Hilton Istanbul Bosphorus {TUR}

Old Jun 13, 03, 5:42 am
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Arrow Hilton Istanbul Bosphorus {TUR}

There aren't alot of comments on this hotel using the search option. Anybody stay there recently? Do they treat Diamonds pretty well?

RichardB0777 is offline  
Old Jun 13, 03, 1:59 pm
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Hi there -

Can't tell you much about Hilton, except that it looks pretty grim, but...

Conrad Ist *much* smarter, although not nearly as central - it's near bridge to Asian side in area called Besetkas (check sp). Fantastic service, exec lounge, pool, healthclub, stunning views. They treated my g/f and me incredibly well in March. Very highly recommended.

Hope it helps.
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Old Jun 13, 03, 7:32 pm
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The Hilton Istanbul was the first international Hilton outside of the US. It is a classic in its own way, service is quite good, the views and grounds are not easily beat. The rooms were completely renovated about 5 years ago (and they needed it). It is quite centrally located near Taksim. The Conrad is about 17 years old and its rooms have never been renovated. Although it would seem that the above poster got good service, all I ever hear about it is complaints. I know quite a few people that have left after just one night due to crap overpriced service.
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Old Jun 14, 03, 12:29 pm
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by hfly:
The Conrad is about 17 years old and its rooms have never been renovated. </font>
This is incorrect, the CONRAD ISTANBUL opened in 1992 and was renovated in 2002.
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Old Jun 14, 03, 3:32 pm
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While I may be off by a year or two, here are some facts which I do know:

The hotel was finished before 1992, there was a lot of scandal around it when it was built having to do with the fact that the developer/owner Erol Aksoy (not the Turkish TV/banker one) was accused of leasing/buying the land illegally from the Istanbul municipality (I believe that the mayor accused of corruption was Bedretten Dalan). In any case this kept it from "formally" opening as a Conrad for quite some time. After speaking with someone else today, It would seem that the date was 1990 or so (so I was off by four years while the above poster was either off by two or "factually" correct.

In any case the limited renovation occurred in 2001, not 2002 and DID NOT encompass all rooms. They instead redid some public areas, meeting rooms, suites, and some guest rooms (I just called them to check).

In any case its still a crap hotel, although I do admit to playing tennis there semi-regularly.
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Old Jun 14, 03, 5:28 pm
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I was treated very well as a Diamond at the Hilton a few months ago - upgraded to a suite, lounge access (good view, decent food), etc.
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Old Jul 17, 03, 2:52 am
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I recently stayed at the Hilton Istanbul and had a great experience. The hotel was very nice and was not showing any signs of age. I had reserved a reg room and was upgraded to Exec. floor with a view of the Bosphorus. The lounge was quite acceptable with high speed internet. The staff was excellent. The restaurants are a bit pricey compared to local restaurants. The compliementary breakfast in the lounge leaves a little bit to be desired but not so bad. All in all a great hotel.
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Old Jul 17, 03, 3:29 am
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After searching Hilton´s website I found 3 properties in Istanbul:

-Park SA Hilton Istanbul (from 87USD)
-Hilton Istanbul (from 133USD)
-Conrad Istanbul (from 68USD)

Seems like Park SA is the most central of these, but looks boring. Surprising that Conrad is the cheapest one.

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Old Jul 17, 03, 6:49 am
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I stayed at the Hilton Istanbul twice - both were fine. The latter was during the Iraq War, and i think every guest was upgraded to Exec Floor - as it wasnt that full. It is a big property, with nice views.
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Old Jul 18, 03, 6:48 am
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The location is great as it is within walking distance of Taksim square if you're looking for nightlife. Its not central to the city but a Taxi to Sultanhamet and Topkapi Palace/Blue Mosque etc. is only 10 mins and only costs 7-8 million Lira ($5-6).
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Old Jul 18, 03, 9:51 am
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Not central to the city?? What does that mean? Taksim is considered by most to be the center of the sity and the hotel is 800 meters from Taksim Square. The Sultanahmet area was the center of the city perhaps 300 years ago, your average Istanbulite ventures into that area once a year or less.
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Old Aug 13, 03, 5:53 am
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Hilton Istanbul Trip Reports and Reviews

