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Istanbul, Turkey Hotels and City Guide

Istanbul Hotels and Istanbul Guide with Istanbul maps, top attractions, room reservations and hotel deals at a wide range of the best Istanbul hotels

Istanbul - Travel Tips


When to Go

Seasons
Spring and fall bring both warm, moderate temperatures and hordes of visitors to Istanbul. The months of April, May, September, and October are ideal because the humidity is much lower and the temperatures are neither too cool nor too hot yet. It is a perfect time to come and walk the city. July through August is considered the peak tourist season in Istanbul when many come to enjoy the area near the Bosphorus Strait. As Turkey, particularly Istanbul, experiences a boom in their tourism industries, you will see prices climb during these times, but it is also when a great many events are taking place and the city is most alive.

Local Holidays
January 1st - New Year’s Day
April - National Sovereignty and Children’s Day
May 1st - May Day Public Holiday
May 19th - Commemoration of Ataturk, and Youth and Sports Day
August 30th - Victory Day
September - End of Ramadan
End October - Republic Day
End November - Kurban Bayrami (Feast of the Sacrifice)

Note: Muslim holidays, such as Ramadan, change each year because they are determined according to the lunar cycle. During Ramadan, you may find that restaurants and businesses are not open during the same hours. The city will also be much busier, so if visiting during this month, book your accommodations early.


Local Customs & Language (including Tipping)

Customs
Istanbul is a bustling city, and it can be overwhelming for visitors unaccustomed to haggling and other such “niceties” of the culture. While it can be intimidating, most Turks are very welcoming and will help you with directions, suggestions for places to eat, and other such matters.  In return, it is helpful to be respectful and know a few key Turkish phrases, like “Thank You,” (Sag olun), “I’m lost,” (Kayboldum), “Can you help me?” (Bana yardim edebilir misiniz?), and “How much is this?” (Bunun fiyati ne kadar?) – very useful for the bazaars. Be aware that many citizens pray five times a day, so do not plan to visit mosques during these times. Common courtesy goes a very long way in Istanbul.

Language
Ninety percent of Turks speak Turkish as their first language. Other languages you may hear include Kurdish and Arabic, and most Arabic speakers also speak Turkish. You will also find sprinklings of Armenian, Greek, Circassian, and Judezmo.

Tipping Advice
It is customary to tip wait staff, hotel staff, and others in the service industry. In Istanbul, a waiter or waitress should receive about a ten percent tip on top of a service charge. This is usually given in cash. Others, like hotel staff, baggage carries, hairdressers, and valets receive TL 2. A bathhouse attendant receives a 25 percent tip – don’t neglect the hamam attendant! Turkish drivers, though, are not usually tipped unless they help you with your bags. Then a small tip of TL 2 is warranted. Otherwise, Turks usually round up the fare and forgo the change.


Health and Security

Health
The old warning, “Don’t drink the water,” applies here. While the tap water may be clean, storage tanks may not be. If you can possibly avoid it, it is better to drink bottled water during your stay in Istanbul, even at restaurants. Avoid things for sale that can go bad quickly in the heat, such as oysters or firin sutlac, a rice pudding dish. Overall, the ingredients used by restaurants are fresh and perfectly safe, though many foreigners may not be used to the spices or combinations. In some people, this may cause diarrhea or vomiting. If this is so, stay hydrated and stick to a bland diet until you recover.

It is a good idea to have an updated tetnus/diphtheria shot, and typhoid fever and hepatitis A and B vaccinations are recommended if you are going into more remote areas of Turkey. If you are going to stay in Turkey for a month or longer, get a rabies shot. While the threat from rabid dogs has been lessened by an increased effort to vaccinate dogs, it might be worth it to protect yourself.

Security
As always when traveling, protect yourself, your money, and your travel documents. Pickpockets are not uncommon, so always be careful in crowds. If you can, keep your wallet in your front pocket where it is more noticeable if someone is trying to take it. It is also important to take other common precautions. For instance, many bars and clubs restrict Turkish women from entering. There are no such restrictions for foreign women, but if you are a woman, it is not advisable to enter theses places by yourself. It is better to be accompanied by a man if possible. Old fashioned, maybe, but it is also much safer.

Like any other large city, Istanbul has its share of con artists who prey on tourists. Being aware of the scams will help you avoid them. In one scam, clubs charge exorbitant (and unadvertised) prices. When visitors cannot pay the enormous bills, they are threatened and intimidated. Often, they will end up paying less than the bill – but still many, many times what it should be. Do not allow other people to say they will buy you drinks, as this is a prelude to this scam.

