On a hill above the Golden Horn, the Kariye is located next to the beautiful Chora Church, a lesser-known, but not-to-be-missed sight near the impressive Byzantine city walls, and a short walk to the colourful and intriguing neighbourhoods of Fener, Balat, and Eyüp. The sights most visitors come to see, though, are a 30-minute tram ride away, and the area is decidedly a nightlife-free zone.
The 26 simple bedrooms are clean and comfortable, if not particularly modern or enticing, though the vintage prints and colourful carpets enliven things a bit. I like the sunny sitting areas in the two suites and the old-fashioned fans in all rooms. Bathrooms are small and none have bathtubs.
An attractive garden area is open to guests.
Eating and drinking
The on-site restaurant [node:171944], one of the city’s best and most distinctive, is among the area’s biggest draws. Surprisingly, it's one of the few Istanbul eateries specialising in recreating the complex and decadent dishes enjoyed by the Ottoman court, treating adventurous eaters to unusual tastes such as melon stuffed with mincemeat, diced lamb with dried apricots, and walnut-filled seabass.
The friendly staff create a relaxing atmosphere.
Who stays there
French and other European travellers are among the most frequent guests. Locals crowd [node:171944]'s well-shaded courtyard during Ramadan to enjoy its lavish fast-breaking meals, so be sure to make a reservation well ahead if you’re staying at that time.
Breakfast and taxes are included in the rates.
- Room Service
- Families with younger children
- Seasoned travellers
- Escaping the crowds
Pros & Cons
- Great restaurant
- Nice garden
- No A/C or bathtubs
- Remote location