There are a plethora of hotel options in Istanbul. In fact, it was super difficult to make a decision. We were originally leaning toward a big hotel with a pool and Turkish bath (you know, pamper ourselves a bit) but they were either out of our price range or just didn't feel like us. We don't usually stay in hotels when we travel, we prefer B&Bs, guest houses, inns, or apartments instead. So we decided to eschew these extra perks and starting looking at smaller properties that felt more like "us".
The other big consideration in Istanbul is neighborhood. Again, there are tons of hotel options and inns in the more touristy areas around the Grand Bazaar and Sultanahmet. Again, we felt like this might not be the best option for us as we like to dig in to neighborhoods; especially when we are going to be in the city for a while. So after some research we landed on the Beyoglu neighborhood and are so glad we did.
We chose to stay at Hammamhane in Beyoglu for many reasons. All rooms are studio apartments with well equipped kitchens and some sort of seating area. Many of the spaces have an outdoor area too. Oh, and an absolutely fabulous breakfast was included.
We could not have selected a better place for our stay. Our communication with the hotel began with requesting a shuttle pickup from the airport and very early check in. We arrived in Istanbul around 8am and were able to check in to our room and had our first breakfast at the hotel as well. Everyone who works here is incredibly nice and very, very hospitable. After an intense nap on our first day we headed out and while turning onto the street a man said to us "Are you staying here?". Neither of us were super present to what was happening and we had our "city" guard up so Zac responded "no" and we kept moving. It turns out that guy is the owner of the hotel and wanted to check in on us! The next time we saw him he alluded to this event and we had to confess to our jetlagged brains. What was crazy is that without even asking our names he knew exactly who we were and gave us a ton of info on the happenings of Istanbul.
The neighborhood is fantastic (antique shops, great restaurants, winding cobbled streets and cats, cats, cats), breakfast is amazing, the room is super comfy, and they are building a hamman in an historic building. There's a small group of expats who are staying here long term and friendships are easy. In fact you will likely feel like you are in a version of Armistead Maupin's "Tales of the City".
All of this helped contribute to our sense of comfort while in Istanbul. We'd highly recommend booking into Hammamhane on your next visit. In fact, we are contemplating becoming one of those extended residents ourselves on our next trip to the city.