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Affordable luxury in Istanbul: accommodation

Affordable luxury in Istanbul: accommodation

Where to stay in Istanbul – affordable luxury

 

I’m all for travel hacks and travelling in luxury, but saving money at the same time. By saving money I do not mean sleeping in hostel dorms that are filled with snores of strangers, slamming doors and lights switching on and off (although this can be a fun experience too, if you enjoy the social side of hostels). I have learnt to crave for impeccably cleaned hotel rooms, nice and fluffy bathrobes and great service. I want to be able to ask the staff for things like booking the taxi for me, and get an answer with a smile. If you want to read my tips about taxis in Turkey, click here. Feeling that you are really looked after makes you enjoy your holiday a lot more. I would love to be so satisfied with the hotel that when I check out, I feel like writing a blog post about the service and offer them a bit of free advertising too! So this is not a paid advert by the hotel, but a spontaneous “thank you” post. As the quality variation of hotels in Istanbul is huge and as you often end up paying for something that can only be described as tolerable, I recommend you check out the hotel comparison sites I use, as one of them found me this gem. I’ll tell you all about Hotels.com and HotelsCombined below. I will also share my trick of competing these two sites against one another, so I can squeeze out the best possible deal every time. 

Are you looking for ideas what to do in Istanbul? Then check out this ultimate guide on Istanbul on Tripblan! Here’s my hotel review of the Bricks Hotel in Istanbul – this is where price, quality and service really meet.

 

Hotels in Istanbul: About Bricks Hotel Airport

 

Bricks Hotel Airport in Istanbul is just over 3km away from the Istanbul Ataturk airport. I was able to find a great deal through Hotels.com: a Deluxe Double room for just 32€ (27 GBP / 35 USD). At the same time, I collected one of the 10 credits towards a free hotel night, which is a part of the free Hotels.com membership. The price on the hotel’s website was twice as much at the time of my stay. Hotels.com and HotelsCombined are the only hotel room booking systems I use these days.

 

Already at the check-in it became clear that this hotel was going to have a great level of service. Someone came to help me with a piece of hand luggage that I could have easily carried up myself. They showed me all the way to my room and made sure I had everything I needed. I waited a few minutes for the reception to add my details into their system, and was then able to log in the free wifi. But what was best about this hotel was that the room was fabulous. I had a bathrobe and slippers waiting for me, and many complimentary things were nicely laid out. I also expect hotel rooms to be very well cleaned, and it was obvious that the level of cleanliness is a priority in the Bricks Hotel.

By the way, here are some great reasons for visiting Istanbul!

Book your hotel in Istanbul, Turkey

Bricks Hotel Airport facilities

 

Facilities for working

 

Firstly, I would like to mention that this hotel is fantastic for anyone working remotely. The wifi connection is strong enough throughout the building and didn’t drop off. There is also a super cosy cafe downstairs – ideal for getting some work done on your laptop. Also the lobby area is very suitable for quick meetings.

 

A work desk in the Bricks Hotel Airport Deluxe Room

 

The Bricks Hotel gym and spa facilities

 

I tested the gym and the spa on the evening of my arrival. I was offered a free towel and a pair of rather noisy, wooden clogs for my feet. First I visited the gym. There I wasn’t able to switch the treadmill on (two guys managed to use them just fine after me though..). The machines were slightly over the top in the sense that each machine was designed to do many things (so they did nothing really well). There were a few benches and a bar for chest press too. Unfortunately there was no real dead-lift bar available unless you count the one used on the bench, and most of the hand weights were plasticky. I still managed to get an OK workout and then headed for the saunas next.

 

The steam room was warm and there was lots of steam. And although the door handle of the Finnish sauna came off when I pulled it, I still loved this sauna. As I am Finnish myself, I take saunas quite seriously. Here you could pour water on the sauna stones (for a Finn this is absolutely essential) and the heat was nice and hot. This is certainly a good sign. Therefore, I give the saunas of the Bricks Hotel a good rating. All of the gym and spa areas were also super clean, which was a huge plus for me. Many hotels in Istanbul offer Turkish hammams, but this one also does the traditional spa very well.

