1 night cash
Originally, I had booked a room on AIRbnb.com for Istanbul. We were only going to be in Istanbul for about 20 hours, and all the major brand hotels were outside of the historic center. Since we were to be there for such a short time, I wanted a room to rent near the historic sights like the Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque in the Sultanhamet district of Istanbul.
About 9 months ago, I made a prepaid reservation on AIRbnb.com for a guestroom furnished by Ferdi. It was for this room, and for 75 Euros, plus some AIRBNB booking fees.
Well with a few days before the stay, Ferdi e-mailed me and said there is a problem with the room, and he would not be able to accommodate me there as I prepaid. He offered to refund my money, or let me stay at the Hotel Sphendon. I think he was in cahoots with the Hotel Sphendon. I looked at the Hotel Sphendon website, and at the Trip Advisor reviews. It had high reviews on Trip Advisor, although no reviews in English, mainly Turkish, French, and other languages. Being proficient in French, I went ahead and read those. They all noted that the hotel was agreeable with a breakfast correcte. Basically, if it was good enough for the French, who are amongst the hardest tourists to please in my opinion, it would be good enough for us. All I wanted was the good location, which it had right in Sultanhamet, and a decent Wi-Fi signal since I wanted to watch the University of Georgia vs. Clemson football game which would take place at 8:22PM Eastern Time, 3:22AM Istanbul time. So we told Ferdi this would work.
From the airport, the taxi drove into the historic Sultanhamet district, which seems like it is surrounded by an old and beautiful city wall. We wove our way through some narrow streets, until we pulled up to a relatively non-descript but pretty building which the driver told us was our hotel.
We walked in, and were greeted at check-in by a middle-aged Turkish man. He greeted us in English, and we told him we had a reservation confirmed through Ferdi. He knew instantly of us, and gave us a key and let us know the wi-fi password and breakfast time for the next day. His colleague/family member/friend, also a Turk, helped us hustle our bags up 3 flights of stairs into our room, room 301.
Room 301 at the Hotel Sphendon. It appeared there were probably 12-20 rooms in this small family-run hotel.
The bathroom was immediately to the right when you walked into the room, and appeared very clean with a shower, toilet and sink.
The room itself was on the small side, but had enough room for us and our luggage. The queen sized bed was comfortable enough. There was an air conditioner, a small TV, and a desk with chair. I hooked up my laptop to the TV with an HDMI cable I brought on the trip to be able to watch the football game using a friend’s slingbox/
A view of the lobby area of the Hotel Sphendon.
Watching football at 3:30AM after sleeping the night before on the airplane makes for a tiring, but entertaining experience.
Basically, we arrived at 10PM and went out to see some nightlife in the Taksim districit of Istanbul until 12:30AM. We went to sleep at 12:45AM, at which time I woke up at 2:45AM to begin watching the game. The game went until 6:30AM, at which time the Georgia Bulldogs lost a close match to the Clemson Tigers in the season opener by 3 points. I slept from 6:30AM – 8:00AM when our alarm went off to pack, grab breakfast, and to check out the Hagia Sophia and do some shopping.
A very impressive and homemade breakfast spread, especially for a small family run hotel.
A view of the outside of the back of the Hotel Sphendon from the breakfast nook patio in the back.
We were out and about as noted above from 8:45AM – 2:00PM, at which time we returned to Sphendon to claim our bags they had put in the luggage room. The hotel called us a taxi, and by 2:15PM we were on our way to Istanbul airport to catch our flight to Santorini, Greece via Athens.
Overall, this small hotel exceeded expectations. It was small, but comfortable, clean and efficient. The front desk staff was friendly, helpful, and non-intrusive. The wi-fi was strong enough to stream an American football game over the internet. Also, rates seem to be 100 Euros and up for the Hotel Sphendon, so we got a left-handed deal by booking through Ferdi and having us transfer to this hotel. I will stay here again when I come back to Istanbul.