- Your Safety
- Car hire
- Dining out
- Eating and Drinking
- Money matters
- Police stations
- Ringing Home
- Roads (Driving)
- Room (apartment)Damage
- After dark
- Women Travellers
- Laundry and Dry cleaning
- Carpets and Kilims
- Turkey Through The Year
- Where to Eat
- Traveller's Needs
WHERE TO STAY
Whether you wish to stay in an Ottoman sultans opulent palace, a quaint yalı (traditional wooden summer house) on the Bosphorus, or a comfortable, cozy family home, you can find the accommodation of your choice in Turkey. Champing has become popular, and the new interest in trekking holidays means that you can sleep under the stars. Turkeys hotels and guesthouses cater for a wide range of budgets and, in general, are found clustered around the main sightseeing areas: in Sultanahmet and Aksaray in Istanbul for instance. Some of the old towns, notably Safranbolu offer accommodation in restored mansions and family homes around the historic town centre. The choice of hotels in Turkeys eastern provinces is more restricted because this area has not yet reached its full tourist potential. Apart from the better ones in main towns, lodgings tend to be Spartan and can be overpriced. You can use the listings on to find a hotel that will suit your price range.
CHOOSING A HOTEL
Many hotels in Turkey are rated by the Ministry of Tourism according to a star system, from one to five, with five stars being the most luxurious. Municipalities also use stars to rate their local accommodation, which can be confusing. Try not to base your choice exclusively on star ratings. Reputable hotels will allow you to see a room before you decide to stay. Hotel staff will often come to meet arriving buses and try to convince you to stay at their establishment.
Most hotels can be easily reached by public transport from the airport, bus or train station. With advance notice,most hotels will ferry guests to and from the airport. Many hotels in resort areas close from the end of October until March or April. Ask about this when you book, or look it up on the Internet. Most of the major hotels now have websites. Some hotels even advertise that they have a generator, ensuring that their services are not affected by Turkeys regular power cuts.
In southern coastal areas and inland plains, summer is hot and humid, so paying extra for an air-conditioned room can make a difference. Water shortages are a fact of life, so ask the smaller hotels if they have sufficient water. It also worth asking if the hotel has sufficient hot water.
Special License Hotels are usually considered to be luxury establishments. Even if the listing says it is a pansiyon(pension),the comfort and décor will be first-rate, as well as the food. It is essential to book well in advance at these establishments and it is rare to find discounts here.
Most of the up-market international hotel chains are represented in Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir, as well as the other larger cities around Turkey. Almost all five-star hotels offer fine views over a city skyline, the Bosphorus,a dreamy coastal vista or some picturesque harbor scene.
Luxury hotels typically have swimming pool, fitness and health facilities, hamams(Turkish baths),saunas and conference facilities. Resort hotels and holiday villages, in particular, feature extensive nightly entertainment. Most hotels will gladly arrange city or boating tours and day trips to local attractions. You can, of course, also organize this yourself at a lower cost.
Many hotels have set aside non-smoking areas and make provision for disabled guests. This was unheard-of until quite recently.
The coastal areas of Turkey have numerous holiday villages, self-contained resort complexes that offer a full range of holiday options for visitors, with access to their private stretch of beach. These may be more like minitowns, but the lure of a holiday with all the frills and none of the concomitant worries continues to attract customers. Staying in a holiday village can be very economical, especially for families with children, as a great number of activities are included in the price of the holiday. All the holiday villages offer programmers for children, as well as babysitting services and nightly entertainment programmers. Some, like the MIA Belpark Village near Belek and Club Lykia World near Ölüdeniz, cater for foreign diplomats and destination management companies.
There is a wide choice of cheaper accommodation in Turkey, ranging from hotels and motels to family run pensions. Some of the cheaper one-star hotels are not rated by the Ministry of Tourism, but by the local municipality, whose standards depend on the region. Therefore, when choosing one of the cheaper hotels, take care not to base your decision on what you see in the newly renovated lobby; it is always best to see if the carpet runs past the first stairs. Most one-star hotels provide only minimal services, which could mean communal washing facilities. The safest bet would be to try to find a room in a pansiyon. Older ones are more like private houses with rooms rent, but many of the newer ones are much like hotels in terms of services offered.
SPECİAL LİCENSE HOTELS
Special license hotels are usually historic buildings that have been restored and transformed into quaint hotels. These do not fall under the auspices of the Turkish Ministry of Tourism and their facilities vary from grand luxury to the very basic. Most and found in the older quarters of Istanbul, and give guests a feeling for the lifestyle of the late Ottoman era. Many Special License Hotels are run by the Turkish Touring and Automobile Club, or TTOK, which campaigns for the historic value of these buildings.
WHAT TO EXPECT
All hotels listed in this book were chosen because they provide comfortable, welcoming and secure accommodation. In the popular regions, front desk staff can be expected to speak English, but this is less likely in more remote areas. Hotel rooms cater for couples, with twin beds or a double bed and enough space to add a third if necessary.
