My husband and I are starting our trip to Europe in Istanbul then heading to Italy but have to return to the US visa Istanbul b/c the airfare would have been twice as much to fly back from Rome. We arrive in Istanul at 1am on 10/4 and depart later that day at 1pm for DC. There is a hotel at the airport. It's about 150euro/night or stay which is about $200 USD Do you have any suggestions for spending an 11 hour layover?
Go into the city. It doesn't take long to get there and I think it'll be worth the effort. In the morning, get up early and have a look around the city when it's quiet.
There's lots of good hotels and they don't cost any more than what you're paying. It'll feel like an extra day of vacation.
You need to consider how early in the morning you are going to wake up. If your flight lands at 1, I would guess it will be close to 2:15 before you can be in bed (assuming you are staying in town and bags checked through to DC so that you don't have to wait for it - visa, immigration, cab to hotel). For a 1 pm flight my guess is that you will need to leave town at 10:15 if taking a cab to the airport. If you already have your boarding passes for the next flight and you are ok with cutting it close then you may have till 10:45-11. If taking a bus, you will need to give yourself more time. Hence, it comes down to - if you get to bed after 2, will you be able to wake by 7 to give yourself approx 2.5 hrs in town? Will you have the energy to see much after not much sleep? Is it worth the additional expense of the taxi fares? Only you can decide.
I stayed at a Holiday Inn near the airport and they actually had a free shuttle into the city. And I don;t think ti was $200 a night either.