With United’s routing rules, I was able to include a 23-hour layover in Istanbul. For my one-night stay in Istanbul, I booked the Park Hyatt Istanbul through American Express’ Fine Hotel & Resorts program.
This trip report/review is part of a series. See also:
- 1. Trip to Southeast Asia – Introduction
- 2. Hyatt at the Bellevue, Philadelphia (King Room)
- 3. Hyatt at the Bellevue, Philadelphia (Junior Suite)
- 4. EVA Air Royal Laurel (Business Class) “Hello Kitty” Jet Houston-Taipei
- 5. Grand Hyatt Taipei (Haunted?) Grand Suite
- 6. InterContinental Hong Kong Patio Room
- 7. Coral Executive Lounge Bangkok-Don Mueang
- 8. AirAsia “Premium Flex” Chiang Mai to Bangkok-Don Mueang
- 9. Conrad Bangkok (King Room)
- 10. Conrad Bangkok Executive Lounge
- 11. Conrad Bangkok Presidential Suite Bedroom
- 12. Grand Hyatt Bangkok Grand King Room
- 13. Thai Airways 777-300ER Royal Silk Business Class Bangkok to Stockholm
- 14. Park Hyatt Istanbul Park Deluxe Twin Room
- 15. Turkish Airlines Lounge Istanbul (“July 15 Heroes of Democracy Lounge”)
- 16. Turkish Airlines A330 Business Class Istanbul-Washington DC
I imagine Istanbul was still affected from the unrest that has negatively affected tourism, since the rate I booked was quite low. With my room rate, I also received the following benefits from AMEX Fine Hotel & Resorts (FHR), a program for AMEX Platinum Card‘s members:
- Noon check-in, when available
- Upgrade from Park King room to Park Spa or Park Suite room (based on availability upon arrival)
- Welcome amenities in the room
- Daily full breakfast for two (also available through Room Service)
- US$100 hotel credit for food and beverage
- Guaranteed 4 pm late checkout
Location and Check-In
The Park Hyatt Istanbul is located in a quiet, upscale neighborhood, about a 15-minute walk from Taksim Square. The Grand Hyatt Istanbul is much closer to many tourist attractions, though the prices were similar, so I booked the Park Hyatt instead.
There was a metal detector at the front of the hotel, but no one seemed to actually check me even though it beeped every time I walked through it. I was told this is pretty typical in Istanbul. Right upon entering the hotel, I was greeted by the concierge desk.
The main lobby was beautifully decorated, and felt very residential. The Park Hyatt Istanbul only has 90 rooms, so it’s a pretty intimate hotel. One side of the lobby was the restaurant, called the “Lounge at Park Hyatt,” which had an open design.
In the evening, iPads on the tables located on the ground floor (i.e. not up the platform) allow guests to place orders for foods and drinks.
Opposite the restaurant was the wine bar, which was gorgeous; the entire curved back wall was full of wine bottles on display.
At the end of the lobby were the check-in desks. I arrived at the hotel around 3 pm, and a friendly associate checked me in. I had booked a Twin room, but the associated once again confirmed my preference for two beds, since he otherwise could have upgraded me. He acknowledged my Diamond status, as well as the fact that I booked with AMEX FHR, and offered to escort me to my room.
There was a small library area besides the elevator bay on the ground floor.
The hallways on room floors were also thoughtfully designed, and felt very…Park Hyatt, with a sense of modern, understated luxury.
Park Deluxe Twin Room
The room opened into a long entryway, which contained one of the closets of the room.
The room was airy and spacious, featuring hardwood floors in the “bedroom” area and carpet along the minibar.
There was an armchair and ottoman by the window. A bowl of fruit and a welcome card on the coffee table awaited.
Along the same wall was a generously sized work desk.
I found a separate Fine Hotels & Resorts welcome letter explaining all the benefits by the stationary kit.
I really liked that there was another closet right outside the bedroom. I don’t know if that’s because this was a Twin room, but I always appreciate having separate closets when traveling with someone.
The closet featured the standard amenities you’d find in a Park Hyatt, including laundry bags, shoe bags, and a hotel-specific shopping bag.
The minibar came in the form of a small “station.” One side contained the refrigerator, while the other had shelves with a Nespresso machine and other minibar items.
There were also a few concealed shelves in one end of the minibar station, which had a kettle and some drink wares.
A bottle of wine was resting on the minibar, which the associate who checked me in pointed out as a complimentary welcome amenity.
Two beds against a backdrop of dark wood and rustic mirror made up the bedroom.
Master light controls were next to both beds, and the night stands had the standard phone, note pad, etc.
In lieu of water bottles, the hotel actually provide a large pitcher of water. I really liked this and think it’s a much more environmentally friendly option.
Black-out curtains made for a good night sleep, and when deployed cover a pretty average view.
The Park Hyatt Istanbul is famous for its bathrooms, especially the ones in Park King Spa rooms, since they feature a separate steam room. My Deluxe Twin room wasn’t too shabby, either. Along one side was the vanity, complete with a separate glass sink that delivers clean drinking water.
I found dental kits and other amenities in one of the drawers in the bathroom.
On the opposite side was the toilet (in its own compartment with a door) and a steam room/shower combo. Having a private steam room in my own room was absolutely awesome.
The Park Hyatt Istanbul uses Blaise Mautin toiletries, with a signature hotel scent.
A set of plush bathrobes in a receded “closet” divided up the bathroom into two halves.
At the other end of the bathroom was a large soaking tub, with a magazine rack and an extra set of toiletries.
There were also two loofahs, shower caps, and bath salts, along with a remote that controls the LED lighting around the bathtub.
Lighting controls in modern hotels can often be confusing. That’s not the case here at the Park Hyatt Istanbul—I had no problem using any of the controls. Additionally, there were no lag times, which I sometimes find to be the case with these electronic controls.
Both my Hyatt Diamond status and the American Express FHR program give me free breakfast at the restaurant, or via room service. I was impressed by the design of the restaurant, and so I decided to eat there.
The spread wasn’t super elaborate, and featured mostly cold items. However, everything looked delicious and high quality, and I liked just about everything I tried.
There were a few hot items at the buffet, heated by candles (no joke!)
I was also able to order anything I wanted off the menu.
I was also told that no visit to Turkey is complete without trying the Turkish Tea. Well, when in
Since it was pretty hot out, I decided to take a quick dip at the hotel pool. To access the pool from the room, you have to first get to the lobby and transfer to a separate set of elevators.
The bridge leading to pool featured some interesting artwork.
Nobody was at the pool when I was there, so it was super tranquil. The pool wasn’t big by any means, but you could still swim small laps if you wanted to.
There were pool benches on a platform, and the hotel made cold water readily available in a refrigerator.
There were also couches and bar tables lining the length of the pool, which I imagine would make for a perfect spot for a summer afternoon cocktail.
On the far end of the pool was a larger couch with its own TV.
I was extremely happy with my stay at the Park Hyatt Istanbul. The hotel was in a intimate neighborhood, but still within walking distance to a number of sights, making it suitable both for relaxing and exploring the city. The room was well appointed, the shower and bath amazing, and all the staff members I encountered were courteous and friendly. Ultimately, this is what I feel like people expect from a Park Hyatt—understated luxury with all the right amenities, in a upscale but accessible neighborhood, and with staff that know how to anticipate needs.
This hotel deserves to be in the $300+ range, and at the rate I paid, this was basically a steal. I would definitely choose to stay at the Park Hyatt if I am ever in Turkey again. (Actually, I just booked a trip back to Istanbul, and the hotel might have a tinnnnny bit to do with it…)