Central location 10- to 15-minute walk from main historic sights
Friendly, family-run hotel with helpful staff
Bed configurations can be altered to meet guests’ needs
Rooms have small refrigerators, flat-screen TVs, and safes
Free Wi-Fi throughout hotel
Simple rooms don’t have views and some are rather dark
Breakfast served in windowless basement room
Street outside is run-down and can get traffic noise
This no-frills 21-room hotel in an unprepossessing part of Istanbul’s historic Sultanahmet district attracts families, couples, and other international and domestic travelers on a budget. Some of the rooms are small, some have off-kilter shapes, and most get minimal natural light, but they are clean, not over-decorated, and contain the basic amenities expected by budget travelers. Guests generally give the Basileus high marks for the convenience of its location, and for the friendliness and helpfulness of the brothers and their staff who run the hotel. The only slightly pricier Muyan Suites has a more upmarket feel, while the slightly cheaper Berce Hotel is a touch more basic.
Housed in a dark grey stucco building on an unremarkable corner, the Basileus Hotel doesn’t make a great first impression from the outside. Guests enter into a lobby filled with upholstered chairs, plants, and a magazine-cluttered coffee table. With paintings in faux gilt frames on the walls and the ceiling molding painted in bold floral designs, it’s gaudy but colorful compared to the hotel’s drab exterior. A central staircase leads up to two additional floors where the majority of the hotel’s 21 rooms are located off dimly lit hallways brightened with Turkish carpets.
On a scruffy street a short walk from major sights
A small maze of increasingly run-down streets leads from the heart of the Sultanahmet tourist district to the Basileus Hotel, located on a corner across from a beautifully dilapidated old stone Turkish bath. It’s generally a quiet area but the street out front can generate some traffic noise. There are some local restaurants and small shops nearby, nothing of particular note, but it’s a only 10 to 15 minutes on foot to major sights like the Blue Mosque, the Basilica Cistern, and the Hagia Sophia, as well as the Sultanahmet stop on the tram line. It’s a 30-minute drive to the airport in light traffic.
Clean, simple rooms without a lot of natural light
Most of the Basileus Hotel’s 21 rooms can be arranged for double or triple accommodation, and there’s also a Family Room with one large bed and two small ones. Two of the rooms are located on the basement floor and five are on the ground floor, which is also partially below ground level; none of them get much (if any) natural light, though the staff say they try to move people into more desirable rooms when they're available. The top two floors of the hotel each have seven rooms; the ones on the side of the building above the lobby get the most light. There is one set of connecting rooms that may appeal to larger families. Most rooms are decently sized, though some aren’t really big enough to fit three beds, and the bathrooms are small. Rooms are decorated simply with inexpensive-looking wood furniture and perhaps a Turkish carpet or a framed textile piece on the wall.
All rooms have kettles, small flat-screen TVs, safes, small fridges, hairdryers, extra blankets, and a simple assortment of toiletries. A few room have small shower/tub combos while most just have showers.
Minimal amenities other than Wi-Fi and a standard breakfast buffet
A traditional Turkish breakfast buffet — with cheeses, breads, olives, jams, tomatoes, cucumbers, and the like — is served in a basement room with dark-blue upholstered chairs and a flat-screen TV on the wall.
There’s one computer in the lobby for guests to use as well as a small variety of books, magazines, and brochures about tourist activities in Istanbul. Staff are happy to help with restaurant and tour bookings.
Free Wi-Fi is available in the rooms and public areas.