I am so appreciative of all the excellent information I have benefited from here at Flyer Talk and so I wanted to give back a little.
We recently stayed at the Istanbul Hilton- August 4 - August 7. We were flying on a buddy pass destination Cairo but not possible so we ended up in Istanbul at the last minute. Called from the airport, sign at baggage claim indicating phone number, 11:00 PM, exhausted, willing to pay whatever, rate of $165 US.
Arrived at front desk after midnight. recieved very warmly and professionally, reservation not in system yet, but taken to our upgraded room anyway, The upgrade was for executive level, room was fine. There is a separate concierge/reception at executive level, great service. Breakfast was fine, inconsistent though. Breads, meats, cheeses, bacon, sausage, other hot items, yogurt, coffee, juice, etc. Free internet access in lounge. Lounge is open all day, snacks and drinks, appetizers in evening. Some days we received paper, some days not. Some days we received dessert in our room, some days not. One evening we received a great fruit basket and a bottle of wine. Overall we were satisfied, but we are usually very frugal, so $165 seemed steep.
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Old Jun 12, 05, 2:27 am
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Post Hilton Istanbul Trip Reports and Reviews

Hilton Istanbul
Cumhuriyet Caddesi
Harbiye-Istanbul, Turkey 80200

The full report is now here... June 11 - 15, 2005, and it is a very nice property indeed.

We arrived Saturday June 11 about 2PM, on a "Weekend in Style" offer with a confirmed no-smoking twin, including breakfast etc. at $175 nightly plus 18% tax (current rates are actually $300 plus tax for a twin, $360 for an Executive King room), and found a fully booked hotel - a cruise ship or two has their extending passengers here, there are several events on. There was a long queue at check-in, so I asked a bellman for the Executive check-in and was directed to the private elevator to the 8th floor Clubroom Lounge and Executive Level Reception, and was accommodated by the reception / supervisor warmly and quickly. (Executive Level Reception staff are super!)

We were given a room on the 8th (Executive) Floor, and allowed to extend one day without trouble - in spite of the full hotel. The only thing that was unavailable was a Bosphorus view room - but the garden view is fine, and a stunning Bosphorus view is available from the Clubroom Lounge, which has extended hours (06:00 - 23:59 daily.)

The Clubroom Lounge: The lounge is comfortable, has a plasma TV with CNN, an extended breakfast 06:00 - 10:00, extensive meze (hors d'oeuvres, mainly Turkish specialties as well as the ubiquitous and delicious varieties of olives) afternoons 18:00 - 20:00, chocolates 20:00 - 22:00. Local wines, bar drinks and liquors are freely available as well - a good thing, as the cheapest house wine will set you back 23YTL in any other venue (US$1.00 = 1.37YTL / €1.00 = 1.66 YTL today, so figure over $17 for one low-end if passable glass of wine, and you can easily pay much more.) Other hours, you can still get free beverages (from alcoholic to fresh orange juice) and a selection of nuts and bread sticks.

Breakfast today consisted of fresh fruits, a selection of breads and toasts with toppings, cereals, yoghourts, cheeses, olives and vegetable crudités, veal sausage, Turkish dried beef, chicken, veal and turkey ham, boiled and scrambled eggs, potatoes, freshly-squeezed juices, access to the espresso etc. machine... and though it isn't often found in Islamic countries, there is pork bacon; a very full breakfast offering. The waitstaff are attentive and helpful. (Room service or restaurant breakfast is about $25 - $30 for Continental or American; the lounge can save you serious money.)

Tables are available inside and on the balcony. If you have troubles with tobacco smoke, you are not in luck, however - the three or four (varies) "non-smoking" tables are surrounded on three sides by the smoking balcony (doors are open when the weather is good), the smoking area by the television at the lounge entrance and the rest of the smoking tables, and cigars and pipes are allowed. There's not any way you can avoid smoke, especially some afternoons when businesspeople bring their associates up; you will be exposed to smoke unless you arrive when the lounge is not very busy, or the breeze outside clears smoke (very many Turks smoke.) And later in the morning, families with children are often in the lounge, so you may find limited seating capacity.

