Hotel Review: Hotel Niles Istanbul
When Turkey opens its borders again to tourists, I will go on a city trip to Istanbul again. And I’ll probably revisit the lovely Hotel Niles Istanbul.
What can I say? I love Istanbul, and I love the Turkish people. While I don’t agree with the political situation, Turkey is one of my favourite countries to travel. Away from the coastal tourist resorts and the tourist hot spots, it’s a huge country full of scenic beauty and cultural heritage.
Istanbul is a huge tourist destination, but it’s so huge, you can escape the crowds so easily. And did I mention the shopping and the food? Nowhere within a two and a half hour radius can you visit somewhere culturally quite different yet really welcoming.
And I have a nice hotel for you, if you want to be central, mid-range and in easy access to the tourist spots, too. We stayed at the Hotel Niles Istanbul last November at the end of a driving holiday in Turkey. It’s a pleasant mid-range hotel that I can highly recommend.
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The Hotel Niles Istanbul
Hotel Niles is a medium-sized family-owned hotel a stone’s throw from the Grand Bazaar in the commercial area of the Old City. This means tons of garment factories, wholesale shops, cheap cafes, and excellent transport links. It consists of two older buildings. The prettier, more ornate ones houses 10 upmarket suites, while the larger building houses 29 standard rooms and their rooftop bar and restaurant.
Location of the Hotel Niles Istanbul
Istanbul has thousands of hotels. A large cluster of them will be around the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia, and 99% will be tourist-oriented in a very touristy quarter. The Grand Bazaar Area is somewhat less homogenous. To the South, across the Yeniceriler/Divanyolu Street with its convenient tram, you will find a large garment district, where this hotel is located in. Still in easy walking distance is the relatively quiet area of the University of Istanbul – walk though there to get to the magnificent and much less touristy Suleimaniye Mosque. A tram stop or two to the west, you find the more conservative Laleli district with its Baroque Mosque and more hotels and restaurants.
If you like to walk, you can be at the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia within 15 minutes. The Grand Bazaar is less than 5 minutes walk away. In 3 minutes you can reach the tram and bus hub of Beyazit, with good connections to Sultanahmet, the Spice Bazaar and other attractions in the Old City. The European New City and the Sian part of Istanbul are a bit further away and can be best reached by continuing on the tram to Karakoy, then changing. To get to the Asian part of the city, take a picturesque ferry ride from Galata Bridge or the new Marmaray train line from Sirkeci Station – both these stops can be reached by the T1 Tram 3min from the hotel.
Our Room at Hotel Niles
We booked one of the “superior double rooms”, i.e. a bog-standard guest room in the newer building. When we arrived by cab in the evening, a tour bus was just unloading South American tourists… when we came downstairs to look for food, there was still a queue. Something a small hotel like this may not be able to handle that smoothly, as there is only one reception desk.
Our room was exactly like what we had seen online. They had made good use of an ultrawide lens, and in reality our bedroom was really small. We spent all day outside, so not really troublesome.
The bathroom was similarly tiny, and separated from the room by a [partition wall with edged glass. It made the room less claustrophobic, but if you share the room with someone you don’t know too well, be aware that bathroom noises will be heard pretty unfiltered.
There was enough storage space, tea, coffee, and a safety deposit box. Unfortunately, ours was broken. So we left our valuable in a safe at reception.
Beds were a little small, perhaps a queen size, and were rather soft. Not worn out, just soft. They took a bit of getting used to.
The hotel is a standard tourist hotel. I would rate it as three stars as far as the standard rooms go. While the rooms are perfectly nice and well serviced, the service from reception can really vary. After two nights, we were moving to the Pera Palace, and asked reception to call us a taxi. They told us that the taxi station had no cabs, and that we either would have to wait or walk to Beyazit Station. Since we had a fair bit of stuff, we waited… and waited… and finally walked, where, after three trials of trying to get a cab at a metered rate, we finally found one. At rush hour, every one just wants to take those clueless tourists at a fixed price, which is two to three times higher than a metered price.
Whereas at the Pera Palace… they have a taxi station conveniently next door, and it didn’t seem an issue there. But then, our room at the Pera Palace was a somewhat different class and twice as much.
Other than that, there is a small salon next to reception downstairs. Depending on how busy the hotel is, you will have a lot of traffic there, too.
The next morning, we took a few stairs to the rooftop terrace and its restaurant for breakfast Breakfast was included in the room rate and was very good. Not only is the roof terrace, with a glassed in area and an outside bit, the nicest in the area, but the hotel made a good effort to serve a varied Turkish and International breakfast.
Bread was fresh and there was a lot of choice including Turkish “simit” dough rings. They had a lot of jam and spreads, all served in large jars rather than the individual portions. There were different types of cheese and fruit and vegetables galore.
If you start walking the streets around the hotel, not only will you find a pink lace wedding dress, but also great local restaurants. Forget the main road and its touristy cafes. Guided by the crowd of locals, we found a small cafe called Gedikpasa Balikcisi (across from Gedikpasa Hamam and Ali Pasha Mosque). They serve nothing but freshly grilled fish, fried mussels and that intestine-wrapped offal specialty, Kokorec.