Most multistory hotels will have lifts but this will not be the case in older buildings converted into Special License Hotels. Facilities for wheelchair users are also found mainly in the more expensive hotels. Noise can be quite a problem in cities, even in the luxury hotels, so ask for a quite room. It is perfectly in order to request hotel staff to put you in another room for any reason.
The price of the room will usually include breakfast. This will be either a set Turkish breakfast of fresh bread, butter, jam, soft white cheese, tomatoes, cucumbers and black olives, or a self-service buffet. In recent years many, hotels have begun to offer half board, with an evening meal thrown in. If you want to be independent, make this clear when you arrive. The evening meal may well turn out to be yet another buffet.
PRICES AND DISCOUNTS
Hotels prices are quoted per room(not per person)in US dollars, Euros or Turkish lira. Bargaining is perfectly acceptable, and discounts are often available if you pay in hard currency. Even luxury hotels will offer a discount to business travelers. Ask for the corporate rate. In general, your success in bargaining will depend on how busy the hotel is. If it is empty, as is often the case in winter, then you have some leeway for negotiation. You can expect to pay premium prices during religious or national holidays, however, when virtually all accommodation is booked.
BOOKİNG A ROOM
It is always a good idea to book, especially in Istanbul or other large cities, and in the summer season between May and October. Telephone, fax and e-mail booking are all accepted but, for peace of mind, try to confirm all your reservation and travel needs by fax. If you are travelling with an organized tour, your agent should handle all the arrangements for you. Arriving in Turkey with a confirmed, written booking is always a good idea.
If you havent pre-booked accommodation, or if you have changed your itinerary to get off the beaten track, visit any of the local tourist information offices to inquire about available accommodation. They will give you a list of local hotels, but leave it to you to make your choice and booking. Tourist offices can also give advice on approximate prices.
Dont be shy about looking around, seeing rooms and comparing prices.
CHECKING OUT AND PAYING
All guests are expected to check out by noon, but on special request most hotels will agree to hold luggage for collection later.
Expect for the very remote or most economical establishments, most hotels listed in this guide accept major international credit cards. Fewer will accept travelers cheques, and may even charge a commission to cash them.
Value-added tax(VAT) is known as KDV in Turkish and is generally included in the price of a room. When you register at a hotel, you will often be asked for your credit card, which will then be swiped through an authorization machine. You will be asked to sign the form and the card must then be resubmitted for payment when your account is finally settled.
As with most hotels, tips for the staff are always very much appreciated and remembered. A few dollars is adequate for junior personnel, while a little more is called for if the front desk has done something special for you.
Remember that phone calls and minibar drinks are additional charges that increase your bill substantially.
In most hotels, children up to the age of six years can stay in their parents room at no extra charge. Many hotels also offer up to 50 per cent discount rates for 12-15 year olds sharing a room with their parents. Cots for babies are willingly provided even by mid-range hotels. Childrens menus are usually available in family resort areas and holiday villages. In Turkey, children generally are expected to eat when their parents do and they also tend to stay up late, particularly in the hot summer months.
HOSTELS AND STUDENT LODGINGS
Turkey has many youth hostels, student lodgings and even a state-sponsored youth travel scheme for those who are travelling on a limited budget, such as university student and backpackers. The state-sponsored scheme was initiated in 2000 for student between the ages of 18 and 26, and requires the travelers concerned to be able to identify themselves with an International Student Identity or Youth Hostel Association card. Students have half-price access to selected hotels all over Turkey, as well as camp sites and university dormitories. The dormitories, however ,are only available during university holidays. Entry to all Culture Ministry museums and sites is half the posted price. Full details are available from the Student Travel Association General Directorate, or Yurtkur, in Ankara, and the Interyouth Hostel in Istanbul.
CAMPING AND CARAVANNING
Caravanning and camping holidays are becoming increasingly popular and many new areas are being developed into well-equipped, highly organized camping grounds that provide ample space for tents or trailers, as well as ablution facilities.
In parts of the country, cosy, furnished bungalows may be available for self catered forest holidays. However, please note that camping is only allowed in designated areas, so be sure to check with the Turkish Camping and Caravanning Association, who will be able to provide you with a list of approved sites.
Parking a caravan or pitching a tent on any deserted beach, or simply pulling over to the side of road in a caravan is discouraged.
This is a little-known type of accommodation in Turkey. The Association for the Development of Tourist Guesthouses, which is run by volunteers, gets requests for accommodation in all price ranges from all over the world. Even if municipalities or tourist information bureau do not keep a list, patience is often rewarded, and excellent accommodation can nearly always be found.
Most cities and towns in Turkey have apartment hotels for short-term rental. Pensions, too, often include cooking facilities, but these are usually shared with other guests. For tax reasons, not many self-catering apartments advertise openly, and word of mount is the best way to locate these places. Some travel agents have lists of apartments, which they own and maintain, available for self-catering holidays.