Another common scam involves exchanging money at small hotels. They will quote the prices in lira and then claim after that they quoted the prices in Euros. Do not stay at places that tell you it is possible to pay when you leave. Get quotes in liras – be explicit - and pay up front. If you use a credit card, check your statement and be sure you were charged in Turkish lira. Taxi drivers also often target tourists by charging exorbitant fees, refusing to turn on the meter, and taking longer-than-necessary routes.

This should not deter you from visiting this beautiful city, but it should persuade you to exercise caution so you can enjoy your stay. If you do experience a scam or have had important documents or money stolen, you can contact the Istanbul Police Department’s Tourism Police. The address is: Yerebatan Caddesi 6, Sultanahmet (between Hagia Sophia and the entrance of Basilica Cistern) and the phone number is +90.212.527.4503.

Disabled Travelers
Istanbul is in the process of improving handicap accessibility within the city. Some buses have a low floor and ramp to allow access, but it may be hard to board during peak travel hours. Trams are wheelchair accessible from station platforms. Getting onto the platform itself may be difficult, however, as many are down in underground passages or above in overpasses. Stations are announced in writing and by voice. The metro is also accessible and some stations have elevators. For assistance, ask a security guard at the station. The metros are announced in writing and by voice as well.

Istanbul lags behind other first world countries in its accessibility, but is improving. Many of the mosques will not allow wheelchairs, and some attractions cannot be reached easily. For more information, consult Turkey Travel Planner, Apparelyzed, and Turkey Explorers.


Tax Refunds

An 18 percent tax will be placed on most goods and services, but this is refundable upon your departure from Turkey. At shops with the Global Refund sign, ask for a refund receipt, and do not sign it! Read everything you are given carefully so you can get your refund at the airport. Near the Customs area, go to the Global Refund booth with your receipts and travel documents to claim your refund. This will be given in Turkish lira or as a credit on your chosen credit card.





Hotels in Istanbul, Turkey

InterContinental Ceylan

InterContinental Ceylan

Asker Ocagi Caddesi No. 1, Taksim, 34435 Istanbul, Turkey

Description The InterContinental Ceylan Istanbul Hotel is located in the heart of the city and offers the very best in Istanbul hotel accommodation. From the hotel's convenient location, guests can access the best of Istanbul's cultural, tourism...




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Best Western Acropol Hotel - Istanbul

Best Western Acropol Hotel - Istanbul

Akbiyik Cad No: 25, Istanbul, TR 34400, Turkey

The Best Western Acropol Hotel is an attractive hotel in the middle of the historical triangle of Blue Mosque, Saint Sophia and Marmara Sea. Discover the secrets of the history in the heart of old and modern Istanbul. Within walking distance of the hotel enjoy shopping...




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Best Western Antea Palace Hotel

Best Western Antea Palace Hotel

Kucuk Ayasofya Mah Yusuf Askin No. 28, Sultanahmet, Istanbul, TR 24400, Turkey

The Best Western Hotel Amber is an Ottoman house built in the 19th century. The interior has been restored and offers a traditional Turkish bath, sauna and billiard room. We are situated in the central district of Istanbul within a five-minute walk to St. Sophia, Topkapi...




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Best Western Citadel Hotel

Best Western Citadel Hotel

Kennedy Caddesi Sahil Yolu No.32, Ahirkapi, Istanbul, TR 34400, Turkey

The Best Western Citadel Hotel is situated near the old city center and all historical sites. The hotel has a wonderful view of the Marmara Sea and overlooks the Prince Islands. You may freely fish just by crossing the street. The Best Western Citadel Hotel is located...




