I'm arriving in Istanbul 3 days before the tour and leaving 2 days after the tour ends. Do you have any suggestions for a central, convenient hotel. (moderately priced)
We took the tour last month and stayed at [Hotel Grand Peninsula]
: http://www.grandpeninsulahotel.com/grand_peninsula/rooms.htm before the trip. Ricks group usually stays at Hotel Azade but we wanted something more affordable . The Hotel Grand Peninsula is an easy 2 minute walk from the Azade. The rooms were clean, staff very friendly and good breakfast on the rooftop with a great view. I highly recommend it. We found the hotel in Rick's book BTW.
We'll be staying at the Sarnic Premier in July. (The Sarnic itself, recommended by RS, does not have an elevator.) Friends just stayed at the Premier two weeks ago and gave it very favorable reviews.
I stayed at Old City Viva a few years ago... nothing fancy but very reasonable and centrally located on the tram line between the Blue Mosque area and the Spice Market. Great breakfast as well.