 

Dream Work And Travel.com: Bricks Hotel Airport - Istanbul

 

How to get to the BRICKS HOTEL AIRPORT, ISTANBUL

 

This hotel is located only a couple of metro stops away from the Istanbul Ataturk airport. Although an airport transfer can be arranged by the Bricks Hotel, they charge 25€ one way or 40€ for a return. As I’m always looking for ways to spend less on my travels, I weighed my travel options from the airport to the hotel. There is no shuttle bus to the Bricks Hotel from the Ataturk airport. The Istanbul taxis are all on the meter, but as you hop in the cab, you need to make sure that the meter is actually switched on at the start of your journey. If you are taking a taxi from either of the Istanbul airports, please read this, as it may save you lots of money and valuable time. The hotels in Istanbul tourist areas are completely over-priced so why wouldn’t you consider a higher quality of accommodation for less money? The only trade-off is some of your time spent in the Metro system. 

 

By the way, I bumped into these money saving tips, for when you are travelling!

 

To get to the Bricks Hotel from the Ataturk airport, the drive is just over 3 kilometers, so I found the 25€ airport transfer quite excessive. Instead, I took the metro for 4 Turkish Lira (LT). This is the equivalent of 1 euro (1,25 USD or 0,9 GBP). The yellow taxi would have cost me 12 TL, which is about 3€ (2,60 GBP or 3,40 USD). If you decide to follow in my footsteps and choose the metro, it’s good to know that the metro ticket machine doesn’t accept large notes, such as 100 TL. Sometimes the machine agrees to speak English, other times not.

 

Bricks Hotel Airport - Istanbul: How to get there from the Ataturk Airport by Metro

How to get to the Bricks Hotel from the Ataturk Airport by Metro. It’s only a couple of stops away. From the Ataköy metro station, just cross the road via the pedestrian bridge and follow the big road to the direction you came from. There’s great shops, cafes and restaurants along the way, making it a nice walk.

 

How to get the best deal by competing two price comparison sites against one another

 

If you are comparing hotels and prices, whether you are looking for hotels in Istanbul or in a completely another country, try my two favourite sites: hotels.com and HotelsCombined. Put your destination and travel dates in the form below and see which site gives you a better deal. The reason why I love using Hotels.com is that when you sign up as a member, you get deals like Bricks Hotel Airport for as little as 30 euros. But here’s the trick: HotelsCombined offers their customers a price guarantee – if you find a cheaper deal, they will refund the difference. When you run these two sites against one another, the consumer really is king! Go on and give it a try, as you should be paying less than you are paying on most price comparison sites right now! Hotels in Istanbul vary so much in quality that I recommend you consider options along the Metro system but outside the most touristy areas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

Read also:

Taxis in Turkey – what you need to know

How to get a free city break in Turkey whilst in transit

How to improve your Uber rating and why you should do it

Top 10 Cheapest City Breaks in Europe

Don’t travel without this app – WiFi password finder

Use these digital tricks to bust an apartment scam

Taxis in Turkey – what you need to know

Taxis in Turkey – what you need to know

Ready for the taxis in Turkey? Read this first

 

Taking a taxi Turkey can be an overwhelming experience for a tourist, if you happen to meet a driver who is there to make some extra money quickly. I hope this post answers some of your questions on the correct fares, tips and safety. 

 

What you should know about taxis in Turkey

 

  • All of the yellow cabs have meters, which start at a standard rate 3.20 Turkish Lira (TL) and the charge is 2 TL per kilometer
  • There are no more night rates, as it was an easy way to scam tourists in the past. The price is the same, no matter what time of day it is
  • Meters are required by law, but they are still not always used. Insist the driver to switch it on by saying “taksimetreh”
  • Make sure that the meter is running and don’t accept the “broken meter” excuse from the driver
  • Sometimes the meter is hidden behind the gears. You may need to lean forward to keep checking the meter or even use the reflection on the front door window to check it’s still running
  • You should pay in Turkish Lira’s. If you pay in other currencies, your exchange rate will be high
  • Try to always pay with the smallest possible change. If you hand over a big note, make sure you mention it to the driver so they don’t try to say you paid with a smaller note and keep the change
  • As the taxis are on a meter, it may be in the driver’s interest to give you a longer ride than necessary. It’s a good idea to have a map out. Also keep your hotel phone number with you. If the driver gets lost, he will be able to call the reception for directions
  • It’s handy to have Google Maps open on your smart phone, so you can see where the driver is heading to and tell him if you think he’s going the wrong way

 

Is there a taxi app I can use in Istanbul?

