Starting from Istanbul, and all the rest is yet to be decided. I’d like to spend time in Izmir and see some coastal towns south and on around to the Mediterranean side, maybe Antalya. Will be hugging the coast and staying in the western part of the country – though I will try to get to Ankara if I can reach my friend BB.
I have NEVER had such a tough time choosing a hotel. There are countless blogs about traveling in Turkiye, including a number of blogs by and for single women. And all sites about Istanbul tell you of the many neighborhoods, with many that sound appealing. I decided to study transit maps for a start, to understand how I’d be getting around, and what might be convenient.
Once I booked a night at the opera, I thought of staying in that part of town, on the Asian side. Sounds like a good area, not too touristy but plenty of restaurants and convenient to the Asian side of the ferries. But since that’s just one evening, I decided that on that day I’ll start out hours early and enjoy the ferry over and walk a bit before the concert.
Scanning hotel sites, I came across hundreds of well-rated hotels near the Blue Mosque and all the very historic area of the major sights – and many are amazing bargains. But I decided to look across the bridges from that little peninsula, to be either near Taksim Square (old Pera, now Beyoğlu, if I’ve understood correctly) or near the ferries (old Galata, now called Karaköy). I think it will be beautiful to be crossing the water to get to the bazaar and market area of Eminönü and then very convenient to continue by tram to Hagia Sophia, Hagia Irene and the Blue Mosque.
Even after that decision, it’s taken a long day of searching to make a choice. The problem is that there seems to be no end of well-liked and attractive hotels, at all price points. Embarrassment of riches. Ah, that’s what I expect of Turkiye generally – a wealth of wonderful things to enjoy, be they sights or tastes or experiences. How to choose just one hotel? In the end it was made a bit easier by knowing I’ll likely spend time in Istanbul again before flying out, and by my belief that I’m going to like Turkiye so much that I’ll have many happy returns. Optimism reigns!
Narrowing it down … what mattered most, after location? Sea view? Great breakfast? Hammam on site? Gym? I’ll get plenty of simple exercise just walking, but having weight machines is very appealing. Good for my arms and back, and I’ll be handling my suitcase(s) through a lot of transfers these next months.
I decided that during all these upcoming travels I will enjoy breakfast and then a dinner-like lunch, but not dine in the evening. Of course, I’ll be flexible when I can meet up with friends, but this fits my intermittent-fasting type of diet (time-restricted eating, really) and means not wandering about alone at night – except when going to a concert. That means I may spend a good part of the evening in my hotel, and that in turn means that a good view and comfortable seating matters. I narrowed my selections down to rooms with a private terrace or balcony, and a sea view. I decided breakfast doesn’t matter, since I’ve read so much about all the wonderful breakfast restaurants, and many times come across advice to not eat in your hotel every day. Sounds fine to me; I don’t need to, or care to, eat when I first get up, so why not plan to explore a bit every day and have a wide variety of restaurant experiences? RIght up my alley!
Conclusion: I’ve booked a king room with balcony/terrace (who knows? no photos of that detail; I just hope there is outdoor seating or a chair I can put there) and sea view! at the Galata Palace Hotel very close to the ferries and the bridges that will take me over to the historic mosques.
I would LOVE recommendations from friends who’ve been to Turkiye and can suggest good places to stay or give travel tips. Of course, I’m reading plenty online, but suggestions from someone I know would mean more.