The aptly-named Orient Express Hotel is right on the Bağcılar-Kabataş tram line, between the Gülhane and Sirkeci tram stops.
It’s a very convenient location (map), only a few minutes’ walk to the Sirkeci train station and Eminönü ferries, and just a 10-minute uphill walk to Old Istanbuland the Topkapı Palace, Archeological Museums, Blue Mosque and Aya Sofya.
This is a delightful small 4-star hotel whose 52 immaculate guest rooms are decorated in a cheerful, simple but appealing style with plenty of natural wood and soothing colors. They come with comfortable beds, flat-screen TVs with foreign-language channels, air-conditioning, mini-fridge, free coffee- and tea-making equipment, and free Wifi Internet.
The private bathrooms all have bathtubs (some of them mini-tubs) with showers, hairdryers, bath amenities, telephones, and that most thoughtful of hotel appliances, a pull-out string line for drying clothing items you've washed in the sink.
An open-buffet breakfast with plentiful choices is served in the basement breakfast room where guests also receive complimentary copies of the hotel’s own Sirkeci Daily Express full of sightseeing tips and other useful information.
The rooftop terrace İmbat Restaurant offers a great view out over the Bosphorus towards the Galata Tower in one direction and towards the Topkapı Palace in the other. It serves mainly Aegean cuisine, including seafood, interspersed with some traditional Turkish choices. There’s a good choice of wines as well. (The İmbat is among the best value-for-money seafood restaurants in Istanbul, and guests at the hotel receive a 10% discount on their bill here.)
Here's a delightful surprise: in the basement is a small swimming pool, a great place to wind down after a hot day’s sightseeing.
The reception area is decorated with posters which recall the glory days of the eponymous Orient Express trainsthat used to steam into Sirkeci station nearby.
Also, don't fail to enjoy the artwork with which the hotel's walls are decorated: pages from illuminated books, tile panels, original paintings.... The hotel's owner, Mr Faruk Boyacı, has a good eye for interesting art.
The ground floor features the pleasant Wagon Bar which has been designed to imitate the interior of one of Istanbul’s famous and much-loved ferryboats – they still leave from the Eminönü docks not far from the hotel.
BONUSES for TTP users: if you make your reservation directly with the hotel (click here!), stay at least three nights, and mention TTP, you are entitled to these valuable bonuses:
1. Free airport transfer (one-way) from Atatürk Airportto the hotel.
2. 10% discount on your room bill if you pay in cash upon arrival. (Hotel rates are quoted in euros, but you may pay in euros, US dollars, GB pounds, or Turkish liras.)
3. Stay six nights, and your seventh night is free.
The Orient Express is a hotel which prides itself on its service and attention to detail. Forgot your multi-fit bath plug? Never fear, reception can provide one for you. Need guidance on what to see? Ditto. A Guest Relations Manager is available in the public areas to answer questions and help you to make any travel arrangements you may need.
When you make a reservation, please mention TTP. Here’s why.
Orient Express Hotel
Hüdavendigâr Caddesi No. 34 (map)
34110 Sirkeci, Istanbul, Turkey
Tel +90 (212) 520 7161
Fax +90 (212) 526 8446