Hotel Review Hotel Niles Istanbul: Why stay at the Hotel Niles?
The Hotel Niles is a pleasant family-owned budget-friendly hotel in a nice central part of the Old City of Istanbul. Right now, 50 Euro will buy you a clean and comfortable room with breakfast. That’s 25 Euro per person per night!
Address: Niles Hotel, Mimar Kemalettin Mahallesi, Ordu Caddesi, Dibekli Cami Sk. No:13, 34130, Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
Telephone: +90 212 517 32 39
Hotel Website: http://www.hotelniles.com
I paid 59 Euro for a double including breakfast in November 2019 through Booking.com with free cancellation option. Currently rooms including breakfast are about 50 Euro per night. However, please be aware that once in Turkey, you may be unable to make new bookings on this site unless you have a Virtual Private Network. You can access and amend existing bookings, tough.
Nearest Airport: Istanbul Airport (IST), 42km and Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen (SAW), 48km
Features: great location, pleasant guest rooms, locallly sourced, waste reduced food
Doesn’t have: full restaurant, reliable reception staff/concierge, pool, Turkish Bath
Other recommended hotels
Okay… I admit I never stayed in a budget category hotel or hostel in Istanbul, because hotel prices out of season are so low anyway compared to other capital cities in Europe. But… given their location and some good reviews, I would like to make two recommendations…
In Istanbul for the first time? On a budget? You could do a lot worse than the Divas Silver Hotel in Sultanahmet. Walk 200m east, and you’re at the Blue Mosque, walk west, and you come across many non-touristy dining options towards Pierre Loti Road. A total winner, beautiful private rooms, starting as low as 12 Euro.
If you prefer to stay in a more touristy area, try the Marmara Guesthouse. It is in an area called, where there are lots of tourist-oriented hotels, cafes and shops. Starting at 28Euro for a double including breakfast, you’re right by the Hagia Sophia in an easily walkable, open-late-at-night tourist-friendly area.
Hotels in Beyoglu tend to be slightly more expensive, although the Galataport Hotel is a great choice right by the Galata Tower, tons of restaurant, and near public transport for just under 30 Euro.
Almost next to the Pera Palace is the Westist Hotel &. Spa, a super sleek modern hotel a stone’s throw from Istiklal Street. At prices starting at 50 Euro, its a huge bargain for such a sleek and elegant hotel.
Also in Beyoglu in close proximity to Galata Tower is the By Murat Hotel Galata, a small hotel in a residential building with neo-baroque styling to its cosy rooms. Great views and restaurants at your door step!
Many first-time visitors prefer to stay in Sultanahmet and I understand why. It is easily walkable, some major sights are right outside your door, and there is a good tramway connection at Sultanahmet Station. These hotels may be a little more expensive and you are to expect mainly tourist-oriented restaurants and shops with somewhat higher prices, and it can also get a little noisy at night.
The Empress Zoe Hotel is one of the oldest boutique hotels in town, and offers exceptional style and value for money in Sultanahmet. You are close to the Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque, yet in a beautiful building with garden and courtyard and individually styled suites with lots of natural materials and Turkish textiles. Some Turkish suites even come with mini steam rooms.
I wouldn’t know why you wouldn’t want to stay here. However… Istanbul is full of Luxury Hotels.
Almost next to the Pera Palace Hotel is the Soho House in a converted palace. Although the guest rooms are in an annexe, the style is modern elegance, and its somewhat more sumptious and more expensive than the Pera Palace. As an added bonus, guests receive temporary Soho House membership. Rooms start at 160 Euro, realistically expect to pay around 300 Euro for a double.
If you want to stay close to Shopping and sights, and bask in ultimate luxury at reasonable prices… the Ajwa Hotel Sultanahmet might be for you. It’s a new hotel decked out head to toe in exquisite carved wooden panelling and mother-of pearl, an Arabian Fantasy come true.
For over the top luxury, why not try Istanbuls most luxurious hotel and stay in a Sultan Palace? The Ciragan Palace Kempinski is exactly that, located on the Bosphorus, a bit away from the city centre and nowhere near public transport, but you’re in a palace, you might barely want to leave!
For modern luxury at unbelievable prices (starting at 72 Euro), the Doruk Palace Hotel in Beyoglu is in a modern residential building close to the Galata Tower, and all sleek white walls with just a touch of rustic in its communal areas.
We travelled with an older edition of the Lonely Planet Turkey. In retrospect, I wish I had bought the Rough Guide to Turkey, but the current issue is 2016, meaning the content is about five years old. However – if you just need an Istanbul Guide, Rough Guides has an up-to-date Istanbul Guide!
I also read “Midnight at the Pera Palace”, an account of the s history of the Turkish Republic. Although dry in places and not just about Istanbul or the Pera Palace, it’s a fairly easy read about the foundation of Modern Turkey.
Disclosure: This trip was entirely self funded. I will only review and recommend places that I have stayed in myself or that I have at least visited. You can trust me for the whole, unbiased truth. I have received no monetary or non-monetary rewards for linking aside from some affiliate links. In this case, this post contains some affiliate links to Booking.com. This means that I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you if you book through the affiliate links. More details on my affiliate link policy are here.