My hotel, which is just inside the new district, wants to charge me 35 euros per trip from/to the Ataturk airport. I feel like this is expensive in comparison to the other options available. Can anyone tell me about their experience getting from and to the Ataturk airport using other methods of transport? Is the taxi cost reasonable? (in his guidebook, RS says it's around 65 TL). Is the light rail (while cheap) too much of a hassle?
The light rail requires a change of trains without much signage. It can be confusing to find the tram, even more so after a long flight. It can also be crowded.
I took the light rail, no problems. But it wasn't super crowded at that time and I was already familiar with it, having used it multiple times. With a map, I didn't find it hard to navigate (you can find a system map online). I liked the light rail because heavy traffic makes other modes less predictable. I would recommend it only if you're comfortable with public transit, with standing up to 40 minutes (in worst case scenario if you're coming from the Old City), and potentially crowds (although I've only had one really crowded experience out of all my trips there).
Natalie, in 2016 I used Efendi Travel for my airport transfer from Ataturk, a large and established company. They charged 20 or 25 euros each way for a private car, and all went very well. I am returning to Istanbul in late May, just checked, and they quoted me 20 euros to my hotel in Sirkeci, near old town. Because I am arriving around the afternoon rush hour. I was thinking of taking the light rail then a tram or taxi, to avoid traffic congestion, but I think I’ll just go with Effendi. After a long flight, better to be stuck in a comfy car than haul my baggage through a crowded train, and maybe stand up all the way, forget that! Look up efenditravel.com.
I also used Efendi Travel. I was pretty happy, once we made that long haul from Seattle to LA to Istanbul, to find someone standing outside with a my name on a sign. It's a service I didn't often pay for when I was younger, but it's a luxury I find worthwhile now - I'm tired when I arrive and I almost always get lost looking for my hotel.
I also used Efendi Travel from and to IST in March, 20 euros each way for a private car. I was very happy with their service. We used the tram service once in Instanbul but I couldn't imagine trying to find my hotel for the first time. The private service was worth 20 euros.
I just bought my flight to Istanbul yesterday! Yay. I looked at the Efendi website (thank you Lorencito!) and it's €20 to Sultanahmet. It sounds like your hotel is just a little farther so maybe another €5, maybe not.
I used Efendi Travel today. Excellent service. €20 No trouble finding the drivers. 30 min ride to my hotel in the Old Town, near Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque.