Reviews

Revisiting the Grand Hyatt Istanbul

I stayed at the Grand Hyatt Istanbul for the first time in 2012 and absolutely loved it. I don’t know what it is about this hotel, but it has such a homey vibe. When I was still staying at the Hilton Bomonti on my most recent trip (the whole family was there my cousin’s wedding), I ventured out to Taksim Square one night. On foot. I passed the Grand Hyatt Istanbul and wished we could have stayed there instead. Luckily, I got my chance when we returned from Cappadocia. The lack of award space home meant we had to spend two more nights in Istanbul and the Grand Hyatt was perfect. We’d already spent sufficient time in Sultanahmet and the Bosphorus area. Two days near the shopping district of Taksim Square was perfect.

Grand Hyatt Istanbul Review
Grand Hyatt Istanbul Review

Grand Hyatt Istanbul Location

The Grand Hyatt Istanbul is in a beautiful, quiet area steps from Taksim Square. I know that sounds like an oxymoron, but the hotel really is an oasis in the midst of a bustling tourist district. The Intercontinental is across the street and you can easily walk to nearby parks, shops, and sights. If you’re staying in Istanbul for a week or more, I definitely think it’s worthwhile to split your time between Sultanahmet and Taksim. 

Grand Hyatt Istanbul Check-in

Our flight from Cappadocia was delayed by several hours, which was absolute torture, considering the entire airport is the size of an elementary school classroom. We arrived at the Grand Hyatt Istanbul around 10 PM. Like most large hotels in Istanbul, there was a metal detector by the entrance that we had to pass through. This included placing our bags through the machine. During our 2-night stay, we came and went quite a bit, so after a while the staff would let us pass without putting our bags through the machine.

The lobby was as gorgeous as I remembered it and featured a beautiful floral display.

Review: Grand Hyatt Istanbul Lobby Sunflowers
Grand Hyatt Istanbul Lobby Flowers

The place was eerily quiet – in fact, throughout our stay it felt like we were the only people at the hotel. I was relieved when the front desk agent was able to accommodate us with three adjacent rooms – two of them adjoining. We were traveling with kids and this made it easy for my parents to help my sister out.

Review: Grand Hyatt Istanbul Lobby
Grand Hyatt Istanbul Lobby

Grand Hyatt Istanbul Room

We had booked one King room and two Twins. It’s unfortunate the hotel didn’t have rooms with two Queen beds, but that’s to be expected in most of Europe. The rooms were on the 7th floor and similar to the ones we had six years ago.

Grand Hyatt Istanbul Standard Room Review
Grand Hyatt Istanbul Standard Room

Except all of them were facing the pool and were showing their age. The carpets and upholstery were stained, furniture scuffed, and everything was a little old and dusty.

Review: Grand Hyatt Istanbul Pool View
Grand Hyatt Istanbul Pool View

I noticed a room service card on the bedside table, with a welcome note. The room attendant field was left blank, which was fitting considering the room looked like it hadn’t been cleaned in a while.

Grand Hyatt Istanbul Review Housekeeping
Grand Hyatt Istanbul room attendant card

That theory was debunked when housekeeping showed up the next morning…at 8:56 AM. I realize we should have put the do-not-disturb sign out, but that’s still ridiculously early for housekeeping to show up.

The room further showed its age with an ethernet cable by the desk. Of course, they did have wifi and it was pretty fast. The desk also had a compartment for all the power outlets and an adapter, which was convenient because even though we brought two of our own, there never seemed to be enough. 

Grand Hyatt Istanbul Review power outlets
Grand Hyatt Istanbul power outlets

There were three complimentary water bottles on the desk. These were replenished the following day.

Grand Hyatt Istanbul Room Review Desk
Grand Hyatt Istanbul Desk

A refreshment station was stored under the TV. It had coffee and tea, which is pretty standard. 

Grand Hyatt Istanbul in-room coffee and tea
Grand Hyatt Istanbul coffee and tea

The coffee creamer packet made me laugh. I guess it’s pretty straight to the point, right?

Grand Hyatt Istanbul Review "Coffee Whitener
Grand Hyatt Istanbul “Coffee Whitener

The room had a sufficient amount of storage space. The closet was to the right side of the door. It contianed plenty of coat hangers, along with a safe and a pair of slippers and robes.

Grand Hyatt Istanbul Review standard room closet
Grand Hyatt Istanbul standard room closet

Grand Hyatt Istanbul Bathroom

The bathroom was pretty disappointing. When we stayed here six years ago, the bathrooms were stocked with lots of bath products as well as loofahs.

Grand Hyatt Istanbul Review standard room bathroom
Grand Hyatt Istanbul Bathroom
Grand Hyatt Istanbul Review: Standard Room Bathtub
Grand Hyatt Istanbul Bathroom

This time, the box by the sink only contained a pair of hand towels, a single shampoo, and a shower cap.

Portico Bath Amenities at Grand Hyatt Istanbul
Portico bath amenities at Grand Hyatt Istanbul

The shower contained additional bath products from Portico. There were two bottles of shampoo, one conditioner, and a bar of soap. They were pretty tiny but I like these products better than that awful Verbane line at the Doubletree Sirkeci. 

Grand Hyatt Istanbul Review Bath Amenities
Grand Hyatt Istanbul bath amenities

That being said, unlike the rest of the room, the bathroom was well maintained. Which is more important to me anyway.

Grand Hyatt Istanbul Room Service

Room service at the Grand Hyatt Istanbul was quite cheap, thanks to the 1:6.50 exchange rate. We ordered room service for the kids the first night and it was pretty awful. 

Grand Hyatt Istanbul Room Service: Fettuccine alfredo and chicken nuggets
Grand Hyatt Istanbul Room Service: Fettuccine Alfredo and chicken nuggets

We ordered the “chicken, mushroom, cream sauce with parmesan (i.e. fettuccini alfredo)” and chicken nuggets. The fettuccine alfredo was 42 TL (~$7) and the chicken nuggets were 34 (~$5). The chicken nuggets were basically giant pieces of fried chicken breast. They were burned on the outside but practically raw on the inside, so the kids wouldn’t eat them.

The pasta was served cold and without bread. I had my qualms with the Hilton Bomonti, but their room service could not be faulted. The food arrived quickly, hot and they didn’t skimp on the bread and condiments.

Service issues at Grand Hyatt Istanbul

On the first night, I called room service for two glasses of milk for my nieces. About 20 minutes later, a server showed up with two empty cups. I clarified that I had ordered two cups of milk. He left and someone else returned, again with two empty cups. I called the front desk and the agent insisted that I had ordered two empty cups and that I’d be charged a 30 TL (~$4) fee for each delivery. That’s about as insane a response I’ve ever gotten from any hotel employee. Rather than argue with Kellyann Conway, I spoke to a manager who ultimately apologized and sent up two glasses of milk. 

Grand Hyatt Istanbul: Milk from room service
Grand Hyatt Istanbul: Milk from room service

That being said, the milk they delivered was insanely delicious. It tasted like half and half and you could tell it wasn’t filled with all the preservatives they add here in the U.S. 

Grand Hyatt Istanbul Breakfast

In the past, I would have never booked a hotel without elite status benefits. But the Grand Hyatt was really the best option in Taksim and I figured with the favorable exchange rate, we’d just pay for breakfast. A full breakfast at the Grand Hyatt Istanbul cost 110 TL (~$17), which is actually not that bad. However, after that horrible experience with room service, we decided to try a local restaurant called Namli Gurme. I’ll have the review for that place up tomorrow.

Final Thoughts on the Grand Hyatt Istanbul

Between the poorly maintained rooms and awful service, I was very disappointed in the Grand Hyatt Istanbul. I was expecting the same lovely experience I’d had six years prior and was disappointed that the place had gone downhill. I will say that not everything was bad. The front desk staff that checked us in were friendly and the bell boys always helpful. Would I stay here again? Probably not. At least not until the hotel undergoes a renovation and I hear reports of improved service.

Have you stayed at the Grand Hyatt Istanbul before? What are your thoughts on this hotel?

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