How easy and quick is it to travel by public transport between Taksim Square and the Sultanahmet? I am considering booking a few nights at either the Grand Hyatt or the Hilton, but they are both near Taksim and I expect to spend most of the day in the Old Town. According to the map, I could take the funicular to Kabatas and from there take the tramway to Sultanahmet -- would the entire trip take 15 minutes, a half hour, or more? Are taxis faster -- or is traffic a problem? Is walking an option?
Wouldn't it be easier to just book a hotel in the Sultanhamet?
Why not skip the Grand Hyatt and Hilton and stay right in the Sultanahmet at the Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at Sultanahmet? I love that hotel. I would love to live there!!! It is elegant, gorgeous, classy, and luxurious (even the regular rooms are divine) and is right in the heart of the Old City. You'll love the view of Hagia Sophia and can walk right to cafes, restaurants and sites like the Cisterns, the Blue Mosque, the Hippodrome, the Grand Bazaar, and Topkapi Palace. Forget about transportation- you are there as soon as you check in.
Their staff from the doorman, the bell hops, the desk staff, housekeeping, restaurant wait staff and concierges are warm and welcoming and take care of everything. Rooms are huge with great beds and big bathrooms with luxury all over. Room service is wonderful and I love eating all 3 meals in the Season Restaurant. The food and service are wonderful and there are so many well-prepared choices. They have desserts that are to die for and the ice cream comes in unique flavors. Eat in the restaurant, get it delivered to your room, or they will fix a picnic for you to take with you.
I just wouldn't stay anywhere else. For more info and to book, their website is www.fourseasons.com/istanbul/?source=taistanbulbhotel#_=_
From my few days' experience in Istanbul in late October, it is absolutely not convenient to stay near Taksim Square. Taxis often move very slowly in the Old Town because of traffic congestion. If you're in Sultanahmet, you are anywhere from a few meters to a 20-minute walk to everything!
Much more convenient to stay in Sultanhamet, you will probably be going there nearly every day anyway.
Thanks for your replies. I had assumed the Taksim area was not ideal for touring, and your comments confirm it. I am going to have a closer look at Sultanahmet options. The Four Seasons sounds great.
Not very many meters from the Four Seasons is the Empress Zoe Hotel. It is exotic and charming and very beautiful. It used to be owned by an American woman but that may no longer be the case. Worth looking at and bound to be less expensive than the Four Seasons. If I want a Four Seasons I can stay at one in my own city.
I'm certainly beating a dead horse, but like everyone else, I agree Sultanahmet is a far better place to set up your base. Most major sights are on the Eminou side, and the energy is something else. You could probably find cheaper options for accommodation over in Sultanahmet as well.
Additionally it's super easy to get to Taksim from Sultanahmet. Just go in reverse: Tram to Kabatas, Funicular to Taksim, then do some shopping down Istiklal Caddessi heading towards Galata Tower, and then back to Sultanahmet,
Don't take a taxi. not practical and really not necessary.
You're not beating a dead horse at all. I very much appreciate all the responses. Sultanahmet does indeed appear to be the better choice. Looking forward to my first visit to Istanbul!
Have a great trip! Istanbul is a awesome introduction to turkey.