When planning our trip to Istanbul, the Doubletree Istanbul Sirkeci came up as the best option near the Sultanahmed area. While my cousin’s wedding took place at the Kempinski Ciragan Palace and everyone was staying at the Hilton Bomonti, we decided to spend our first two nights sightseeing in Sultanahmed. This is where most of the tourist attractions are and since it was my sister’s first time in Istanbul, I wanted her to see as much of it as possible.
Doubletree Istanbul Sirkeci Location
The Doubletree Istanbul Sirkeci has an excellent location. Even more so than the Doubletree Istanbul Old Town, where I stayed six years ago. It’s within walking distance of Topkapi Palace, the Blue Mosque and the Grand Bazaar. There’s also a tram station around the corner, which is perfect if you don’t like to walk or want to travel further out.
The real highlight of this location, though, is the character and charm of the neighborhood. You won’t find a lot of tourists roaming around, but you will see a lot of locals. Most of them shopping or enjoying lunch at the incredible kebab restaurant across the narrow street. There’s a line of shops and restaurants around one side of the hotel and a bustling market street on the other. The main street is where most of the tourist traffic is. You really do get the best of both worlds at this location.
Doubletree Istanbul Sirkeci Check-in
We checked into the Doubletree Istanbul Sirkeci around 7 PM, after a 35-minute cab ride from the airport. Right away, we were greeted by the friendly staff who took our bags and directed us to the front desk. There was no one else in line, so we got checked in very quickly. They did recognize my Hilton Diamond status, though it didn’t result in an upgrade of any kind. The front desk agent explained the breakfast benefit to me, handed me a million key cards and said our bags would be up shortly.
Doubletree Istanbul Sirkeci Standard Twin Room
We booked two types of rooms at the Doubletree Sirkeci: A Standard Twin and a Queen Deluxe room. The standard room had about 50 sqft less space than the Queen Deluxe room. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get a photo of that room since the kids ran in and crashed on the beds right away. But it was furnished in the same way, with two twin beds and the same sized bathroom. The standard Twin room had a pull-out couch, making it a great choice for families. It also had the same awful view of an abandoned building next door. I believe a standard room is around 25,000 Hilton points per night, though paid rates are often around $100. I would definitely opt for the cash rate and use miles from the Barclay Arrival Plus card to cover it.
Doubletree Istanbul Sirkeci Queen Deluxe Room
The Queen Deluxe room, on the other hand, was nice and spacious. It featured two queen-sized beds and tons of floor space. That’s pretty useful when you’re traveling with a large group and need space to store your 11 bags. That’s right – the eight of us (five adults) had 11 bags. Despite my lecture to only take one bag per person, everyone packed like they were fleeing Versailles during an uprising. Except for me – I managed to fit all my belongings into my Fun90 Passport carry-on bag.
There was also a large closet with tons of shelf space.
Every room also had a small refreshment station with complimentary water, tea, and coffee.
The beds were a bit uncomfortable and the sheets, while soft, looked a little worn. The wifi was super slow. I couldn’t connect on my phone at all, but luckily T-Mobile has me covered in those situations. Overall, the rooms were fine and definitely bearable, considering the great neighborhood.
The room had plenty of power outlets, which should be a given these days but isn’t. Not only were there lots of places around the desk and beds to plug in electronics, but the alarm clock also had tons of chargers for various types of phones.
The Mini Bar
It was nice for once to have a mini bar that wasn’t outrageously priced. The favorable exchange rate (6.50:1), brought the cost of a bottle of water down to almost $1. Even the snacks were reasonable at ~$1 – $2 a piece.
The bathroom looked really nice on first sight but it was pretty grimy. The bath amenities were awful – they seemed watered down and the shampoo and conditioner left my hair in tough shape. Hilton really needs to do away with this awful Verbena bath product line.
They were also pretty stingy with the towels, only putting out two in the bathroom on our second day.
Doubletree Istanbul Sirkeci Breakfast
As a Hilton Diamond member, everyone in my group got free breakfast. Breakfast was served at the basement-level Gulhane Restaurant between 7:00 – 10:30 AM every morning. I was pretty jetlagged, so I always ended up being the first person there.
The breakfast was probably the worst I’ve had at any hotel. At 7:30 AM, the food was already cold and tasted like it had been doused with water. The boiled breakfast sausage was inedible and they served that watered down scrambled egg substitute that no one likes.
Don’t get me wrong, there was plenty to choose from. It just wasn’t very good. All I really need for breakfast is fresh eggs, orange juice, and coffee. It always bugs me when hotels opt for egg substitute.
The buffet was stocked with whole fruits, which looked unwashed. I would have preferred pre-cut fruit, since it allows more variety.
That being said, the chocolate croissants were pretty damn good. I ate three for breakfast every morning (they were small) – until they stopped stocking them on the last day.
Then it was on to the cereal bar for me because God knows the hot items weren’t edible.
I will say the restaurant staff was very hospitable. As I said, I was the first person there every morning and they took good care of me. They were quick to offer coffee as soon as I sat down and constantly checked on me to make sure I had everything I needed.
The Service at Doubletree Istanbul Sirkeci
The staff at the Doubletree Istanbul Sirkeci was really friendly and helpful throughout our stay. One night, my sister went to the front desk to ask where the closest convenience store was. The manager told her it was around the corner, but insisted on sending the security guard with her. To be clear, this neighborhood was very safe and I personally walked around there at night several times. It’s bustling at night, with lots of people around. But this is more of a cultural thing where it’s considered unhospitable to let a female “guest” wander around alone in a strange neighborhood.
Final Thoughts on the Doubletree Istanbul Sirkeci
Despite some of the shortcomings of the hotel, I would recommend the Doubletree Istanbul Sirkeci to anyone visiting Istanbul. The breakfast sucks, but you can easily walk a few steps around the neighborhood and have a delicious, traditional Turkish breakfast for practically nothing. It’s got an unbeatable location close to Sultanahmet and just steps away from public transportation.
The restaurant across the street, Soehret Koftecisi, has hands down the best kebab you’ll eat anywhere. And for only ~$2.50 per plate! More importantly, the neighborhood has so much character and charm – you’re not going to get that staying at most chain hotels in Istanbul.
Have you stayed at the Doubletree Istanbul Sirkeci? What are your thoughts on this hotel?