Travel Anecdotes – Istanbul Stays

During these Covid lockdown days, I’ve been stuck indoors going through my old hotel reviews and came across my memories of Istanbul which is without a doubt, one of my favourite cities in the world. It is utterly unique, a cross between East and West, enchanting architectural relics of the significant empires of the past, the Bosphorus sea, endless cobbled pavements, tea houses, delectable seafood, both traditional and contemporary cafes, trinket and homewares shopping. I still recollect very vividly arriving there on a sultry summer’s night in 2011, absorbing every pore of her and literally feeling my soul expanding. I visited her countless times in the following two years, and it never lost its novelty.

This post is just a brief write-up of the two hotels I used to stay at during my visits. Back then, I wasn’t much of an avid photograph-taker and didn’t have a smartphone. I found a Youtube link of Kalyon hotel but couldn’t find a decent one for Biz Cevahir, which is actually more trendy. Both are in the Sultanahmet vicinity, with Ciz Bevahir being smack bang in the road of cafes and shops. They’re not fancy or famous five stars by any means – just decent, satisfactory, well-located establishments.

Biz Cevahir Hotel

Location is everything- the hotel is a few minutes from the Blue Mosque, Haiya Sophia, loads of shops, restaurants and cafes are within five minutes walking distance. Behind the property is also the Four Seasons. The service is excellent, reception does everything they can to make you feel comfortable and I was greeted very well from the moment I stepped out of the taxi. The rooms are small and the hotel doesn’t have facilities like a pool etc but it’s still a very good hotel catered for those who want to enjoy the city more than to lounge around in a hotel. It’s also a bit pricey (130 Euros per night in July) for its size, but it makes up for it in location.

Website link here.

Kalyon Hotel

I’ve booked on the same day as I’ve arrived before and paid 70 plus euros. For this amount, the hotel was extremely good value for money. The location is superb, with many restaurants and cafes not far from the hotel, and rooms overlooking the sea. The service was wonderful, everyone at reception tries so hard to accommodate our wishes. The single rooms are obviously small but with all the availabilities of a good hotel – minibar, free tea and coffee, notepad etc. Reception and lobby are huge for Istanbul hotels. There are both sea view rooms which will be a little more expensive and rooms which give you a view of old Ottoman homes (I remembered seeing a colony of cats in one particularly vacant Ottoman homes which were charming). I’ve stayed here many times, either alone, with friends, with my parents and sister or with my husband and mother in law and each time has been lovely. I’ve also stayed for both work and leisure and when it’s for work, there is something so pure about walking down the Bosphorus after a long day out or enjoying a meal at the terrace watching the waterfront. Miss the honeycomb at breakfast.

Website link here.

I also enjoyed this video of the hotel found on youtube – link here.

And I thought this video on Istanbul by Turkish Airlines captured her energy very well.

And finally… this photo I found on the internet for me just beautifully captured what Turkey was in my eyes – a feline beauty.

calico cat on gray concrete stair
Photo by Burak K on

Note that the cover photo of an Istanbulite feeding multiple stray cats was taken by my much loved and late friend. A classic Turkish memory of how loved streets cats are.

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