid £35 for two (it was included in our room rate, but we still signed the bill), which was actually incredible value.

 

Bar

Not my favourite part of the experience, but the cocktails were awesome.

Not my favourite part of the experience, but the cocktails were awesome.

I have to confess, I did not love the bar – I found it too stiff and not very comfortable. There was also another area, where we ended up sitting and having a cocktail, but I found it uninspiring, quite a contrast with the rest of the hotel. The gin selection was quite limited (for Mr. O), but I had a great dirty martini.

 

General thoughts

–          How good and reliable was the wi-fi?

Worked very well indeed. No issues at all.

–          Did the hotel interact with me via Twitter during my stay?

A little bit, yes.

–          Location

How close can you get??

How close can you get??

If you are visiting Istanbul as a tourist and plan to visit the old town (you can read all about my trip here), this is possibly the best location ever. We were actually able to walk to quite a few places.

–          Cost – rooms starting from…

Standard rooms start from 380 Euros and suites from 740 Euros.

Beautiful courtyard.

Beautiful courtyard.

–          Would I recommend it to my best friend?

Without a doubt.

–          Would I stay again?

Any. Time. Any. Time.

 

Have you visited this hotel? What were your thoughts?

xo

Mrs. O

 

Disclaimer: I was a guest of Four Seasons Istanbul at Sultanahmet during this stay, but hopefully you will see that this has not influenced my thoughts about the property. 


View Comments (28)

28 Comments

  1. Victoria@ The British Berliner

    April 23, 2015 at 8:04 pm

    Absolutely looks divine. I’m a fan of the 4 seasons too as I like their style and comfort. Very nice indeed!
    Victoria@ The British Berliner recently posted..We had a pig’s ear in Lithuania and it was chewy!My Profile

  2. Becky Padmore

    February 12, 2015 at 6:32 pm

    That honeycomb looks seriously delicious!
    Becky Padmore recently posted..Where we really want to be right now #wishiwasreallyhereMy Profile

  3. the lazy travelers

    February 11, 2015 at 3:50 pm

    you know we’re dying to visit istanbul, and this looks gorge! and not at ALL prisony 😉
    the lazy travelers recently posted..wight twixtmas: a winter escape to the isle of wight, part 1My Profile

  4. Dilvin

    February 11, 2015 at 11:17 am

    What I love about Turkey is the standard of their hospitality. You can stay in the cheapest pension and they will still treat you like a five-star guest. Stay in something like this? The world is yours.

  5. Laura (@cocktailsandgelato.com)

    February 10, 2015 at 9:11 pm

    So beautiful! Turkey was on the summer 2015 list but got bumped in favor of Spain. Nice to see what I’m missing!
    Laura (@cocktailsandgelato.com) recently posted..Cocktail du Jour: Double CoconutMy Profile

  6. Kirsten

    February 10, 2015 at 5:18 pm

    I’ll be staying at their Bosphorus property when I am there in April and even though it’s not the same location it’s just made me that much more excited to stay with Four Seasons in Istanbul!!! Thanks for sharing, Ana.
    Kirsten recently posted..A Winter Wander in Central ParkMy Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      February 10, 2015 at 6:34 pm

      It is a lovely hotel that one too – and amazing views! Nothing to worry about 🙂

    • Tracy Norris

      September 7, 2016 at 2:27 am

      We stayed in their Bosphorus hotel in 2014 & loved it!
      It was a bit of a walk/tram ride from the old town but the window seat overlooking the Bosphorus made up for it 🙂
      Tracy

      • @mrsoaroundworld

        September 7, 2016 at 12:19 pm

        Totally agree! We stayed there too and was very nice!

  7. Mary Anne

    February 9, 2015 at 5:50 pm

    I love Istanbul and this hotel clearly will make my next trip there event better.

  8. tara

    February 9, 2015 at 11:19 am

    We stayed at the Empress Zoe hotel which is just around corner from the Four Seasons Hotel. One night we tried to have a drink at the Four Seasons Hotel and they refused us as we were not the guests. We were not impressed!
    The locations of the both hotels is excellent.

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      February 10, 2015 at 10:26 am

      This is a very small hotel.. but still find that very strange!!

  9. Suze the Luxury Columnist

    February 8, 2015 at 7:36 pm

    I love the model of the Bosphorus Bridge, how creative!

  10. Suzanne Jones

    February 7, 2015 at 8:52 pm

    Looks fabulous! Turkey always seems to do breakfast very well – I love the honeycombe too 🙂
    Suzanne Jones recently posted..Saigon – Scooters and SightseeingMy Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      February 9, 2015 at 10:34 am

      Absolutely, I am not keen on olives and cucumbers so early in the morning, but will say yes to EVERYTHING else!

  11. Natalie @ In Natalie's Shoes

    February 6, 2015 at 7:43 pm

    Oh, how stunning! Back in college, I stayed at a hostel nearby the Four Seasons and drooled over the gorgeous exterior of the building. Looks like the hospitality and the inside of the building was just as drool-worthy 🙂
    Natalie @ In Natalie’s Shoes recently posted..Friday FiveMy Profile

  12. Jean | Holy Smithereens

    February 6, 2015 at 1:21 pm

    I love the personal touch of the photo frame! Did it make you feel at home?
    And if this is still a prison , please give me a life sentence! 😉
    Jean | Holy Smithereens recently posted..Flight Review: Garuda Indonesia Sydney to Denpasar (Bali) in Business Class A330-300My Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      February 6, 2015 at 2:27 pm

      My thoughts exactly!! It did not make me feel at home as I don’t have a photo of myself on my bedside table, but I loved it 🙂

  13. John M

    February 6, 2015 at 1:13 pm

    One for the list, Mrs. O! Looks very good 🙂

  14. Paula

    February 6, 2015 at 1:13 pm

    OMG, we stayed there a month ago and in the same room! A fab hotel as you say 🙂 very special indeed. The staff went out of their way to make sure everything was perfect.

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      February 6, 2015 at 2:28 pm

      HA! What a coincidence – we both have very good taste clearly! The staff were brilliant, and so sweet!

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