Coming back from Egypt we spent a couple of nights in Istanbul to do some shopping before flying home. I wanted to take advantage of this quick return to get some time-lapse video of the Hagia Sophia, and the terrace of Ares Hotel has a wonderful view of the ancient cathedral. After researching extensively, I found Ares to have the best view for the value of the rooms. Other properties with good views were considerably more expensive.
Ares Hotel | From $75/night
Location: Ares Hotel is located in the center of the Old City of Istanbul, giving you convenient walking access to most of the city’s attractions including the Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, and Topkapi Palace. The Sultanahmet metro stop is right in front of the hotel as well, making it easy to explore the city beyond.
Ares is tucked away behind the little park across the street from the Hagia Sophia, with several restaurants around, including the recommended Dubb Indian restaurant right next door. Noise in your room might be an issue due to the high level of activity around the area, but I’m a fairly light sleeper and didn’t find this to be a problem.
Staff: The staff tried their best to help us; unfortunately, several issues occurred during the stay that made their job difficult. First there was some trouble at check-in with their computer system, which apparently hadn’t assigned a room to us. They got it cleared up, but it took a while to check in. However, this issue popped back up when the night staff tried to let in another guest into our room at 2am. He quickly apologized and retreated, and I was so tired from the day’s travels that I fell right back to sleep. Additionally, the air conditioning in Iylana’s parents room didn’t work which made for a pretty miserable first night for them, and they ended up having to switch rooms the next day.
Rooms: The rooms were a bit sub-par for the price, especially considering the numerous options in the area for similar price levels. For not much more per night, we found the accommodations of nearby Divalis Hotel more comfortable.
Breakfast was available in the first floor restaurant. The hotel offered free wi-fi, however it didn’t work well on the terrace while I was up there capturing my time-lapse videos.
In conclusion: Ares Hotel is an okay budget option in a great location with gorgeous terrace views. However there are other properties in the same price range that offer more bang for the buck. Find a restaurant with terrace views of the Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque for your pictures and skip staying at Ares unless you’re doing something as specific as capturing time-lapse sunrise video like I was.