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Barcelo Eresin Topkapi

Barcelo Eresin Topkapi

Millet Cad 186 Topkapi, Istanbul, Turkey

The Barcelo Eresin Topkapi is an elegant and disctinctive five star premium hotel, member of the Barcelo Hotels and Resors Chain. The hotel is located European side of Istanbul, is just 10 KM from the international airport and the Exhibition Center, The Grand Bazaar... more
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Ciragan Palace Kempinski

Ciragan Palace Kempinski

Ciragan Caddesi 32 Besiktas, 34349 Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul's Ultimate Luxury HotelThe Ciragan Palace Kempinski Istanbul The Ciragan Palace Kempinski Istanbul, once the home of Ottoman sultans, is dramatically... more
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Four Seasons Bosphorus

Four Seasons Bosphorus

iragan Caddesi No. 28, Besiktas, 34349 Istanbul, Turkey

Hotel Description: The Four Seasons Istanbul is constructed within the original facade of a 100 year old prison, and has been remarkably restored with just 65 guest rooms and Suites. The building's exterior of Turkish neo-classic architecture... more
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Hyatt Regency

Hyatt Regency

Taskisla Caddesi, Taksim, 34437 Istanbul, Turkey

The Hyatt Regency Istanbul Hotel is a five-star luxury hotel situated minutes away from Istanbul's historic and business points of interests. Staying at this Hyatt Regency in Istanbul, guests... more
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Swissotel Istanbul Bosphorus

Swissotel Istanbul Bosphorus

Bayildim Caddesi No. 2, Macka, Befliktafl, 34357 Istanbul, Turkey

The Swissotel Istanbul is adjacent to Dolmabahce Palace, the last residence of the Ottoman Sultans and surrounded by 65 acres of parkland. The hotel is unique with its variety of dining and catering options offering an extensive variety of cuisines. A vast majority of... more
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The Ritz-Carlton Istanbul

The Ritz-Carlton Istanbul

Suzer Plaza, Askerocagi Caddesi No. 15, Sisli, 34367 Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul is the only city in the world to sit astride two continents, and was the capital of the Byzantine and Ottoman empires. Now a vibrant metropolis, it has centuries of history as a bridge between Europe and Asia and as a crossroads of civilizations.... more
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The Sofa Hotels and Residences

The Sofa Hotels and Residences

Tesvikiye Caddesi 41-41A, Nisantasi, 34367 Istanbul, Turkey

Hotel Introduction A new generation of luxury accommodations, downtown Istanbul, in the fashionable area Nisantasi-Istanbul's shopping and gourmet district where you have most prestigious international labels and the city's best restaurants, bars and... more
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Hilton Istanbul

Hilton Istanbul

CUMHURIYET STREET 80600 HARBIYE ISTANBUL TURKEY Istanbul Turkey

The Istanbul Hilton Is Centrally Located Near The Taksim Square. It Is Situated In Beautiful Gardens Overlooking The Bosphorus And Is Within Walking Distance Of Business / Shopping And Entertainment Areas - The Hilton Convention And Exhibition Centre Is Adjacent... more
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Hilton ParkSA Istanbul

Hilton ParkSA Istanbul

Bayildim Caddesi 12, Istanbul, Turkey

We are pleased to announce the reopening of Hilton ParkSA after a full renovation period. The New Hilton ParkSA offers a full range of state-of-the-art amenities and facilities to suit the changing needs of our guests. Hilton ParkSA has a spectacular view of the Bosphorus... more
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Miapera Hotel

Miapera Hotel

Kamerhatun Mah, Mesrutiyet Cad. No:34, 34435 Beyoglu / Istanbul

Close to Taksim Square and with great spa facilities, the Miapera is a boutique hotel that impresses with its mix of historical exterior and luxury, ultra-stylish interior design. more
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Moevenpick Hotel Istanbul

Moevenpick Hotel Istanbul

Buyukdere Caddesi 4.Levent Istanbul 34330 Turkey

Hotel Introduction Recently opened stylish 5-star boutique business hotel with 249 spacious rooms, superb restaurants and meeting facilities for up to 600 guests. Located in the centre of uptown in 4 Levent, the prime business district, next... more
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Berr Hotel

Berr Hotel

Akdeniz Cad., No: 78 34080, Fatih, Istanbul,

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Best Western Amber Hotel

Best Western Amber Hotel

Ciftegelinler Caddesi No 3, Kumkapi, Istanbul, 34126, Turkey

The Best Western Amber Hotel is set near the sea side, in the oldest and most colorful district of Istanbul, which is still a functioning fishing village. It is in walking distance from the Sultanahmet Square with Istanbul's most famous Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia and Top... more
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Best Western Empire Palace

Best Western Empire Palace

Hocapasa Mah. Hudavenigar Cad. 17/19, Sirkeci, Istanbul, TR 34110, Turkey

The Best Western Empire Palace opened in April 2004 and is located in the heart of the historic, old city part of Istanbul.It is established with the latest luxury decorations inside and offers high quality service. The guest can meet more than their expectations in... more
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Best Western Eresin Taxim Hotel

