Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
A small, charming boutique hotel with a phenomenal location
Hotel Ibrahim Pasha is a boutique hotel in the truest sense of the word, with only 24 rooms and almost no features to speak of. There is no fitness center, no spa, and no-onsite restaurant. But for most guests, the lack of features hardly matters -- the hotel's appeal lies in its boutique extras, charming decor, and fantastic location.
The many thoughtful extras really do go a long way toward making the stay, from the free tea and coffee served all day upon request, to the free DVD library, to the afternoon cake, to the wonderful wood-burning fireplaces in the lobby and library. The hotel's roof terrace is a highlight, offering spectacular views of the Blue Mosque and Bosphorus; the hotel can bring up drinks for guests year-round, and a small bar for guests only opens up in the warmer months.
The hotel is located on a side street just off the Hippodrome, and though it is extremely convenient for sightseeing, taxi drivers often have a hard time finding it. Luckily, the hotel gives out a handy map of the area with directions to the hotel printed in Turkish. The map also includes local restaurant and sightseeing suggestions, though guests are probably better off making their own dining choices.
On a side street just off the Hippodrome in Sultanahmet, within walking distance of almost every major sight
Hotel Ibrahim Pasha has a fantastic location on a side street just off the Hippodrome, a social center and arena where chariot racing took place in ancient Constantinople. Today, the Hippodrome is a pedestrian promenade and the heart of the Old City. Two famous obelisks are on display here: The Obelisk of Theodosius, and the Constantine Obelisk. Istanbul's other most popular sights, including the Blue Mosque, the Hagia Sophia, and the Basilica Cistern, are in the immediate vicinity.
Istanbul is a city of contrasts. It's a city that's both modern and ancient, where great restaurants, hopping nightlife, and horrific traffic exist alongside some of the world's most impressive ancient wonders. It's both western and eastern, culturally as well as geographically: It's the only city in the world on two continents (Europe and Asia). A visitor can listen to the Muslim call to prayer while standing in the shadow of the Blue Mosque and feel transported to another time -- or go clubbing after nightfall with Istanbul's trendy urbanites. Though Istanbul is predominately Muslim, there's a clear divide between the secular, westernized population and the conservative Muslims: as a result, it's not unusual to see Turkish women in chic western dress sharing the sidewalk with women in burqas. And a smattering of other faiths also call Istanbul home, including Greek Orthodox Christians and Jews (European Jews first sought refuge in Istanbul during the Inquisition).
The Turks are famous for their hospitality, and tourists, including Americans, should feel very welcome here. Though it's good to be cautious in any large city, Istanbul's crime rates are relatively low and most tourists won't have much to worry about aside from getting occasionally overcharged by taxi drivers.
Tiny but adorable rooms with modern amenities
Hotel Ibrahim Pasha's Standard Rooms aren't small, they're tiny, and come with either one double bed or two twin beds. For more square footage, upgrade to the Deluxe Room. All rooms come with modern amenities such as flat-screen TVs, iPod docks, robes, and slippers. Beds are a bit hard.
Bathrooms are on the small side, and the plastic shower curtains don't do much to prevent the bathroom from getting wet when you shower, but they do have Molton Brown toiletries and rainfall showerheads.
A nice free breakfast, plus free coffee and tea
The hotel does not have an on-site restaurant, but it does offer a free breakfast with fruits, cereals, cheeses, meats, breads, pastries, and yogurt. Fresh-squeezed orange juice is available for an extra fee. Coffee and tea are served all day upon request, and the hotel also sells alcoholic beverages.
Plenty of restaurants can be found nearby -- some reasonably tasty, and all touristy. Better restaurants with a more local vibe can be found in Beyoglu. The hotel includes a list of restaurant recommendations in different neighborhoods on the map they provide to guests, but the two I tried were unmemorable, so it's probably worth doing your own research when it comes to dining.
Hotel Ibrahim Pasha is one of the most charming boutique hotels in Sultanahmet, with an unbeatable location just off the Hippodrome. The cozy lobby and library both have wood-burning fireplaces -- a real treat in the cooler months -- and the roof terrace has a jaw-dropping view of the Blue Mosque and the Bosphorus. The free breakfast is perfectly adequate if not as extensive as the offerings elsewhere, and free tea and coffee are served all day upon request. Standard Rooms are diminutive but adorable, with flat-screen TVs, iPod docks, robes, Molton Brown toiletries, and rainfall showerheads. For what you get, it's a great value, though prices do spike up in peak season.