You'll stay in a variety
of hotel rooms in Turkey.
Here's wisdom and travelers' tips from a guy who has
stayed in at least a thousand of them.
200-240 volt, 50 Hertz, as in Europe. There may be few outlets/points,
there may be several. Lightbulbs are energy-efficient
and usually low-lumens. Good bedside reading lights are rare.
You may have
to stick your room key card or toggle into a slot
near the door to activate all the electricity in
the room. When you take your key and leave the room, your mobile phone, tablet, laptop, camera, etc. may stop charging. The best hotels have at least one outlet that's always powered, for charging devices without interruption. More...
Most bathrooms have portable hair dryers, but may not have a stopper for the sink, as Islam requires ablutions to be done in running water. In recent years, the better hotels catering to non-Muslim visitors have been installing metal stopper mechanisms in the drain: push down to seal, push again to release.
As in Europe, most hotel rooms have no washcloths (which North Americans love). Bring one with you if you want one reliably. There may be facial tissues, but bring your own supply in any case.
seems to be no hot water, increase
the flow. If heating is by a flash
heater, a certain pressure is needed
to trigger the gas flame. Turn on the hot water in the shower or bathtub.
Let the water run. It may
have to travel a distance from the
heater to reach your tap. If there's
still no hot water, try the cold water
tap. In about 8% of cases, the plumber
has mixed up the taps and the cold
is really the hot. If the taps in the
sink are mixed up, the bath/shower taps
may...or may not be...and vice-versa.
If the shower is of the handheld-on-a-hose ("telephone") variety, it may be subject to a wide variety of problems: leaky hose or connections, defective wall mount, clogged jets, inoperable valve—the list goes on. On one shower, the direction of flow was controlled by the water pressure: if I turned up the flow too much, the head rose and sprayed the ceiling. If I turned it down too much, it sprayed the wall.
Bathroom floors may be smooth tile, marble or other stone. Such floors are not particularly slippery when both your feet and the floor are dry, but read and believe:
—Dry floor, dry feet = not slippery
—Wet floor, wet feet = a bit slippery
—Wet floor, dry feet = VERY SLIPPERY!
—Dry floor, wet feet = VERY SLIPPERY!
Also, watch your step entering a bathroom with a marble threshold. If the threshold is raised and rectangular (not chamfered), it's easy to stub your toe (which, in bare feet, can be seriously painful.)
are ecological water-saving types.
Push the large part of the flush control
for major waste, the small part for
On many toilets, this doesn't work and you get the same flush no matter what.
What's that funny little nozzle at
the back of the bowl? What's this
about not throwing toilet paper into
the bowl? See my Turkish
Most are energy-efficient double-glazed,
which also helps keep out noise. Many open
two ways: lift the lever-handle to
a horizontal position and swing the
window open like a door. Lift the handle
all the way to vertical and the
top of the window tips back to allow
air but not rain (or people) to get
in. The bottom remains in the frame.
hotels have double-hung windows, usually
without counterweights, so they're heavy to
lift and dangerous if they fall. Lift the sash then look for the
funny little metal tab on the window
frame, and swing it so that it's underneath
the sash you've lifted, blocking its
descent. Cumbersome, but it works.
If you drop the heavy window sash on your fingers, you will never forget
Insect screens, though sensible, are rare in Turkey (as in Europe generally). If your hotel has them, it is run by an enlightened person. If not, you may have a few flies and mosquitoes sharing your room with you (even in Istanbul, even in cool months).
||A/C remote control
Large hotels, especially older
ones, will have central heating and
air-conditioning systems that are often
not cool enough in summer and not warm
enough in winter. Newer and smaller
hotels have individual wall-mounted
remote-control room air conditioning/heating
units that work well and are preferable
to central systems. Hotels in colder
regions have traditional hot-water
radiators as well.
Remote controls (kumanda) vary
in their level of obscurity from
almost-intuitive to utterly inscrutable. You may have to ask the staff for help in learning how to operate them.
Usually good and firm, with clean sheets and a duvet (quilt) for warmth. Hoteliers love duvets because, unlike blankets, they can be stuck in a cotton cover and don't need to be cleaned often. However, they're way too hot for me in a hotel room, and as few hotels furnish blankets as alternatives, I'm often either too hot or too cold and don't sleep well. I usually shake the duvet out of its sheet-sack and use just the sheet.
If your hotel has blankets as well as the duvet, it is a hotel fully in touch with its guests' needs. If you don't see a blanket, ask for one.
In a few hotels, light switches may be right at pillow level on the headboard, which means when you shift position in your sleep in the middle of the night, the lights come on, startling you awake.
Older beds in cheaper hotels may have sharp corners which can gouge your shins as you pass by.
Turkish minibars/minifridges don't usually keep drinks very cold,
but drink prices are high. Most
hotels even charge a fee for bottled
which is stupid—making
you go out to a shop to buy a daily
necessity so you won't have to pay
an exorbitant price for it. This is
hospitality? What are they thinking?
Our bodies are 60% water. Doctors say we should drink between 1 and 3 liters of liquid each day. The
better hotels provide at least some
bottled water at no charge. The best give you
an adequate daily supply—a 1.5-liter bottle (a TL1 item) for two people, per day, would barely be enough.
Most Turkish hotels, inns and pensions, even the
smallest, cheapest ones,
provide wireless Internet. It's usually free except
in the 5-star vacuum-hose-in-your-wallet
Most hotels require
a password (şifre, SHEE-freh) to
connect. Ask for it when you register to save yourself a phone call later to
the reception desk.
and speed of Wifi connection vary by hotel,
room, time of day, capacity of Internet connection and number of computers
connecting to a given system. Fastest connections are often in the middle of the night.
If you bring a smartphone with Wifi hotspot capability, you can buy a Turkish SIM card for the phone and a data package for access, and get your own Internet connection, which is often faster than a hotel's. More...
Even many budget hotel and hostel rooms have TV sets in them with most channels in Turkish, a few in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Italian, Korean, Russian, Spanish, etc., depending on the hotel's customary clientele. Foreign-language channels are usually for news. Most of the programming on most of the channels sucks most of the time.
Mostly hard-working, pleasant, responsible
women with families, they merit your
appreciation. I never fear they will molest my belongings. I always leave a tip equivalent
to a few dollars or euros per day.
Coffee & Tea Equipment
The exception rather than the norm
in Turkish hotel rooms, though their
presence in hotel rooms is growing,
and they are usually provided in
suites and rental apartments/flats
to let. Usually complimentary (free),
appreciated when there, and
include instant coffee, black and
herbal teas, sugar and "non-dairy
creamer." Look in your minibar
to see if there's real milk, and
if there is, love your
That Odd Vanity
Since the beginning of modern Turkish
tourism in the 1960s, until the end of the century, virtually every
Turkish hotel room had a small
vanity with mirror, tiny table and
stool or chair so ladies could do their
makeup. Most of these odd constructs
are impractical, a waste of space, and
an anachronous misinterpretation of
foreign cultures, like the "American
bars" that were designed into every
hotel lobby and featured in all brochures,
but never used.
Someone should tell Turkish hotel architects that women put their makeup on in the bathroom. Thus, have good mirrors and low-Kelvin-temperature light over the sink.
—by Tom Brosnahan