There is a computer with Internet access for free in the Club Room, and WiFi is offered at US$25 for 24 hours for 128k download and half-speed upload, or US$50 for 256k / half. You purchase the codes from the lounge supervisor, and fortunately, with the $25 option I am getting about 1mb download. :^: I also had to return to get another code, as the first one was already been used, and at times the lounge supervisor has to send for more envelopes with code chits delivered in sealed envelopes (!) WiFi is not available in the room; a modem connection using an RJ-11 cable is, but I have not tried it.

The room: The nonsmoking king-bedded room is spacious, situated in the non-smoking portion of the Executive Floor. It is finished in a pinstriped light beige wallpaper, a light yellow and reds Turkish-style carpet and dark wood throughout, with a large (well-secured) walk-through window to the balcony with a table and two chairs. The effect is generally discrete Art Nouveau, and the marble pillar, ceramic and brass-based lamps (good lighting) add to the effect. Furnishings include a drum table next to the bed and a nightstand on the opposite side, desk with side chair (phone with RJ-11 modem, two 240 VAC Euro outlets, two matching armchairs and one ottoman (appropriately enough!) in a dark Paisley covering, a small glass and iron round table furnished with fruits, plate and utensils, a three-chested drawer with cable television, corner nook with mini-bar, espresso machine and tea. The king bed is comfortable if you like VERY firm mattresses, and is furnished with several pillows and twin duvets.

A large mirrored closet at the entry is furnished with a luggage rack, combination wall safe, large drawer and some shelves, with regular hangers (not those non-removable ones some hotels seem to like.) Air conditioning / heating is controllable via a wall thermostat (Celsius markings) with four air speeds - quite adequate so far. Access to the room is with a coded key card. The duvets may require you to dial in a lower temperature, and leaving the terrace glass door open is probably too noisy – a number of local drivers like to honk at all times, regardless of necessity, and more than a few like open exhaust systems. Sometimes the open air theatre has events - Saturday and Sunday nights had packed audiences clapping and shouting along with local pop singers, which is reduced to very low background noise with (single-paned) windows and (double) curtains closed.

The well-appointed bathroom is spacious, in multi-colored marble, with a sink loaded with amenities, bath with “telephone” shower, bidet and toilet, all plumbing in chrome with gold highlights. Lighting is adequate, there is plenty of control for water temperature – one control handles volume, the one below temperature, so it is easy to fix the desired temperature regardless of volume. The bathroom was also furnished with very nice Turkish toweling, including bath sheets, as well as two pairs of slippers and extra-large sized cotton bathrobes.

Location: Situated atop a hill in Beyoğlu north of the Golden Horn, the hotel is within easy walking distance to Taksim Square and some shopping centers (the nearest including a Marks and Spencer.) Taksim and the adjacent İstiklal Caddesi (street) have plenty of shopping and eating venues, an old, picturesque and tiny tram (purchase 1YTL tickets at the kiosk at either rend of the single-track tram line) that proceed to Tünel (fun to ride – we took it and walked to the nearby Pera Palace hotel, built for the Orient Express passengers in 1892 and seemingly frozen in time, home to Mata Hari, Agatha Christie, Greta Garbo, Edward VIII and many more, for tea and pastries in its atmospheric patisserie.)

As you walk down the hotel’s left exit path, there is a Tourist Office with brochures and maps, and Valikonaği Caddesi (street) stretches out before you – left to walk 10- 15 minutes to Taksim Square and the nearest Metro station, right toward upscale shopping on Rumeli Cad. and Teşvikie Cad. A number of airline offices and banks share space with some restaurants, cafes and shops; the restaurants have much more reasonably priced food than the hotel (lunch with a very good hamburger, a chicken Caesar salad and two dark Efes beers at the hotel, 64YTL / $47 plus tip.) (But be aware, read below for possible security concerns.)

