Istanbul is a beautiful city with history in every corner. If you want to add a more historical flavour to your stay, then you should check what Hotel Empress Zoe can offer.
Empress Zoe is a boutique hotel with history of its own. 25 rooms and suites created by the union of old Turkish style townhouses. Each area was restored, and decorated with details which make each place unique. Turkey’s history is reflected in the authentic decor: paintings, textiles, wood and stone.
But what makes the hotel truly unique are the ruins of a Turkish bath built in 1483 which are situated right beside the hotel’s archeological garden. This creates a really incredible environment, a fairy tale garden with flowers, fountains and ruins more than 500 years old.
The location of the hotel could not be better for my visit of only 24 hs in the city. It is conveniently located in the Sultanahmet district, in the heart of the old city, which makes it very easy to get anywhere. The same night I arrived to Istanbul, I left my luggage in my room and headed to Sultanahmet Square, to see the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sofia lit. It is just a 5-minute-walk from these stunning structures.The hotel is very easy to reach from the airport by metro + tram, or hire the hotel’s private car service, like I did. The hotel is very easy to find because it is in a corner, next to de ancient ruins, and covered by a glycine that hides the hotel facade with flowers each spring.
Each room in Hotel Empress Zoe is unique, and individually decorated. Each room has an ensuite bathroom, telephone, safe, air conditioning and heating. My room had a comfortable wooden bed in an alcove, wardrobe, and desk. It had a fantastic view of the Bosphorus, the garden and the ruins. Waking up next to ancient ruins, in a beautiful Turkish decorated room is just like stepping back in time. The bathroom had a shower, and free toiletries were provided by the hotel. I really loved that the soap was made of nature olive and laurel. The hotel offers single,double, triple rooms, apartments, and even suites with its own private terrace.
All rates include a varied and delicious buffet breakfast. Fruits, breads, pastries, cereals, cheese, eggs, olives and some Turkish specialities like Sigara Böreği (cheese rolls) are served. The area where breakfast is served is really cozy, with a fireplace, and many cushions. It feels just like home but better.
- Garden and terrace
As I mentioned before, the hotel garden is what gives the hotel its charm. During nice weather you can enjoy breakfast here,surrounded by nature and ruins. Empress Zoe also has a terrace which offers panoramic views of the Marmara Sea, ancient walls, and mosques. It is worth climbing up to the top floor.
The hotel staff is very friendly and always willing to help. Even after the check out, my boyfriend and me were invited to enjoy afternoon tea in the garden before leaving to the airport.
- Free wi-fi is available in all areas.
- The hotel provides luggage storage, taxi service and 24 hour reception.
- There are 3 cats living in the hotel, which I loved. But I understand that it may be a problem for some people.
- The hotel has no elevator, which is entirely logical bearing in mind how this hotel was created. The staff will take care of carrying your luggage to the room through the spiral staircase.
- The call to prayer is heard 5 times a day. I found this moment magical, but if you think it will disturb your sleep remember to bring earplugs.
Hotel Empress Zoe is an excellent hotel to spend your stay in Istanbul if you’re looking to immerse in traditional Turkish culture. The hotel not is luxurious or ostentatious, but has its own charm due to its history and decoration. It’s really cozy and unique. Impeccable service, excellent location, comfortable rooms and a magical garden. I loved this hotel the first moment I saw it when I was searching for hotels, and my stay couldn’t have been better.
My stay was partially hosted by Hotel Empress Zoe. All opinions are my own.