This cheap option is located in between the Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque in an area full of boutique hotels, guesthouses and hostels, so it's well located for all the sights in Sultanahmet. It's a very welcoming place with, I think, the owner serving you breakfast in the mornings in the rooftop terrace where you get some excellent views of the Marmara Sea and of the mosques. The breakfast consists of 4 big pieces of bread, a triangle of spreadable cheese, meat, cucumber, tomatoes & olives, jam and tea/coffee.
I had a single room in the pension which was nicely decorated with cornicing on the ceiling but no external windows. I had a double bed, small wardrobe, table, chair but no fan or a/c but that didn't worry me as it was late December when I stayed here. The bathroom was a bit on the small side but had an excellent hotwater shower and a hairdryer and was very clean. They also have internet access, safe boxes etc. My room cost €40.
Side pension is a combined hotel and pension.
It´s very well run by the friendly owners.
The rooms have various standards and prices so there is a bit for everyone.
The standard and prices range from lower middle to upper middle.
The place has a really nice rooftop cafe where breakfast is served and where you can sunbade if you like.
Unique Quality: What is first of all nice about the place is that it is very well run, with polite and helpful staff.
Directions: Right next to the four seasons hotel and only 2 blocks from the blue mosque.
The Side is in Sultanahamet district, a few minutes from Aya Spohia, the Blue Mosque and Topkapi Palace. This is *the* area for hotels and hostels, so a lot of the restaurants and nightlife places are geared to tourists. The Side's location means that you can get to many of the big tourist attractions in Istanbul very easily, but you might not see other sides to the city if you stay in the area all the time.
Excellent value pension, particularly out of season. Rooms start at 23 euros per night, without a shower. We booked *with* a shower, but, if I stayed again, I would be quite happy to share a bathroom - they were so clean, and never seemed to be used!
The hotel rooms (on another side of the building) are rather more expensive, but I didn't actually see how the rooms compared. There are very good pictures on the Side website - they gave an accurate idea of how our room looked.
One word of warning: not all the pension rooms are quite so good. I specifically requested a room on a high floor with plenty of light, because of I had heard not all the rooms had windows - and I got just what I wanted. i did see another even smaller pension room in passing: a three-bed room with a tiny window. I think this is a place where you room can be a bit 'the luck of the draw'.
Unique Quality: The pension rooms are very simply and tastefully decorated, with an iron-framed bed. It was quite small, however, and had limited wardrobe space and very few drawers, but that didn't diminish its overall charm. The bathroom was roomy and exceptionally clean - loads of hot water. The view was over old Turkish houses in a quiet street.
Downstairs there is a narrow communal area with two computers for checking emails (small extra cost) free tea, and a little library.
The breakfast room has views over the minarets and was very nicely decorated. The Turkish breakfast was excellent - very healthy - with tomatoes, cucumber, olives, very fresh bread, little cheese triangle, boiled egg and jam. This could come as a shock to an 'eggs and bacon' person, I suppose! Everything was top quality and with friendly service.
During the summer, people bring tea or beer up to the pretty roof terrace and sit out. This didn't happen during our winter stay, of course - this picture shows the view from the terrace in a flurry of snow! We had a white Christmas...
Directions: Very near the expensive Four Seasons hotel (at end of the road), a minute's walk from Aya Sophia
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Address: 20 Utangac Street, Istanbul, 34400, Turkey