Saturday, January 02, 2010
Recently, We had a family holiday in Istanbul from 19 to 26 December 2009. There were 5 of us (My wife & I, my 2 sons age 22 & 19, plus teenage daughter age 15).
I retired from MAS early this year, and with my last annual privileged tickets still valid till December 2009, we decided on a destination that should be an exotic place with historical sites, as well as allow us the opportunity (not to lavish...hehe) to do lots of window shopping fun at least! So without much fuss, Istanbul was straight away on everybody's mind!
As usual, before any overseas travel, I like to plan & prepare for the trip. Top on the list is the budget; daily allowance on food, tidbits, tippings, transport, pocket money for everyone, souvenirs, tours, & incidentals.
Next strings of TO-DO-THINGS are currency change, clothing to pack, type of instant food & snacks to take, range of medication & vitamins, how many luggage to bring, & of course estimating the extra space required to stuff the 'unexpected' miscellaneous purchases by everyone!! And not forgetting too, a place to stay in Istanbul... getting a good & reasonable HOTEL!!
So today, my post is only on 'FEHMI BEY HOTEL, SULTANAHMET-ISTANBUL", and how I decide to select this place & why I stayed there... Yes, Fehmi Bey Hotel, the cute small hotel that became our 'HOME AWAY FROM HOME'...great hospitality & great location!!
My son Nabil Aizat has already written a lot of things in his Blog about the many interesting activities & the places that we visited during our holiday there. You should also visit his Blog, & you will be amaze at his creativity & the pictures that he has uploaded!! Really, it is MERHABA ISTANBUL!!
Anyway, finding a suitable hotel, with the right budget, right location, and central to where you want to go is very important. Imagine if you could just step out of the hotel & just walk to get your meals, walk to the places of interest, walk to the money exchange office, walk to .... ahhhh...wherever you want to go...!! That was the sort of convenient that I had in mind, when I browsed through the internet.
After reviewing almost 20 hotels in the Trip Advisor posts, I decided to select & stay at Fehmi Bey Hotel because of the positive reviews. The other reason is that we wanted to be around Sultanahment area (Old City) where the tourist sites are.
I communicated with Mrs Tuba, and she was very prompt every time. The booking was smooth & I managed to get a price reduction, that made a great impression on me!
For an apartment with daily breakfast for 5 persons, to me that rates are very reasonable @ 120 Euro per nite, with a 5% discount if cash payment. And the airport pick-up & transfer was also thrown in by the hotel free of charge because we stayed 7 nights.
On 19 December, we arrived at Ataturk Airport at 6am, and a gentleman by the name of Mishal (I hope I spelled the name correctly!) was already waiting for us. Very nice gentleman, only that he could not converse in English, but that was not a problem at all, we exchange pleasantries in sign & body language!
Airport to Hotel took about 25 to 30 minutes. Fehmi Bey is a family run hotel. When we arrived, the owner Mr Mehmet was there to welcome us. He spoke excellent English, so does the front desk staff.
Check in officially was 12noon, but since we arrived early in the morning, we were given early checked-in and were also invited to have free breakfast at the top floor cafe, at no extra charge!
We went up to our room, it was an apartment with 2 bedrooms plus a huge living room. There was a fridge, tea making facilities (assortment of Turkish tea), aircond, heaters in the living room and in both bedrooms, telephone & TV. A security box was also provided. There were ample space in the bedrooms to put the luggage and to move around.
Breakfast starts from 7.30 to 10.30 am, at the 5th floor. I have a bad knee so I was definitely relieved to find that the hotel have service lifts.
The breakfast was good; fruits, cereals, yogurt, fresh milk, boil eggs, scramble eggs, fresh toasts & Turkish buns, fruit juice, coffee, tea, meat slices. chicken slices, etc...etc... to eat as much as you like..!! Mind you, this is not a big star hotel, but all these are considered excellent to me. The view from the cafe overlook the Marmara Sea, and just on the other side, a magnificent view of the Blue Mosque. If you wish to smoke, just step outside the cafe hall, and find yourself in an open space terrace. I was told during summer, most of the guest will enjoy their breakfast here, and also to enjoy a good session of sun bathing.
We had a wonderful stay at Hotel Fehmi Bey during our family holiday in Istanbul. The hospitality was fantastic, the rooms were excellent and spacious with huge living room in between, and the breakfast was good!! I could not have ask for more, of course I could have stayed in a 5 star hotel, but that would just be wasting money. To me Fehmi Bey is a STAR Hotel!! It is a "Home" away from home.
I would like to thank Mr Mehmet, the owner and staff for making our stay a memorable one. The area was close-by to all the interesting sites & within walking distance. Just around the corner, you can start visiting The Islamic Museum, Blue Mosque, Arasta Bazaar (just behind the Blue Mosque), then proceed to the Basilica Cistern, Aya Sophia, and Topkapi Palace. Another short walking distant away is the Grand Bazaar & even the Spice Bazaar was a short distant away from the Grand Bazaar.
Food is everywhere! Just 2 doors away from the hotel is a small Doner Kebab shop, very cheap @ 2 TL (Turkish Lira) where Ibrahim the waiter will be ready to serve you. Along the road from the hotel, there are many nice Turkish food that will fill you up. Lunch or dinner is around 30 to 40 TL for 5 of us at one of this small shops. We just walked around & explored!!
I can only remember a few staff's name from Fehmi Bey Hotel and all of them have nice smile & are not pushy trying to promote tours or whateva. They are helpful without being overzealous. I like that.
We went on the Bosphorous Sea ship-cruise and the Sultana's cultural show & dinner, & I had Ufuk, one of the front desk staff to make the bookings. The tour operators picked us up for free, from & to hotel. I would also like to mentioned Hasbe, who went the extra mile to serve us tea at the cafe after we came back from sightseeing late into the nite, very thoughtful!!
Definitely if we have another opportunity, we will stay again at Fehmi Bey, and will recommend to anyone that would like to stay in a "home" away from their home!!.
Istanbul was great, and staying at FEHMI BEY was great too!!
I would like to say thank you to MAS my previous employer for the flight tickets, thank you to Trip Advisor for having a travel website, thank you to Fehmi Bey Hotel & staff, & thank you a million times to my wife, my son Amin & Nabil, and daughter Zalikha, for enjoying the holiday, for having a great time, for the laughter, the fun, the joy that I see on your smiles, & for being together with me.
Alhamdulillah (Praise be to Allah), we had a a great time in Istanbul staying at Fehmi Bey too!!
Here are some pics to where we were:
Our room key at Fehmi Bey Hotel... solid brass!!
At Lobby of Fehmi Bey Hotel
The breakfast spread...duduk2 cari makan..!!
The breakfast setting... ermmm...delicious!!
Our room.... spacious ehhh..!!
'A Home away from home' at Fehmi Bey Hotel...
View from rooftop of Fehmi Bey... notice the Blue Mosque in the background..?
View from the rooftop again.... looking at the Marmara Sea
The neibouring site-seeing places...
at the park.... very central to everywhere..!! First day out....