One of my hard and fast rules (which I often break anyway) about travel are that a journey should begin with a small amount of luxury so that you can get your head on straight in a new place and end with a lot of luxury so that you have something to look forward to during the privations of hard travel. On this trip, I picked the ideal hotel in Istanbul to start and finish with: The Hotel Ayasofya in Sultanahmet.
We arrived at the Hotel Ayasofya in Sultanahmet a little after 4:30 am. It’s owned by Turkish/Australian partnership. During our stay we met with the wonderful Australian partner, Gaye Reeves who has worked tirelessly to turn it into one of the nicest places I’ve ever stayed. Centrally located near the Blue Mosque and all of the major attractions, the Hotel Ayasofya is the perfect place to stay.
If you had seen it back in 1980, you wouldn’t believe it is the same place (just for reference, I didn’t see it in person back then). Originally built in the 19th century in a classic Ottoman style, the private home was allowed to fall into neglect and disrepair. By 1980 it had become derelict. After ten years of painstaking restoration in the original style, it was opened up as a hotel in 1990. Sumptuous rooms, plush classic furniture, and gorgeous decor combined with an attentive staff and the best complimentary breakfast we found anywhere in Turkey, this was a wonderful place for us to begin our Turkish adventures.
With a traditional Turkish atmosphere, gorgeous views of the Princes Islands in the Marmara Sea from the rooftop terrace and a location that allows for easy exploration of the hippodrome, the Ayasofia, the Blue Mosque, the Grand Bizarre, and the many museums of Sultanahmet.
Not that we took advantage of all of that within minutes of arriving before 5:00 am. What we did do was shower, turn on the air conditioner, see what channels were on the TV, and then go to sleep in the amazingly comfortable bed and linens for five hours. After that we woke up and had breakfast with Gaye who was kind enough to help us out with suggestions for our trip and who even typed up an itinerary based on our conversation complete with personal recommendations and contacts in the places we wanted to visit.
We were so impressed with the basic room we booked for our first night that we booked the top suite for the last night of our trip so that no matter what privations we might suffer on the road, we could know that our last night would be in the total and complete luxury that the Hotel Ayasofya offers.
To arrange a stay at the Ayasofya Hotel you can book directly
Resit Sok Number 28
you can call them at
To find out about rates and the various accomodation options you can visit their website at http://www.ayasofyahotel.com.
I can tell you in brief that our return to the Ayasofya was even better than the first night, but I’ll give you the details about the luxury of the top suite in due time.