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Quieter Istanbul neighborhood but easy exit to IST?

If I have an early flight out of IST (i.e., 8:00am) back to the U.S., is it wiser to stay at a hotel in the Sultanahmet district of Istanbul rather than in the Taksim, Suleymaniye, or elsewhere?

The thing is that I'll be staying for three nights in the Sultanahmet during the RS's 13-day Turkey tour, and so when I pass back through Istanbul for another two nights on my exit from the country, I'd like to get a taste for a different part of town. Preferably one that is quieter and less tourist central. However, I do worry about a much longer and/or trafficky ride through town to get to the airport and would be willing to stay again in the Sultanahmet if my airport transfer (shuttle, taxi, metro, whatever) is significantly shorter/less of a hassle.

The hotels in other neighborhoods I am considering include the Villa Pera Suite Hotel (Taksim), Karakoy Port Hotel (on river facing Asia side in Beyoglu), and the Hayriye Hanim Konagi (Suleymaniye). I am also open to your experiences in other hotels located in quieter/convenient parts of town. These just reviewed well on Tripadvisor and are in my price range.

Thanks in advance for your help!

Posted by
6721 posts

I stayed in Sultanahmet Suites in a local neighborhood walking distance to the old city (www.booking.com/SultanahmetSuites). Although it was close to the major sites, it still felt like a world away because it was truly a local location and there weren't too many tourists until I walked a bit nearer to the Blue Mosque (where the concentration of tourist hotels became immediately noticeable). Another neighborhood close to it was called Kumkapi (it has tons of fish restaurants and at least one American style - i.e. Best Western - and local hotels). The pluses of staying there is that these areas are closer to the airport. Taksim and the Asian side of Istanbul are further from the airport and will be a longer taxi ride. Having said all that, if you are leaving the hotel around 6am or earlier, it really won't matter much. I left my place around 5:30am and there was no traffic to speak of. I also found a shuttle right next to my hotel that charged me only 5 Euros - again, because I stayed away from the heavily touristy places and I got lucky with such a deal.

My best advice to you is to pull up google, locate the airport and then search hotels by distance on the map. Technically you can stay very close to the airport but the accommodations will be modern, dull, and there'll be nowhere nearby to walk to. Or you can stay in a more local neighborhood depending on your comfort level (e.g. Fatih, Kumkapi, Zeytinburnu, etc).

Posted by
338 posts

If you want to experience someplace different (compared to Sultanahmet), Taksim may be your best bet. It may also work best based on your airline departure time. The area is considered the center of the city and is well served by shuttles and taxis and the metro to let you get to the airport early in the morning and around town the other days . Please note that Taksim is more of a business/commercial area, but has plenty of tourist activity. Istiklal street connects to it to the southwest and is a great street to walk in the early evening.

The Karakoy Port hotel sounds like it may be down near the cruise ship port. You may want to check on that as it may affect your target experience.

The Hayriye Hanim Konagi sounds like it is near the Suleyman Mosque which is well worth a visit. I don't know too much about that area, however.

Have fun!

Posted by
16860 posts

If you are leaving the hotel by 5 a.m., I'm going to guess that traffic won't be a significant problem from either neighborhood.

Posted by
50 posts

thank you agnes, rob, and laura -- this is all such helpful advice!

it's good to hear that the traffic won't be so bad that early in the morning (i have heard the traffic can be a problem). so i will look into the taksim (e.g., the villa pera suite hotel) to take advantage of public transportation upon departing and arriving into istanbul OR the sultanahmet suites as agnes suggested for a cheap and quick exit to the airport.

thanks again!