Believe it or not, the view of the Blue Mosque from the Blue House is not even the best thing about the hotel. Nor is the obviously super-convenient location, just steps from the Hippodrome, Ayasofya (Hagia Sophia), Topkapı Palace, the Mosaic Museum and other sights, not even the moderate prices.
(The Bağcılar-Kabataş Tram line—which takes you to the Marmaray at Sirkeci Station, the Eminönü Ferry Docks(departure point for Bosphorus cruises), Galata Bridge, the ancient Roman road of Divan Yolu, the Grand Bazaar, and (by transfer to the Metro) to the airport and Main Bus Terminal—is only a few minutes’ stroll across the Hippodrome.)
The Blue House’s many comforts: nice Turkish decor, modern bathrooms, satellite TV, minibar, air-conditioning, free Wifi and guest computer, two elevators (lifts), spacious dining room, and rooftop and patio restaurants and lobby bar, excellent buffet breakfast…
The best thing about the Mavi Ev, however, is its staff, who are warmly accommodating and helpful in the best tradition of Turkish hospitality and friendliness—and with the smoothness and polish of well-trained, experienced hotel personnel. I’ve been staying at the Blue House for decades and the staff is the same—no turnover—just more experienced. Solid. Dependable. (The many newer hotels in Istanbul don’t have this.)
If you’re looking for a family-owned and -operated Istanbul hotel with traditionally-inspired decor, all the modern comforts and conveniences, super-helpful staff and a simply unbeatable location, you can’t do better than the Mavi Ev.
By the way, the Çolpan (CHOL-pahn) family, owners of the Mavi Ev, also own the historic Pudding Shop (Lale Restaurant), famous as a home-away-from-home for adventurous travelers during the Hippy era of the 1960s.
—by Tom Brosnahan