On a quiet corner close to Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, and other highlights of Istanbul’s Old City, the Empress Zoe is ideally situated for days spent sightseeing and shopping, though visitors seeking nightlife and high-quality food will want to venture outside the neighbourhood. As at many other hotels in the area, the five daily calls to prayer (the first of them before dawn) sound loudly, something guests may find charmingly authentic or terribly annoying.
From the simplest single to the most deluxe suite, rooms have comfortable beds and thoughtful decorative touches. With each room unique, your accommodation might include a garden view, a private terrace, a carpet-canopy bed, or a marble hamam-style bathroom. The cheapest rooms can be very small, but all have en suite bathrooms and air conditioning.
I loved the shady and secluded rock-walled garden and cosy breakfast room with a fireplace, which offer places to relax no matter the weather. Both areas have free WiFi.
Eating and drinking
A standard breakfast buffet (included in the room rate) and evening drinks are served as seasonally appropriate in the garden or in the breakfast room.
Service is very friendly and helpful; I found the staff to be good at making sightseeing and eating recommendations.
Who stays there
Couples, families, and other travellers looking for a step up from budget hotels that’s still a good deal.
All rooms include breakfast and tax. A 10 per cent discount is offered to guests who pay in cash.
- High-Speed Internet
- Families with teenagers
- Families with younger children
- First-time travellers
Pros & Cons
- Good value in a central location
- Building and rooms have tons of character
- No elevator
- Few amenities