Monday, 21 December 2015

Hotel Review: Nowy Efendi Hotel - Istanbul, Turkey

Courtesy of: https://www.facebook.com/NowyEfendiHotel/
Let me tell you a little story about one of the best hotel experiences of my life.



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On our recent trip to Istanbul in late October 2015, we decided to book the Nowy Efendi Hotel for three reasons:
  1. The Location - Located in Sultanahmet, it's walking distance to all major tourist attractions


  2. The Rave Reviews of the Hotel on TripAdvisor
  3. The Free Airport Transfer Promotion from Ataturk Airport to the hotel if you book 3 nights. 

We arrived at Ataturk Airport and promptly found a driver holding a card with Rayyan's name, as previously arranged via our booking. We and one other couple loaded up our luggage in a van, and we were driven along winding uphill paths in the old city directly to the hotel.

View from front desk to front door
Upon arrival, employees took our luggage down to the front desk - yes, there is about 10 or so steps downwards at the entrance, however we never had to haul our luggage up or down, employees were always waiting to help as soon as you step in. You will likely find a similar set up at most hotels in the old city area.


What followed was one of the most welcoming and helpful check-in experiences I've experienced. After checking in and without asking, the friendly concierge promptly took out a map for us and highlighted all the areas of interest that we were visiting, answered our questions, and also gave us information on how to get everywhere, though it was recommended to just walk since everything was so close.

There was also a poster board with all the timings of all the major tourist attractions in case you didn't research beforehand ;).


We followed a gentleman taking our luggage to our non-smoking room, however upon arrival the room smelled strongly of smoke, which would set off my allergies quickly. We asked if we could switch to a different room and after a quick phone call he led us to this room, which was just as nice.

We booked the Double Room with a Queen sized bed, which is advertised as 15 square metres in size. Yeah, it was pretty small but we've experienced smaller, and we would easily assume that most hotels in this area of the city has small rooms since the infrastructure is so old, so that's not the fault of the hotel. There are bigger rooms if you're concerned about space.



There was enough space to have both of our large-sized luggages on the ground, though it was a tight fit. We were also provided bottles of water, tea and coffee.

Bedside table
Also, the wifi connection was pretty good,  I don't remember it being slow or interrupted at all.


The bathroom was pretty clean albeit small in size. There wasn't much counter space for the sink, but it came with a lovely package of herb-infused toiletry products which were really nice.


The next morning, we headed up to the terrace for breakfast. We were confused as no one greeted us and took our room name or numbers, however we saw guests just walking in and heading to the buffet, so we followed suit.


The terrace was absolutely stunning. The golden sunrise was filtering through the floor to ceiling windows, the furniture and decor was tasteful and beautiful, I was just in love with this entire room.
And of course, the first thing that catches your eye is the view of the Hagia Sophia right at your table.

Breakfast buffet
Breakfast buffet
The breakfast buffet was a selection of western and turkish style foods, with an assortment of breads, cheeses, bacon and cold-cuts (all halal, of course), olives, jams, and your usual eggs and sorts.



There were so many jams that I wanted to try a little of each. The quince and fig jams were definitely the winners!


There was a massive honeycomb and just.. so much cheese! 




On our second morning at the Nowy Efendi, we arrived at breakfast a little later than the previous day and was delighted to have met the lovely Manager, Melissa, who greeted us at our table, asked us how our stay was going, and gave us the opportunity to ask all the questions we had about our day ahead, as well as giving us some great tips for the sites we were planning to visit. 

I have never experienced such a welcoming and kind atmosphere at a hotel before, and these little moments where the staff took the time to talk to us really made our visit. I observed her talking to all the other guests in the room and noticed how happy they were as well, it was sweet.


On our way out of the terrace we noticed this stairwell with a sign that says "A free feast for your eyes". We headed up the stairs..


Came out of this door..


And this gorgeous view waited for us. (Click the image for full size)

Rooftop view of the Hagia Sophia
Rooftop view of the Golden Horn Waterway
It was a windy, cold day but this marvellous rooftop view put the cherry on top of this lovely experience.

Travel back to the Airport

On our last evening we decided not to pay for the hotel shuttle back to the airport since the promotion only provided pickup from the airport, and attempt to take the tram from the Sultanahmet tram stop instead. We got directions and instructions from the Manager, Melissa, and it was an inexpensive and straight forward way to get to the airport.

On the downside, the tram was a little crowded at times and dragging our luggages along the cobblestone road to the tram stop was difficult. I wouldn't recommend this route for travellers with children.

Conclusion

We loved our experience so much at this hotel that it set the standard for the rest of our trip around Asia, and we frequently noted to each other how cold the service was at other hotels in other countries compared to the Nowy Efendi.

I would strongly recommend staying here, and if we visit Turkey again inshaAllah, we definitely will be.

-Maryam

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Hey! Don't leave just yet!

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Also, check out the other articles from our Euro-Asia World Trip by clicking here! 

Hope to see you back soon! :)

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