“A sophisticated small hotel in the heart of Sultanahmet, with tasteful Ottoman art and a fabulous roof terrace”
The 24 bedrooms at Ibrahim Pasha continue the hotel’s air of elegance, with pale olive walls, Turkish carpets over hardwood floors, white leather or plush red armchairs, and silky throws and cushions in jewel-like tones. They can feel a little dark, however, so ask for a room on one of the higher floors to maximise light.
The Standard Rooms are rather small, and some overlook an internal passageway. We felt cocooned rather than cramped, but it’s worth upgrading to a Deluxe Room if you can. These are larger, with pale wood flooring, silvery embossed wallpaper and leather sofas. Some have separate sitting areas with daybeds, others a small terrace with a table and chairs for two. We especially liked the room with a petite balcony made of wrought-iron railings and a chunky glass floor.
All rooms come with flat-screen TVs, DVD players (there's a library of films to borrow downstairs), iPod docks/CD players, safe boxes, minibars, free WiFi, complimentary fruit and bottled water, and individually controlled air-conditioning and underfloor heating. Bathrooms are clad in beige tiles, with rain showers and Molton Brown toiletries. There’s no tea- or coffee-making equipment, but free hot drinks from reception are only a phone call away.
Breakfast (included in the rates) is served from 7.30-11am, so there’s plenty of time to graze through the abundant buffet: local bread, sweet and savoury pastries (including a delicious spanakopita), creamy yoghurt, fruits, salads, cheeses, jams and honey, olives, cereals, eggs. Tea and coffee is brought to your table, and the dining room is a comfortable place to linger, with marble-topped tables, matt olive-green walls dotted with sepia-tinted photos, and an array of English-language magazines and newspapers to hand. The only slight downside is the fact that you have to pay extra for freshly squeezed orange juice.
Hot drinks are available throughout the day, and in summer a bar is set up on the roof terrace for sundowners-with-a-view, but no other meals are served at the hotel. Eating out is no problem in Istanbul, though, and staff can provide a well-researched list of restaurant recommendations.
They booked us into Rumeli Café, a renovated book bindery just a short stroll away. An unseasonably warm December meant we could sit outside, although the interior is cosy, with wood fires and hand-painted frescoes on the wall. We opted for a traditional starter of aubergine stuffed with tomatoes and onions, the rather melodramatically named Imam Bayaldi (The Imam Fainted”, apparently because the dish was so divine), and experimented with some Armenian and Kurdish dishes, including papaz yahnisi (a stew of lamb, potatoes and pumpkin cooked in a terracotta dish). On another evening, we headed over to Balikci Sabahattin (‘Sabahattin the Fisherman’) which, as the name suggests, specialises in grilled fish and seafood. It’s set in a traditional wooden house tucked away down a little alley, and was packed with locals when we visited.
For more upmarket eateries, as well as glamorous bars and clubs, take a tram or taxi over the Galata Bridge to Galata and Beyoglu, some of the liveliest areas of the city.
Children of all ages are welcome and extra beds (where possible) are free, but there are no special rates for children in their own room. The hotel is really more suited to older children, as the atmosphere is quiet and there are antiques and fine furniture in the common rooms.
Teens (over 12)
Some Deluxe Rooms have separate sitting areas with sofas that can be turned into a single daybed.