Hotel Empress Zoe: a unique stay in the heart of Istanbul

por Postcards from IvI

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.

Hotel Empress Zoe

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.

Hotel Empress Zoe Istanbul review

  • Location of Empress Zoe Hotel

The location of the hotel could not be better for 1 day layover in Istanbul. 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.

Hotel Empress Zoe

  • Rooms at Empress Zoe Hotel

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.

Hotel Empress Zoe

  • Breakfast at Empress Zoe

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.

Hotel Empress ZoeHotel Empress ZoeHotel Empress Zoe

  • 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.

Hotel Empress ZoeHotel Empress Zoe

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

Hotel Empress Zoe

Lobby and staircase to the rooms

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 isn’t 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 hosted by Hotel Empress Zoe. All opinions are my own.

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One day in Istanbul - 24 hs layover guide June 14, 2020 - 12:04 am

[…] the union of old Turkish style townhouses. Each room in Empress Zoe is unique and full of history. Read more about my experience at Empress Zoe Hotel. Click here to see photos, availability and […]

Jay March 25, 2017 - 8:16 pm

Istanbul is one of my favourite walking cities. I never get tired of walking the streets and exploring the different neighborhoods. Looks like you found yourself a lovely place to stay. There’s so many places with character, how can you now fall in love with Istanbul?

Postcards from IvI March 26, 2017 - 12:02 pm

I totally loved Istanbul although I was only there on a long layover! Now I really want to go back and just stay for weeks walking its streets.

Brooklyn Murtaugh March 25, 2017 - 8:07 pm

Looks like a lovely hotel. That cat is a cutie!
I love hotels where every room is a bit different, it’s like personal touch.

Postcards from IvI March 26, 2017 - 12:05 pm

Yes she was so cute…But only liked me because she wanted me to share my breakfast with her haha! Absolutely, I loved the details in this hotel.

Julie March 25, 2017 - 8:05 pm

Looks like a great place to stay. Your photos are great! I’m off to Istanbul in a couple of weeks. Will keep it in mind.

Postcards from IvI March 26, 2017 - 12:09 pm

Yess, you’ll love it! Everyone is really friendly and the hotel is just amazing. The location is perfect if you plan to explore Istanbul’s old city 🙂

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