Hostels may be simple and spartan, or they may have a variety of accommodations from double-rooms-with-shower through multi-bed dorm rooms sharing common facilities to space on the roof where you can roll out your sleeping bag. Some hostels can be elaborate establishments with bars, restaurants, travel agencies and other services.
Cheap doesn't necessarily mean spartan.
Pensions and guesthouses have a more family atmosphere and even more variety in accommodations. Some rooms may have their own plumbing, others may share bathrooms. Because rooms vary, it's a good idea to look at several if possible before choosing yours.
If your needs are simple and your budget slim, here are excellent places to stay:
Another great lodging value in ever-more-expensive Istanbul, the Antique has a range of clean, comfortable rooms, good facilities, a very convenient yet quiet location, good-value rates, and a youthful spirit. More...
Otherwise, Hostelbookers is the best place to check rates and availability:
The alternatives to hostels and pensions are 1- and 2-star hotels. These tend to follow standard hotel format, with expected services: 2-person rooms with private shower and toilet for a budget price. But there are exceptions.
—by Tom Brosnahan