Over the past few years we have accumulated a stash of Lufthansa miles but using them on an award ticket can be expensive due to fuel surcharges ($600-$800 per ticket!). Booking with their subsidiary LOT is one way to avoid the surcharge, but we never found useful availability. Then, last spring we discovered that the charge to Istanbul was a more reasonable $200 or so, which lead us to plan a fall trip where we spent one night in Chicago, one night in the air in Lufthansa business class, and five nights in Istanbul.
Istanbul is so large and old that it is impossible to sum up quickly, but we greatly enjoyed our trip, especially all the wonderful food to be found.
On our trip we stayed in two hotels:
Astan Hotel Galata – a new hotel located halfway between the Karakoy tram stop and the Galata, this proved to be a good location for us. It was also a good workout, with 69 uneven steps from the bottom of the hill to the hotel!
- Very personable and helpful front desk staff who helped with reservations, made suggestions, etc. (Ismail in particular was great.)
- A comfortable bed and good amenities, including loofahs!
- Space in the fridge to store leftovers and a bottle of wine.
- Walls are a bit thin and we could hear our neighbors talking through the walls at all hours of the night.
- Air circulation in the bathroom is only via window, so there was some mold on the ceiling already.
- In-room (instant) coffee was not complimentary, probably the only place I have seen this.
Wow Airport Istanbul – Given our early 5:50am departure flight we knew we wanted to stay out by the airport for our final night. The Wow Airport hotel had decent reviews and a good price that decreased at least twice; in fact, the night before our stay I was able to book us a better rate.
Our room was fairly large, quiet, and on the non-smoking floor. It was notable for the excessive number of mirrors- a large wall mirror above the desk, a full-length on the closet door, and a circle in the headboard as well. A taxi to to the airport was 10L in the morning (~$3.50), which would be free after via hotel shuttle after 6:30am. Overall, Wow was perfectly sufficient for a short overnight stay.