When you only have two days in a big city, accommodation location is key. We arrived in Istanbul knowing we would not have much time to pack in everything we hoped to do and see, so we went to work trying to find a hotel that would give us an easy walk to public transportation as well as major attractions.
Armada Old City Hotel Istanbul was exactly what we were looking for and it fit our needs perfectly!
Armada Old City is situated in the heart of old city Istanbul and it made for a perfect location for our two day stay in the city. It was a beautiful and easy drive from the airport as we were able to drive right along the water almost the entire trip. We asked the Armada in advance what the approximate taxi cost would be from the airport and they were spot on with their estimate of 40-50 Lira. We paid 45 Lira ($17 USD), which was fine as we had an early morning and a long day of travel.
Upon arrival we were warmly greeted in the lobby by reception and check-in was a breeze. We were escorted to our room and told about the various amenities on the property.
The room was charming and had a very Turkish feel, which was perfect for our first trip to Turkey. We loved the local peshtemal robes provided and would have gladly stayed in them for two days lounging in the room, but we had places to be, sights to see and food to eat!
After we dropped our bags in the room and freshened up, we decided to check out the rest of the property and all it had to offer. We were not disappointed as we found two Istanbul-style restaurants, two bars (terrace and lobby) and plenty of space to lounge and relax after a day full of sightseeing. Our tour also got us very excited about dinner for the evening and breakfast for the upcoming days, as we would be dining in both the outdoor and indoor terraces.
A great perk at Armada Old City is having breakfast included in the price of your room. A beautiful view while eating comes second to the wonderful and extensive breakfast options available. There are traditional turkish foods, along with plenty of Western style options. We love when breakfast is included in lodging as it frees up money to be spent elsewhere and it also helps get our day started off right with a full stomach!
Freshly squeezed orange and grapefruit juices are available and we loved being able to sample all the different Turkish dishes. My plate was filled with olives, cheese, cream, honeycomb, spices and bread each morning. I’m drooling just thinking about it…take me back now!
The Armada Terrace has to be the highlight of the hotel, with beautiful views of the sea and islands on one side and the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia on the other. We decided this would be the ideal location for our first dinner in Turkey, so we booked a table immediately.
We enjoyed a delicious meal with meze being a highlight (when in Turkey, right?). We were enjoying ourselves so much we decided to order a second glass of wine and take in the sunset. Since Summer was not in full swing yet, after the sun went down it did cool off quite a bit. However, the wait staff came around to all the tables and offered the ladies a blanket with sleeves (basically a short snuggie), so they could continue the evening without freezing. Nice touch. 🙂
As we mentioned, location was key in our deciding on a hotel and the picture above represents exactly why Armada Old City was the perfect choice for our stay. The Blue Mosque is a 10 minute walk from the hotel and there is a tram stop right there as well to help get you around the city. We walked to the port once, which was not difficult, but decided on using the tram line every other time out.
Armada Old City offers a few other perks people might not think about or consider, but we found them useful and smart.
First, there is free WIFI throughout the property. Charging for wifi is something we can’t believe many hotels still do, especially chains like Hilton and Marriott. Wifi is important to us and most people these days, so thank you Armada for understanding.
Second, reception offers the use of a public transportation card with a 10 Lira deposit. Upon returning the card intact you receive your 10 Lira back. When using public transportation (bus, Metro, tram, ferry) you must have a card (costs 7 Lira) which you load money on to enter the various stations. So, by offering the card at no cost, assuming you return it, you save roughly $3 USD. Hey, three bucks is three bucks. We used the tram, Metro and ferry during our time in Istanbul and found this a thoughtful perk.
Lastly, Armada offers a free drink in their lounge to anyone who downloads their mobile application. At check-in we saw a sign on the countertop explaining the deal, so we asked how it worked and it was as straightforward as it sounded. We aren’t people to pass up a drink, so we each downloaded the app and found it pretty useful during our stay as well.
We enjoyed our free drink in the Radio Bar, which had a good relaxed vibe. The app also provided us plenty of information on the hotel and the city during our stay.
Armada Old City Hotel – Keep up the great work and kudos to your entire staff on being helpful, knowledgable and up on social media and other marketing trends. It does not go unnoticed!
Our stay was made possible by Armada Old City Hotel. All opinions are our own.