The commercial district around the Sirkeci train station isn’t Istanbul’s most scenic, but it’s a short walk from both the sights of Sultanahmet and the Eminönü ferry docks, as well as the tram line, making it convenient for travel to many parts of the city. The Sapphire is pleasantly located on a pedestrian-only street filled with restaurants – the ones a block away bustling with local diners. Note that the hotel’s sign displays the Turkish spelling, “Safir,” more prominently.
With their busily patterned bedspreads, heavy wooden headboards, and squat little TV sets, the Sapphire’s rooms won’t win any style points, but they’re clean, comfortable, and not too small. Don’t bother asking if there's one with a view.
The large, old-fashioned lobby has comfortable gold couches, subdued green and red damask wallpaper, and a scraggly grey parrot in a cage. A planned rooftop terrace with a view toward Beyoğlu unfortunately looks to be a long way from completion.
Eating and drinking
A not-particularly memorable breakfast buffet is served in a large salon full of Victorian-style furniture.
Unusually for a hotel in this area, the Sapphire has a nice little pool, tiled in vivid blues and greens, in its basement, along with a sauna and hamam. The whole area feels a bit steamy, but clean.
The extremely helpful and cordial service is a big selling point.
Who stays there
Mostly Europeans, but a mix of international and domestic travellers in Istanbul on business and pleasure trips.
- High-Speed Internet
- Room Service
- Swimming Pool
- Business travellers
- Families with younger children
- Mature travellers
- People watching
Pros & Cons
- Central location
- Great staff
- Small pool and spa
- So-so breakfast
- Small rooms
- Some street noise