Old Istanbul is across the Golden Horn and easily accessed by taxi – perhaps $10 for the trip by day (fares double at night,) but the trip time varies with the traffic, and with 12 million residents the traffic can be horrendous. During low traffic hours, the airport is 30 minutes away – twice as long if you try it during rush hour. Though some might prefer a hotel closer to the classic (and noisy, traffic-clogged) Sultanahmet, we enjoy being able to retreat to the quiet and cooler hilltop refuge of the Hilton.

Lots to do in Istanbul – a good week of sightseeing here, and on weekends you can visit nearby Ortaköy and enjoy the extensive flea markets and restaurants (lots of bars and nightspots at night as well) in what used to be the area fish market and is now a quaint cobblestoned area for pedestrians, patronized by locals and foreigners.

The hotel itself: Large and spacious, modern if unspectacular in design with sweeping landscape and fantastic views of the Asian side of the Bosphorus (best views from the 9th floor restaurant or the Clubroom Lounge in the afternoon.) There are several restaurants – Chinese, coffee shop plus, bar / café, rooftop restaurant with pricey dinners and a Sunday brunch. A few shops (ranging from books to jewelry to carpets) and an American Express travel agency with limited packaged tours are there to serve you. There is an extensive health facility (even massages) and indoor plus outdoor pools (the outdoor has a part-time café summers.)

The hotel has armed security guards who inspect all vehicles’ frame spaces and baggage spaces, and only then allow cars past lowered cylindrical barriers. Concrete barriers are spread out in front of the hotel to inhibit attempts to run a vehicle (or improvised explosive device contained in a vehicle) into the hotel. Entry into the lobby is via a walk-through metal detector and all hand baggage is inspected by another guard.

Service peculiarities: Well, this is Turkey – and like many countries, service is often well-intentioned but can be hit or miss. Some lounge bits can be missing, you may or not receive a newspaper and courtesy water bottles (maybe it’s the moon phase or tides?) and the first day, our room was made up, but the lovely bath sheets we left hung on the rack (keep, do not wash) were removed – and not replaced. A steward distributed Turkish desserts to rooms at about 16:00, but perhaps only to guest-occupied rooms, as we did not receive any (we were in the lounge having a fresh orange juice.) Our ice bucket was also removed for filling – and not returned by the chap who apparently fills and places them in rooms in the afternoons (he is also charged with refilling fruit bowls, and referred to himself as "Fruit Control" when he knocked for entry.) When you call housekeeping to remedy these issues, they are always very nice – but they must pot lots of extra miles on to rectify the many small mistakes. Little stuff, and nothing to worry about if you are aware this is how things are in many parts of the world, but still…

Security issues: With a typically unfavorable exchange rate at the hotel as well, I decided to use a nearby ATM (on Valikonaği Caddesi facing the main Hilton entrance) for some Lira, but failed to get any action from Abank and Akbank; I succeeded at Dişbank, which will dispense a number of currencies (Dişbank works, but not datbank…sorry!) Here, apparently there was someone with a cell phone observing, because soon enough four young guys came down the street toward me, began a disturbance (distraction) by pretending to fight and throwing one of the guys against me. I soon felt the dip’s hand moving toward my right front trouser pocket (a squarish bulge certainly telegraphed the presence of my recently refueled wallet,) and put out my right forearm to shove him back into his accomplice – soon they were looking at each other and moving hastily down the sidewalk kind of carrying on a halfhearted show of still being a little upset, but giving each other looks – the disturbance team and dip had failed, the stall was empty-handed.:^:

A citizen came to me and warmly inquired as to my welfare and what had occurred, I reassured him it was nothing, and he shook my hand between both of his and wished me well – Turkish people are generous and hospitable, and this episode certainly does not reflect the norm. Too bad for the pickpocket team I’ve been around and wear nice travel trousers with an inside pocket secured with a zipper: (Sportif at www.sportif.com and travel supply sellers, makes great travel jeans and slacks with inside pockets – highly recommended!)

