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Old Mar 7, 11, 12:32 pm   #1
 
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Istanbul Update?

I will be in Istanbul in September with 2 friends. Has anyone got a gay-friendly hotel recommendation?
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Old Mar 7, 11, 12:54 pm   #2
 
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I usually stay with friends in IST, but these recent(ish) thread may help get you started:

IST?

Istanbul: Best/most unique spaces
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Old Jun 24, 11, 4:18 am   #3
 
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I stayed at the Raymond Hotel in Sultanahmet a couple of weeks ago. It comes up on a few web sites as gay-friendly. I didn't notice anything particularly gay about the staff or clientele, but it's a charming, very moderately-priced hotel close to a lot of sightseeing. If you're in Istanbul for bars and nightlife however, you might want to look for something in more lively Beyoğlu. Both neighborhoods are great places to stay. It's very easy to get from Sultanahmet to Beyoğlu, so you don't have to worry about choosing tourism over going out or vice versa.

A little off subject, but if you have any interest in food, you should consider the Istanbul Eats walking tour. Our guide was gay and during the 5+ hours we spent eating familiar things like börek and less familiar - but outrageously tasty - ones like kokoreç, he also chatted willingly about history, culture and gay life in Istanbul. The highlight of a great trip.
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Old Jun 24, 11, 8:38 am   #4
 
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Thanks for the update. I will check out the walking tour!
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Old Jun 24, 11, 10:22 am   #5
 
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I recommend staying near Taksim Sq, not sure of any gay friendly or gay hotels. I loved the city but cannot say much for the night life, nothing special, lots in the closet. Have fun, make sure you take the ferry ride to this little island with lots of fish restaurants. The ferry was about $1. Also make sure you reach the top of the hill on the island to get a good view.
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Old Jun 25, 11, 1:44 am   #6
 
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This is the hotel I mentioned above: http://www.raymondhotel.com.tr/
It has a small roof terrace, but our favorite roof-top apéritifs after long days of walking were at the Blue House: http://www.bluehouse.com.tr/
Not only do they make a stiff gin and tonic, but you're considerably higher up than even the impossibly posh Four Seasons next door. I don't know what the hotel itself is like, but you might want to have a look. Plus there is something a little decadent about sipping cocktails with an unobstructed view of the Blue Mosque.

Info on the Istanbul Eats walk here: http://istanbuleats.com/walks-2/
We did the Cosmopoitan Beyoğlu tour, but given more time we would
have happily done the other tour as well. The reviews on the same page are no exaggeration. Angelis is great company and the tour feels like walking around with a friend who is eager to point out tasty morsels and easily overlooked details around town. Also before we left, a friend lent us their little guide book and it never steered us wrong.

Have fun!
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Old Jun 25, 11, 9:40 pm   #7
 
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I think it would be difficult to find a more gay-friendly hotel in Istanbul than the W.

Mr. FB and I stayed there in late 2008, and neither the fellow at the front desk nor the one who took our bags to the room seemed at all perturbed about two men sharing a room with a king bed. Considering how often in the US we are asked if we'd rather have a room with two beds, it made us feel welcome. I didn't hesitate to stay at the W when I went back in November 2010.

It's a bit away from Istanbul's major attractions, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. The immediate area around the hotel is somewhat upscale but also a block or two from a lot of reasonably-priced dining options. It's a safe 15-minute walk to the Kabataş tram stop which will take you anywhere you will want to go in the city. The Beşiktaş ferry dock is less than a 5-minute walk away. A taxi from the hotel to Taksim Square or Nişantaşı (very upscale shopping and dining) will be about 7TL.

Finally, Cem Manglay, one of the W's concierges, is incredibly helpful with providing information or making arrangements.
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Old Jun 29, 11, 10:10 am   #8
 
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Pride Travel (Turkey-gay-travel.com)

has anyone used Pride Travel in Istanbul to organize excursions outside of IST? It was listed in the Lonely Planet and seems ok but I'm unsure about some of the descriptions:

on this page: http://www.turkey-gay-travel.com/tourorganizations.html

it basically says that the tours, the guide and the hotels they organize you to stay in aren't 'exclusively gay,' I get that there isn't the critical mass of gay people and gay tourists to warrant exclusive gay tours, but if that's the case, the only thing 'gay' about this agency is the people working there, am I right?

the page also states that this is a 'package tour' and not a 'group tour' so "you be will actually be independent in hotels and during the transportation (bus or plane) except join other people during the daily excursion tours included in the itineraries."

"The itineraries are organized considering best transportation options. Our agency's basic function here is that, everything will be organized by us and will be ready for you (bus or plane tickets, hotels vouchers, tours as well as most connecting transfers) in advance, and you will not have to deal with each separately, and besides pay much less than you would book them by yourself."


