After the World Tourism Forum ended, I check out of the W in upscale Nisantasi and headed to the tourist side of town, Sultanahmet, and checked in at the (Ibrahim Pasha Hotel) for 4 nights. I wanted to see more of where to stay in Istanbul, and the Sultanahmet came up as a top neighborhood. I wanted to be near the action for convenience but didn’t want to hear it from my hotel room, or see it really.
Hotel Ibrahim Pasha had incredible reviews online and was credited by loads of big magazines and websites as being the “best boutique hotel in Istanbul”. I’m all about boutique hotels and booked it right away.
Unlike most modern hotels here I visited, this was was still very “Turkish” looking and had very traditional decor like Turkish rugs in the rooms, leather couches, velvet ikat Turkish pillows. The floors were heated and wooden and the lobby was full of huge wooden tables and walls lined with books. It was like someones home.
You could either take the old-fashioned elevator to your floor or use the spiral staircase. I expected my room to be kind of basic but cozy based on the look of the hotel, so was immensely surprised with the modern look of it. The first thing I noticed was a wall of glass between a raised bathtub and the bedroom. Very cool! There was a sitting area and a balcony which let amazing streams of light in what would have been an otherwise dark room. The living room had a spin-around TV so you can watch from the couch or bed, magazine, and cute Turkish decor.
The heated floors were great, but keep in mind in old buildings if your neighbors all have the heat cranked up it’s hard to make your room stay cool. If you call the desk they can override your thermostat though and turn on the A/C which I did at night. It was very cold in Istanbul so that seems strange, I know! The bathtub was such a welcome surprise because I pretty much froze each morning in my ripped jeans and leather jacket. I am loving having my Kindle and spent each evening reading from the tub with my favorite acoustic list playing on Spotify. I forgot my conditioner and lucked out at the W with a good brand, but thought like most boutique hotels they wouldn’t have great hair care… I was shocked they had Molton Brown! It’s one of my favorites and I didn’t have to go out to buy any conditioner.
There is no spa or restaurant, although they will order you in a kebab if you ask. There is a great breakfast spread though, which is a traditional savory Turkish breakfast. I loved taking my perfectly made cappuccino up to the rooftop to look at the Blue Mosque in the mornings, which was one of the best things about this hotel. There are no tourists out at 8 AM and it’s just silent! FYI, because you are right next to the mosque you will hear the call to prayer very loudly when it goes off, as do all the other hotels in Sultanahmet.
There were a lot of couples staying at the hotel and a couple business men. It’s definitely a hotel I would like to stay at again. It’s quite small, up a little alley, and only a 5 minute walk from the tram stop so you can be to the Grand Bazaar in 15 minutes. You can walk to the Hagia Sofia in 5! The staff was very quiet but friendly. The vibe was very peaceful, like staying at an Inn or Bed and Breakfast.
They offered a map of the area, made by them, which starred all their favorite restaurants and shops and gave tips on Istanbul in regards to transport and everything else. I highly recommend this hotel!
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