 

Sure there is, and it may help you a lot!

 

 

Taxis in Turkey and Cheap hotels in Turkey

Cabs in Turkey and especially in Istanbul

 

You should only use official, yellow taxis in destinations like Istanbul. Of course the transfers arranged by your hotel are another matter. Someone may just walk up to you and offer to get you a taxi. Don’t take their offer! No matter how friendly these strangers are, you should still only take a yellow cab, as you are about to get scammed. Unfortunately, even the yellow taxis may not always have seat belts. I was reminded of this when I had to sit on the back seat pulling and tugging a belt that was stuck inside the seat. Not having seat belts is not great when the driving is like a scene from a Formula 1 contest.

 

Also, you can’t expect the driver to speak English, so having the name and the address of your destination written on a piece of paper is a good idea. The locals don’t usually tip the driver, but they may expect you to tip big, as you are a foreigner. Tip if they helped you with your luggage or you were in other ways happy with the service. But you don’t have to tip, if you don’t think it was a great experience. You could just round up the fare.

 

All of this sounds a bit much. Are there any alternatives to yellow taxis in Turkey?

I recommend downloading the BiTaksi app on your phone. The app works a lot like Uber. The nearest taxis appear on your screen and these taxis are also registered. Although the BiTaksi app is in Turkish, it’s simple enough to use, especially if you are familiar with Uber or Gett.

 Are you looking for things to do on a short break in Istanbul? Check out this blog!

 

Dream Work And Travel: The Turkish BiTaksi app for booking taxis

The Turkish BiTaksi app for booking taxis online

 

 

 

 

Also read:

How to get a free city break in Turkey whilst in transit

How to improve your Uber rating and why you should do it

Affordable luxury in Istanbul: accommodation

Top 10 Cheapest City Breaks in Europe

Don’t travel without this app – WiFi password finder

Use these digital tricks to bust an apartment scam

How to get a short city break in Turkey whilst in transit

How to get a short city break in Turkey whilst in transit

This is how you can get a short city break in Turkey

It is no wonder that the Turkish Airlines has been awarded as Europe’s best airline in 6 consecutive years. They have invested in customer service and their tickets include features other airlines will not offer. In this article, I will tell you how to score a free, short city break in Istanbul or another big city in Turkey, whilst travelling. The presumption is that you are already planning to travel somewhere and are looking at different route options. Choosing to transfer in Turkey can land you a free hotel night, paid by the airline and their partners. What makes this offer even more appealing is the fact, that Istanbul has been listed as the 5th cheapest European capital city destination. 

Here’s what you need to know about this deal.

Who can get a complimentary hotel night

Turkish Airlines offer a complimentary hotel stay to those economy class passengers, whose flight connection is over 10 hours long. If your transfer is only 9 hours long, you are unfortunately out of luck and will not qualify for the hotel room. However, if you are flying in the business class, a 7+ hour transfer lands you this hotel deal. If you are an occasional business class traveller, arranging your flight route via Turkey can really offer extra value for your money.

 

Turkey

 

How does the Turkish Airlines complimentary hotel deal work

When you have arrived in Turkey and proceeded past the customs, look out for the Hotel Desk to collect your complimentary hotel night. The staff will make the hotel stay arrangements for you, so you can just head to your room and relax or go explore the city. If you land in Istanbul, you need to walk past the customs first and then walk right. Look for the Starbucks, the hotel desk is right next to the cafe.

The small print of this deal

I wouldn’t write about this offer if the small print tried to trick you in any way or if I didn’t think it was good value. Here’s all you need to know about your free city break offer. Your first and the connecting flights must be international flights with Turkish Airlines. You need to have bought the shortest available connection to qualify for this deal. This means that if there is a way to reach your destination quicker with this airline, you can’t use this offer. The complimentary accommodation will be for maximum of 2 nights, which I find more than reasonable. And it is highly recommended that you arrive in Turkey with a Valid visa – if not, you will need to spend your night at the airport. I found a great resource for those of you, who need a visa in order to visit Turkey. Naturally you will need to have your passport and travel tickets in and out of Turkey. Check out this blog called A Mary Road to see what else you need to provide. This post explains exactly what you need to obtain a visa to Turkey. 

Why not read the Top 10 Cheapest City Breaks in Europe -article next!

You might also be interested in this app that finds public WiFi passwords for free around the world.