So if I'm reading this right, they get you all the bus tickets and hotel reservations and you're on your own?

as a single and first-time traveler to Turkey I'd rather *like* to be thrown into a group of other tourists (gay or straight), so perhaps this is not the best option for me.

finally, the package I'm considering (http://www.turkey-gay-travel.com/turkeytours4.html) has 3 overnight bus rides. I'd be grateful if anyone who has taken this tour could advise exactly what sort of buses they use to help me make an informed decision before I book.

PS. I've also heard of a company called Gallipoli (sp?). anyone's heard of this one or has others they'd recommend?
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Old Jun 30, 11, 11:28 am   #9
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by publicrelasian View Post
has anyone used Pride Travel in Istanbul to organize excursions outside of IST? It was listed in the Lonely Planet and seems ok but I'm unsure about some of the descriptions:

on this page: http://www.turkey-gay-travel.com/tourorganizations.html

it basically says that the tours, the guide and the hotels they organize you to stay in aren't 'exclusively gay,' I get that there isn't the critical mass of gay people and gay tourists to warrant exclusive gay tours, but if that's the case, the only thing 'gay' about this agency is the people working there, am I right?

the page also states that this is a 'package tour' and not a 'group tour' so "you be will actually be independent in hotels and during the transportation (bus or plane) except join other people during the daily excursion tours included in the itineraries."

"The itineraries are organized considering best transportation options. Our agency's basic function here is that, everything will be organized by us and will be ready for you (bus or plane tickets, hotels vouchers, tours as well as most connecting transfers) in advance, and you will not have to deal with each separately, and besides pay much less than you would book them by yourself."


So if I'm reading this right, they get you all the bus tickets and hotel reservations and you're on your own?

as a single and first-time traveler to Turkey I'd rather *like* to be thrown into a group of other tourists (gay or straight), so perhaps this is not the best option for me.

finally, the package I'm considering (http://www.turkey-gay-travel.com/turkeytours4.html) has 3 overnight bus rides. I'd be grateful if anyone who has taken this tour could advise exactly what sort of buses they use to help me make an informed decision before I book.

PS. I've also heard of a company called Gallipoli (sp?). anyone's heard of this one or has others they'd recommend?
What are your destinations in Turkey? We have chosen Ephesus and Troy outside of Istanbul. Rather than the bus rides, we opted for Pegasus Air, which is a reasonably priced alternative and saves us travel time. We also used aboutephesus.com, which is arranging a private guide, airport transfers, and hotels in Ephesus and Troy.

Thanks for the responses for hotel recommendations. Since there are 3 of us traveling, we wanted a room with 3 separate beds. The only hotel that would guarantee that was Sirkeci Konak Hotel, which is rated #3 on Tripadvisor. I will give a review on my return.
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Old Jun 30, 11, 8:40 pm   #10
 
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We had a great Turkish experience using Sensation Tours... Spent 2 weeks in Istanbul and along the mediteranean. The Agency is gay owned and operated. We found Taksim Square as the best location to stay.

Check out their website www.sensationtours.com.tk.

PM me if you require more info
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Old Jul 1, 11, 6:04 pm   #11
 
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@malsf1 Right now I'm looking at 3 days in Istanbul, followed by 4 or 5 days on excursions to Ephesus, Cappadocia and maybe one more stop, then back to Istanbul for another 3 days. I'm somewhere between wanting the convenience and peace of mind of an arranged packaged tour and the flexibiity to spend as much time as I like in one spot if the fancy strikes -- I'm a ruins/temple nut so it's quite likely I'll be attracted to those spots more than others.

When in September will you be there? I'm arriving Sept 8 and flying out Sept 19



@OzTraveller Thanks for the offer! i'll DM you for more details!
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Old Jul 3, 11, 3:45 pm   #12
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by publicrelasian View Post
@malsf1
When in September will you be there? I'm arriving Sept 8 and flying out Sept 19
I will arrive there on 9/3 and stay until 9/9. We're then going to Israel for a few days and return to Istanbul on 9/15 for 3 more days.
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Old Jul 3, 11, 5:42 pm   #13
 
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great! we'll have 3 days overlap towards the end of our trips (I'm there 9/8-9/19). we should grab a drink and exchange stories!
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Old Jul 4, 11, 10:25 am   #14
 
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Originally Posted by publicrelasian View Post
great! we'll have 3 days overlap towards the end of our trips (I'm there 9/8-9/19). we should grab a drink and exchange stories!
Sounds great.. sounds like we should connect on our 2nd visit to IST.
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Old Sep 21, 11, 9:16 am   #15
 
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Hotel Update

Our hotel, Sirkeci Konak, could not have been any better. The staff went out of their way to make us feel comfortable. The hotel, rooms, and dining were excellent, and there is a great hammam on the lower level. The location is only a block away from the tram stop (red and blue lines) and is 5 minutes away by foot to all attractions. I highly recommend checking out this hotel if anyone is traveling to Istanbul.
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