Would like to arrive 4 days before the Rick Steves tour. What is a good hotel?
We spent 7 nights at Hotel Sultan Hill. It's in an excellent location in Sultanahamet. Clean and very comfortable. The staff was extremely helpful!
Are you unable to use the hotel used for the tour? It may offer some perks or discounts and you wouldn't have to change hotels.
Hotel Sumengen. It was used on our RS tour in 2011. Also, Lo's suggestion is a good one. Have a great trip.
Hotel Zeugma was about 3 blocks away from the RS starting hotel. Very adequate, easy to walk to the starting hotel on day 1, and half the price of the RS starting hotel. Stayed there this past Oct before joining the Best of Turkey tour and was glad to have saved some money!
You'd didn't specify a part of town, but I'll assume Sultanahmet. It's been a few years since I've stayed in them, but the Blue House and Empress Zoe are both nice hotels in right next to all of the top sites in that part of town.
We stayed at the Dersaadet in the Sultanahmet section last year (spring 2013) and loved it- a lot of charm, decently priced, great location near the Blue Mosque and tram stop, etc. I highly recommend!
The Empress Zoe, mentioned above, is where we stayed. It is in Sultanhamet and walking distance to the Blue Mosque, etc. There is a terrace on the roof with a pretty view and the breakfasts are excellent.
I stayed in the Old City Viva Hotel that someone here recommended and it was find. About halfway between the Spice Market and Grand Bazaar area. It was nothing fancy, but very reasonable and had a great breakfast. It was a great location for us as we walked everywhere. Have a great time. I took my 11 year old grandson and we both loved it. One of my favorite places.
I stayed at Erboy hotel for almost a week, before moving to the RS tour hotel (Azade). I liked the Erboy much better, and it was a little cheaper. The Azade is indeed a couple minutes from the Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sofia (which are on the tour), but it's almost 10 minutes walk to the tram. The Erboy was much closer to the tram stops, there was a supermarket just down the street. The rooms are modern, the elevator is normal size and takes you to the breakfast room (excellent food) and the restaurant (also excellent, and wonderful service), as well as to the rooms. The Azade's elevator is a relic, you have to walk down a flight of stairs to enter the lobby from the street. You also have to walk up a flight of stairs to the breakfast room (nice view though).
From the Erboy it's about a 10 minute walk to the Azade, but it's also easy walking (in the other direction) to the Spice Market, the Galatia Bridge, and the Archaeological Museum.
The reception staff at the Erboy (always at least 2) all spoke beautiful English and all were knowledgeable and very helpful, with a good, free street map with every question. The Azade didn't have street maps and the one or sometimes two staff on duty were less than helpful.
We splurged a bit on the Sirkeci Konak, and were glad we did. It is a beautiful hotel, about half-way between the Spice Market and Blue Mosque. Wonderful, helpful staff. Great breakfasts. They offer a variety of free activities ... we participated in a walking tour of the Golden Horn one day, and a wine and cheese tasting on another. They also have a cooking class, but it was scheduled on the day we left. They offer free airport pickup. The room (and bathroom) were extremely comfortable, with free bottled water, fresh fruit and Turkish delight in the room. Great hotel.
We stayed at the White House Hotel in October 2013. We loved it. Only a 5-minute walk to the Blue Mosque and other sights around it. The hotel is on a quiet side street. The staff is wonderful and breakfast plentiful. We got a free ride from the airport because we stayed more than 4 nights.
Twice we have stayed at the Pension Side. A stones throw from Aya Sofia. Good price. Almost too clean. friendly staff. They run the Hotel Side, and as far as I can gather the difference is that with the hotel and higher price you get a TV. If you are watching TV when you are in Istanbul, then don't go there.
The price includes a reasonable breakfast. American style coffee, an egg, good bread, olives, bad orange juice, mediocre cheese, and bit more.
It was comfortable, quiet, safe, clean. And it wasn't a Hoilday Inn type place. This was someone's home at one time, actually the current owner's house who is there. He grew up here.
Really top notch location. Get a room on the ground floor (1st floor for us).