Best Western Eresin Taxim Hotel

Topcu Caddesi No: 34, Taksim, Istanbul, TR 34437, Turkey

Experience traditional Turkish hospitality while in the center of Istanbul, at the Best Western Eresin Taxim Hotel. You will be within walking distance of all Istanbul has to offer, including the Lutfu Kirdar Congress and Exhibition Center, Concert Hall, Art Gallery and... more
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Best Western Hotel Obelisk

Best Western Hotel Obelisk

Mimar Mehmetaga Cad. No. 17/19, Sultanahmet, Istanbul, 34400, Turkey

The Best Western Hotel Obelisk & Sumengen is a 19th century Ottoman house which has been converted into a luxury hotel. Situated on a quiet side within walking distance to St. Sophia, Grand Bazaar, Toptapi Palace, Blue Mosque and offering a breathtaking view of Marmara... more
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Best Western Premier Regency Suites Hotel-Spa

Best Western Premier Regency Suites Hotel-Spa

Akbiyik Cad. No 38, Sultanahmet, Istanbul, 34122, Turkey

Welcome to Best Western Premier Regency Suites Hotel-Spa! A boutique hotel located 200 meters away from Topkapi Palace, Blue Mosque. Overlooking the Bosphorus and St. Sophia (Hagia Sophia) from the Terrace Restaurant and most of the rooms. All rooms are one bedroom suit... more
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Best Western Senator Hotel

Best Western Senator Hotel

Gencturk Caddesi - Sirvanizade Sokak 7, Sehzadebasi, Istanbul, TR 34470, Turkey

The Best Western Senator Hotel is situated in the heart of the old city within walking distance to major attractions like St. Sophia, Blue Mosque, Hippodrome, the Islamic Arts Museum, Topkapi Palace, Archeological Museum and Grand Bazaar. The Best Western Senator Hotel... more
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Best Western Tashan Business & Airport Hotel

Best Western Tashan Business & Airport Hotel

Tashan Cad. No-57, Bakirkoy, Istanbul, TR 34142, Turkey

The Best Western Tashan Business & Airport Hotel is ideally located 9 kilometers from Atatrk International Airport and 10 kilometers from the center of Old City (St. Sophia, Grand Bazaar and several museums) with easy access to main highway, train stations and sea bus.... more
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Best Western The President Hotel

Best Western The President Hotel

Tiyatro Cad 25 Beyazit, Istanbul, TR 34126, Turkey

The Best Western The President Hotel is located in the center of old city Istanbul, a veritable shopper's paradise. We are within walking distance of the Grand Bazaar and many other historical sites such as, St. Sophia, Blue Mosque and the Hippodrome. Breakfast is served... more
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Holiday Inn Istanbul City

Holiday Inn Istanbul City

Millet Cad. No:187 Topkapi Istanbul 34280 TURKEY

Introduction Istanbul is the city where Asia meets Europe, with cultural heritage and natural beauty. Holiday Inn Istanbul City located next to the impressing historical city walls of Istanbul reflects the spirit of this very special city.... more
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Holiday Inn Istanbul

Holiday Inn Istanbul

Sahilyolu,Ataky,Istanbul,34710 Turkey

Description Holiday Inn Istanbul Hotel is nestled on the magnificent oceanfront, amidst the tranquillity of the modern tourist... more
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Lion Hotel

Lion Hotel

lamartin Cad. No. 45, Taksim

The Lion Hotel is located in Taksim, which offers business, fun and a cultural center.Taste the unique dishes of Turkish and international cuisine at our Galaxy Restaurant. Relax at the swimming pool and enjoy the sun on our terrace. At the end of an exciting... more
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Pamphylia Hotel

Pamphylia Hotel

Yerebatan Caddesi, No. 47, Sultanahmet

Hotel Pamphylia is one of the oldest buildings in the area and architectually remarkabe. We are located right in the old city and within walking distance to all attractions. Rooms are decorated according to Ottoman style to meet guest's tastes and comfort. Our restaurant,... more
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Poem Hotel

Poem Hotel

Akbiyik Cad. Terbiyik Sok. No. 12

The Hotel Poem...at the very center of the old Sultanahmet: modern comfort and convenience surrounded by vivid reminders of the Byzantine and Ottoman past. An Ottoman style boutique hotel, the Poem was designed in the style of traditional Ottoman urban residences and... more
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