We are going to be in Istanbul for 4 days at the very end of May. We have narrowed down our price/style to Sirkeci Mansion in Sirkeci or the Ibrahim Pasha in Sultahamet. Both look to be very nice, wondered if anyone can provide more personal feedback on the neighborhoods or these hotels in particular. We are late 40s/early 50s husband and wife - we typically stay in boutique type hotels as we like to interact with people, but aren't really into nightlife or noise. It seems a lot of people recommend Sultahemet for convenience, but I wondered if its safe/quiet or how it really compares to Sirkeci. Thanks in advance for any input.
Kerry, I Don’t know those particular hotels, but I have stayed three times at the Regie Ottoman Hotel in Sirkeci, and love it. Modest-sized modern hotel in an old building, great rooms and bathrooms, abundant and wonderful buffet breakfast, very friendly staff. You might take a look. Great value! Worth it to spend for a larger “superior” room, I think. I enjoyed being in Sirkeci, which is about midway between Sultanahmet and the Galata Bridge, near the Spice Bazaar, a few minutes walk either way. It is on a quiet street, but with much going on the major street nearby, which you would take in either direction. Tram stop very nearby. There are many tourist hotels in Sultanahmet, which is sort of downhill from the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sofia. Some good shopping at the Arasta Bazaar, very low-key compared to the Grand Bazaar. The Mosaic Museum is in that complex as well, small and quite different. It is closer to the main sites, but much further from the bridge and the rest of the city. Enjoy Istanbul, a great city with lots to see and do.
Did you do a Google Street view of both hotels just to see what the surroundings look like? The Ibrahim Pasha hotel is literally facing the back wall of the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts (fabulous place by the way), so you'll likely be looking straight into a wall as your view (although it would be likely quiet, except for the 5 calls to prayer from the mosque).
Both hotels are located on fairly narrow streets (common in Istanbul). The other one in Sirkeci has a lot of stores and restaurants nearby, it's in a more lively area (the downside is the touts can drive you crazy trying to get you into their stores). Still, I would pick the one in Sirkeci. It's incredibly convenient to the tram - looks like a 2 minute walk, if that. Another reason is that there is an actual continuous sidewalk there (of proper width and decent condition) on both sides of the street. The Ibrahim Pasha hotel feels like an alley hotel facing a giant wall with a very poor sidewalk on only one side which looks really broken up and not fun to walk on. It's much more tucked away (the upside of that is it would be likely quiet but, to me, the pedestrian environment is more important because I walk everywhere even at night and travel solo). Maybe it's just Google Street view, but look for yourself and see which street view appeals to you more. Do a virtual walk to see how you'd feel walking from each place.
We stayed at the Sirkeci Mansion in 2013 and highly recommend it. The location was perfect — we walked everywhere. Service was impeccable. Rooms were quiet and beautiful— we splurged for a room with balcony, which was lovely. They offered various activities at the time (free or very low cost) including a walking tour of the Golden Horn, a cooking class & a wine tasting. We were able to buy tickets at the desk for various attractions (I.e. Topkapi, which was a very short walk away) and they arranged airport pick-up and drop off. Delicious breakfasts. We absolutely loved everything about it.