Before getting onto telling you all about the lapping waves of the Bosphorus, the beauty of mosques steeped in history and my first kebab I should share with you where I stayed. After hours spent trawling through Tripadvisor, reading reviews, and weighing up the pros and cons of every hotel I decided on Hotel Levni. You know you’ve picked a good’un when the tourist photos are just as good as the professional ones.
Located in the old part of town, Sultanahmet, Hotel Levni was a little haven of luxury. After two hours of restless sleep in fear of missing the all important alarm, a 6am flight and having negotiated the Turkish metro system with minimal language skills, the prospect of being faced with a hotel from hell would have been the end of me. Luckily, it surpassed all expectations and really was exactly what it said on the Tripadvisor tin. After being given a tour of the hotel we were shown to our upgraded room. I regret that I can’t remember the name of our porter but he made such effort to point out the beautiful view from our room, something I am grateful for, as I would have completely missed it whilst in pursuit of a much-needed shower and a lie down.
On return from a busy day of travelling, site-seeing, dining and exploring it was always a joy knowing that a warm welcome, complimentary snacks, jacuzzi bath and fluffy robes awaited us. Feeling cosy and looked after is just the ticket when you’re away from home and it’s something that our sweet little hotel made sure to supply.
Whilst the buffet breakfast will always rank well on my list of top hotel features, it was the spa and hamam that really knocked my socks off. I had been told that on visiting Turkey a trip to a traditional Turkish bath is essential. But with limited time the idea of swapping a morning stroll of the city or a trip to see the sun setting over the Bosphorus with a search for a mixed-gender hamam with hair-drying facilities was not particularly appealing. So that fact that we could visit the hotel’s very own marble hamam in the evening was ideal. And what a luxury! With skin sufficiently soft, plump and hydrated I had my glow ready for dinner and felt thoroughly Turkish (or as Turkish as is possible for a pale Brit who speaks no Turkish).
So what more could you ask from a hotel? Friendly and helpful staff? Check. Ideal location? Check, Affordable? Check. Turkish experience without any expected surprises or the need to walk round the city looking bedraggled and steamy? Check. Read the reviews on Tripadvisor if you don’t believe me but it really is the perfect hotel for a stress-free break in Istanbul.
I couldn’t take my camera into the spa for health and safety reasons (my camera would not have felt the same health benefits of the steam as me) so some images are courtesy of http://www.levnihotel.com
To read about Sultanahmet click here or search ‘Istanbul’ in the blog ‘search’ box to read all about the rest of my visit.