- The New Star Alliance Lounge at LAX
- Turkish Airlines Business Class, LAX-IST on TK10
- Doubletree by Hilton Istanbul – Old Town
- Some of My Activities in Istanbul
- The Turkish Airlines Business Class Lounge in Istanbul
The taxi ride from IST airport to the Doubletree isn’t too far. We got to the hotel around 6pm and checked in in the small front desk area. I had just attained Diamond status a few days before from credit card spend (all $40K of it was manufactured spend) so I was curious to see if I’d get anything special. Interestingly, they still recognized me only as Gold initially, but saw the Diamond status after I mentioned it to them.
In reality, there really isn’t much difference between Hilton Gold and Diamond status. You supposedly get better rooms, but nothing can really be confirmed or guaranteed. This stay was the perfect example as I got a standard size room and nothing extra. I decided to book my four night stay on cash instead of points because it was “only” about $100 a night, which I thought was a reasonable rate and definitely better than the points option of 50K a night.
The room was small. I wasn’t expecting a huge room or anything, but my rooms in Tokyo were bigger than this room was. There were two twin-sized beds and a TV, plus a desk. Internet was free and I was given a bunch of vouchers with codes on them to use throughout my stay.
The bathroom looked like it had been updated recently. The toiletries, like the rest of the room, were nothing special. I was thoroughly underwhelmed by the room, but thankfully I wouldn’t be spending much time there. The best thing about the room was the bed, as I found it to be extremely comfortable.
The breakfast was pretty bad in my opinion. There were a lot of cheese options, some fruit, and breads and other light items. You can order waffles or pancakes, but when I asked for a waffle the chef seemed thoroughly confused, but said “OK” anyway. About 20 minutes later, my waffle arrived at my table undercooked and it tasted gross. If you have breakfast, I recommend you stick to the eggs, toast, and croissants!
The reason I selected this hotel was its location. It’s just a 15 minute walk to some of the biggest tourist attractions in Istanbul, and location is very important to me when I go on vacations because I love walking around cities whenever possible. The Blue Mosque was just a 15 minute walk from the hotel, the Hagia Sofia is right next door, and the Topkapi Palace is just a 5-10 minute walk from there. Additionally, the Grand Bazaar is the closest of all these places at about a 10 minute walk from the hotel (in roughly the same direction). The Bazaar is huge, though, so you may end up walking a lot if you want to see the other end.
The hotel also had a small gym with just the basics, plus a spa that was very highly priced compared to Turkish bathhouses that you can visit in the city. There was also a computer/office area that was strangely located on the third floor in the middle of all the rooms.
This hotel provides just the basics, as I suppose should be expected from a Doubletree. The bed was comfortable and the location was excellent for my purposes, and I thought the price was reasonable for what I got. If the price wasn’t so reasonable I probably would have stayed elsewhere, as I can’t imagine ever dropping 50K Hilton points per night on a hotel like this.