Agora Life Hotel
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We made the mistake of driving to the hotel which is very close to the main attractions in Istanbul. On the day we were travelling the police decided to shut down one of the main roads so the traffic was chaos. We had to negotiate our way up the hill from the Galata bridge side.

We phoned the hotel to ask about parking and they actually sent someone to us to guide us in. Your sat nav probably takes you to a road with a white barrier across it and you think that this is wrong. It isn't. You need to enter this road and the hotel is actually at the end of it. They will park your car and look after it for you.

Although this is a small hotel it provides a big welcome. The reception lobby is small but comfortable and tastefully decorated. The Reception staff are absolutely amazing and they genuinely look after their guests.

Your room is clean and tidy and well laid out with everything you need for a comfortable stay. With herbal teas and a welcome aperitif the hotels provides good wardrobe facilities, a safe and TV which also has BBC news and foreign channels.

The bathroom is spotlessly clean with soaps and shampoos and bed is very comfortable. The location of this hotel is also very good. You are within walking distance of the Blue Mosque, Topkapi, Hagia Sophia, the underground cistern and much more.

Istanbul is full of street hawkers, particularly the covered bazaar. They use every trick in the book to get your attention. Even the shoe shiners will drop one of their brushes and wait for you to pick it up and shout for them. Quick as a flash they will then be cleaning your shoes! Try and have a local with you when your are buying anything expensive as you can bet your bottom dollar that the handbags, carpets and leather jackets are twice the price the locals pay!

Breakfast at the Agora Life Hotel is excellent. They go out of their way to make sure that they provide a proper Turkish breakfast - and more! Everything is fresh and well prepared and again the hotel staff excel with their smiles and welcomes you just cannot fault it. This is a genuine family hotel run by people who actually care.

Don't miss the terrace bar either. You get a stunning view of the Bosphorous bridge and the surrounding area. The hotel has a good Wi-Fi connection and routers on every floor. Important if you are on a business visit.

Would I stop here again? You bet I would. We had friends over from the UK and also had a business meeting but it was ideal for everyone. I strongly recommend this hotel and would like to say thank you to the staff for their professional expertise and warm welcome. The owner of this hotel can be very proud of what they have achieved here.

(0212) 526 1181
Cagaloglu Hamami Sk No 6, Sultanahmet, Istanbul
Ortaklar Iskender Kebap
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This restaurant came by recommendation. Having spent the entire day wandering around Istanbul we decided that it was time to try some good traditional food.

The Ortaklar Kebap Restaurant does not disappoint. The menu has a range of various kebabs from different regions around Turkey. There is even a vegetarian option. Just off the beaten track but still within walking distance of the main tourist attractions this restaurant is worth seeking out.

I had a delicious Iskender kebap and my friend went with chicken shish. Both dishes were well presented and expertly cooked. Although you see the small kitchen when you walk in and probably wonder how they manage to produce what they do in such a small space the results are perfect.

Service at this restaurant is excellent, They take credit cards or cash and the prices are about half that of restaurants near the tourist attractions. They also make it very clear on their leaflet that cleanliness, hygiene and health are very important here - and one look at the kitchen tells you that this is the case.

I couldn't really fault this place. You can tell that it is special because it is always busy and mainly full of locals who know that this is one of the best places to eat.

Definitely worth visiting. Give it a go!

(0212) 517 61 98
Binbirdirek, Peykhane Cd. No:27/a, 34122 Fatih/İstanbul