We're in the tentative stages of planning a September trip which has our plane leaving Istanbul (assume Ataturk) at 6:30am. Since we have to be at the airport before dawn, is it better to stay the last night in a hotel near the airport. Has anyone had this experience?
About 2-3 years ago we too had an early morning flight. We were staying in Taksim sq and had just planned on taking the Havas bus to the airport. While waiting for the bus, a taxi driver offered to take us for the same price as the bus (note - we were a family of 4). So we took the taxi offer. At that time of the morning, the roads were deserted and it took 30 or so mins to the airport. Note that in general I try and get to the airport with only 1:15 to spare since it usually doesn't take too long at most airports to get through security and passport control. In summary, it depends on your comfort level and willingness to spend a little more. Unless you can find a hotel airport with transportation at that early hour, you may be better off staying in town and splurging on a cab.
I had a 6:30am flight last October and chose to stay at the Airport Hotel, which is only a few minutes walk from the international terminal (free shuttle also available). For me, that was a much better choice than staying in town, especially since I flew into Ataturk Airport from another part of Turkey earlier that day and was able to go straight to the hotel with my luggage. I found a deeply discounted rate on the hotel's website and booked directly. Prices are quoted in euro, but you will actually be billed in equivalent turkish lira. I took public transit into Sultanhamet area for a last day of sightseeing and dinner. If you're only thinking of relocating from town to the airport the last night, I'd suggest having an early dinner and then heading to the airport hotel. The hotel's restaurant is very expensive and other nearby eating options are extremely limited. You do get a coupon for a complementary glass of wine, so you can relax over that before turning in for the night.
Thanks for the info. We're thinking of switching things around and may start in Istanbul and then return from Goreme to fly out, so staying at Airport Hotel sounds like a good plan. Although as we won't make our reservations until late April things may change again. Could also fly out of Ankara and will decide based on price (vs flying from Nevsehir to Istanbul and then home to SF). Thanks again!
Carol, I wondered which hotel you decided to stay in that night? We're flying out of Ataturk Airport in June with a 6:15am flight so we're also looking at the "airport hotel" options and think that's the way to go. However, there are several different hotels called Airport Hotel and I'm trying to be sure we select the best one. Some are up to a mile away and the free shuttles don't start until that morning after our super-early flight actually departs. I wonder if it's worth paying the premium for the hotel that's actually IN the airport.
there are budget hotels you can get from the airport hotel desk. bargin on the price, and ask for a shuttle included as part of the deal. don't expect too much out of these budget hotels, but it's safe and clean enough to kill a night.
We stayed at Han Hostel Airport North. It is a modern and clean hotel about 10 mins from the airport. The room was small but the bathroom was new. We found it on booking.com. They did not have a free shuttle but the taxi was very inexpensive; we paid 15TL including tip. The hotel was 45euro last year. Not sure if this is any help. Our flight left mid morning and it took about 10 minutes to get to the airport. Hope this is helpful.