I have been to Istanbul, including the Taksim area, a number of times. For my latest trip, I selected the Crowne Plaza Istanbul – Harbiye. The hotel is located about a 15-minute walk from Taksim Square in the up-and-coming neighborhood of Harbiye. Harbiye is a bit of the new ‘Moda’ here, which has become seriously trendy over on Istanbul’s Asian side.
Hotel rates in Istanbul have been sliding down, due to the fall in tourism owing to recent politics and safety concerns. I walked up to the hotel and made a booking on the IHG app for $50 right in front of the lobby. The front desk found my reservation minutes later. The front desk attendant was very friendly but a little overwhelmed with my Platinum status. I was upgraded to a huge corner room but wasn’t able to use the Executive Lounge (and no breakfast was offered). Neither is a given for IHG Platinums, but many properties do it anyways.
The room itself was fantastic at first sight – it looked brand new and the furniture and bathroom seemed in great shape.
The Internet connection came in at 20 Mbit right away. However, it was really hot, as the huge windows had allowed the room to heat up during the day. The AC would not cool – just heat (Istanbul is cold in winter and seasons were just switching). The front desk eventually had good news and the maintenance team was able to switch to cooling; the room was soon at a pleasant 70 degrees. Nevertheless, on a hot day in Istanbul I can see this room seriously overheating.
The hotel has a busy road right out front that makes sleeping a bit rough. I also realized that the huge window blinds would not work the way they were intended. I gave up fixing them myself and lived without them.
The immediate neighborhood looks a little sketchy, though there are a number of small coffee shops just around the corner that have no attitude attached. It’s a busy, hilly neighborhood, but it’s a good way to discover the ‘real’ Istanbul.
This Crowne Plaza is a great way to participate in the frequent IHG Accelerate promotions. It’s a world away from busy Taksim Square but still within walking distance. The rooms are modern and the staff are great. However, maintenance is an issue and I would not be surprised about other issues coming up during your stay.
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About the author: Torsten is a serial entrepreneur who started almost a dozen ventures on four continents. Torsten's love for travel has brought him to 130+ countries and travel with most of the world's airlines. You can reach Torsten at [email protected]
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