Getting a cab at the airport was quick and we managed to negotiate a flat rate beforehand. If you let them run the meter, your $30 cab ride could double thanks to creative routing on the driver’s part. To my amazement, the driver made good on his promise to fit all of our bags into the trunk of his compact car.
- Grand Hyatt Istanbul
- Istiklal Avenue, Istanbul
- Blue Mosque, Istanbul
- Hagia Sophia, Istanbul
- Topkapi Palace, Istanbul
- Old Town Istanbul (at night)
- Eminonu New Mosque & The Egyptian Spice Market
- Doubletree Istanbul Old Town
- KLM Business Class Istanbul – Amsterdam – San Francisco
- 5 Things I Love About Istanbul
The sights out of the airport are not great. You’ll wonder if this is what Istanbul is like as a whole. It’s not. Also, not every mosque you pass will be the Blue Mosque, though to be fair, they all kind of look the same.
There was a gate outside the Grand Hyatt Istanbul and the guard let us in after the cab driver popped the trunk. When my dad asked him about security, the driver gestured reassuringly and said, “No problem.” The tight security at both hotels we stayed at was surprising.
The Grand Hyatt Istanbul is a Category 4 hotel, requiring 15,000 points per night for a standard room. I booked two club rooms at 18,000 points per night each, so we’d have access to the lounge.
This Grand Hyatt Istanbul was only available on the first night of our stay, while the Doubletree Old Town was available on all dates except the first night. This worked out well, allowing us easy access to both the Taksim area and Old Town.
The hotel was much more impressive than the pictures on Tripadvisor led on. The staff was great, though the front desk agents seemed frazzled at all times.
The agent took quite a bit of time with my reservation, then informed me I would need to check in at the Club Level. Except, he didn’t tell me I needed an elevator key to get there! After pointing this out to him, he walked me to the elevator, swiped his card, and we were able to get to the Club Level. Several other Club Level guests experienced the same issue when boarding the elevator.
Check-in took place in the sitting area across from the club lounge. From there, we took the elevator up one floor to our rooms, though we could have taken the stairs through the library if we didn’t have bags to carry.
I didn’t have high expectations for this hotel. The photos on Tripadvisor made it look very bland, and the only reason I booked it was because the Park Hyatt was sold out. However, the rooms were very spacious and comfortable.
We had rooms 908 and 909, which I highly recommend to anyone staying on the Club Level. My favorite part about the rooms were the huge windows and the beautiful views of the picturesque neighborhood and park. At night, we had a clear view of the fireworks on the Bosphorous.
A bowl of fruit was placed on the table outside the bathroom in each room.
The bathroom was large, with a separate shower and tub. Amenities were scarce, but more were delivered upon request.
The Club Lounge wasn’t on par with the Hyatt Regency Dubai, but that’s an unfair comparison. While the lounge was stocked with lots of different beverages, the only snacks they had when we dropped by after a day of sightseeing were cookies, biscottis, and a few stale pastries.
There were no hot items for breakfast. You could choose from a variety of breads, meats, cheese, and fruits. Good choices, but still left something to be desired.
The Grand Hyatt is right across from the Intercontinental and a short walk to Taksim Square and Istiklal Avenue. There was something very comforting about this hotel and the surrounding neighborhood. Having explored all the tourist sights, I would definitely stay in this area a bit longer on my next trip to Istanbul.
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