I reported the attempt to the Hilton Duty Manager and Security Manager, who then contacted the local Polisi – the hotel has a good relationship with Turkish police, who are not people to be messed with, and I hope this team is rolled up and put into a nice Turkish penal institution for a while to consider better ways of making a living. But fair warning, there are thieves about, as in any city, trying to prey on likely looking visitors; your wallet, purse or camera are all fair game, so watch out for streetside grabs from cyclists and scooter drivers, pickpocket teams, etc. all now using cell technology to extend their reach. (It may also be telling this happened outside an upscale hotel in an upscale neighborhood, not at the very crowded Ortaköy flea market or along an even more thronged Istiklal Caddesi!)

Executive summary: Great place to stay: splendid room, high service prices, helpful but uneven staff, very nice Clubroom Lounge and Executive facilities. But booking this summer seems limited - this place is pretty full, restaurant prices expensive - though there are plenty of options available nearby. Hint: odd-numbered rooms look out on the Bosphorus, even-numbered on the garden (and open-air theatre.)

Special offers: The Istanbul, and other Turkish Hiltons, have an offer that can save you some money - a price including taxes and breakfast, found through http://www.hilton.com/coloursofturkey for the rest of 2006 (last year’s included 100 bonus points and a free dinner per stay for each occupant; this year’s seems to offer a drink an evening.)

Last edited by JDiver; Aug 19, 07 at 11:24 am Reason: finish report and add
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Old Jun 12, 05, 12:19 pm
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Le bump classique Voila, c'est finis.

And the temps are gorgeous too - sunny, a few picturesque clouds, mid-60s nights, high 70's today, light breeze.
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Old Jun 17, 05, 1:26 pm
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Final bits after my return to the USA…

We got a newspaper delivered to my room! The last day - no other. I also noticed uncut, tied bundles of newspapers in the shop downstairs, even after 9:00 AM, and the young shopkeeper was busy playing games on the PC there...

Check-out was uncomplicated. However, the "there are ALWAYS taxicabs at the Hilton" and "taxis are here 24 hours a day" turned out to be more statements of desire, than truth - we waited for a taxi (had to be called) to the airport at 6:00 AM Wednesday. Low tolerance for directness and saying what people want to hear are concerns in many parts of the world.

The nearby open-air theatre has concerts on nights other than weekends - in room 838, we could hear some noise every night. The lower the room number (even ending) the closer you would be to the sound source.

Some taxicab drivers can be dishonest - wow, what a revelation! A guy who picked us up at the Beşiktaş ferryboat landing had apparently had his meter running on time when he picked us up, showing more than 14 million lira on the meter; he did not re-set when I mentioned this, so I shrugged and we got in – upon arrival at the hotel, I paid him 5YTL (5 million old lira), the fair price with small tip, after we got out of the taxi – now showing a bit over 18 million on the meter. He said nothing, and if he had I’d have made a fuss – security would likely have seen him off, and a threat of calling the Tourist Police would have also. It's good to have an idea of what you should pay; ask the doorman or concierge for ideas about normal fares.

(Last day we took a “tour” with the Turkish Maritime Lines ferry – though it leaves from Eminönü south of the Golden Horn, we boarded at Beşiktaş (10:55) for access ease from our hotel. It visits several other towns and ends at Anadolu Kavaği, a small fishing village with quite a selection of restaurants and a pleasant climb to Ceneviz Kalesi (an old castle with views of the Black Sea) with a restaurant with great views (Yuroz Restaurant.) The ferry departs Eminönü at 10:35 as well as 1:15 and 2:30 after that time, with a two hour stop at Anadolu (returns 14:00, plus others 1:15 and 2:30 after that time. You can take any ferry up, any ferry back, total trip about 6 hours.) Cost is 7.50YTL (about US $5.50) per person reutrn, a serious bargain and a great trip with different illumination of the scenery each way. A Turkish family insisted on sharing some simit bread with us, as well as hot tea, though we didn’t share any languages with each other.)

We loved Istanbul, and the Hilton was a great stay!
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