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Reviewed 9 March 2015

We recently stayed at "Cafe Haliç", which as noted by other reviewers is no longer a functioning cafe. It is however one of the most wonderful hotels I've ever stayed at. The stay from start to finish was superb. We opted to be collected at the Airport (arranged with the owner of the hotel before arriving). The transfer was smooth and hassle free, our first visit to Turkey and straight off the aircraft we were greeted by a professional driver who was very helpful and pleasant. Took about 30mins to reach the hotel.

On reaching the hotel (at 11PM) we were kingly met by the owner's nephew, a wonderful man named Alper who took us to the dining room which affords jaw dropping views over the Golden Horn (Haliç) towards Galata. In the distance the Bosporus bridge twinkled as ferries hovered towards the port of Eminönü which is practically 2mins down the street... we were offered a drink and the owner came to meet us too. It was lovely, as we arrived so late I expected to tip-toe to the room.

As for the room itself, we opted for the "King Room", I wouldn't do the superlatives justice to describe it. With its picture postcard view of Istanbul... literally, traditional furnishings I wish I could take home, the most comfortable and gigantic bed (which lying on either side give you the most epic sight to awaken to), and air-conditioning, tv, minibar... It was perfection.

We had a balcony, sound and weather proofed. A wonderfully sized bathroom (with views itself which would probably give most hotels a run for their money!), the shower was steaming hot and has a function for misting you with cold air. I could have sat in that room the whole holiday.

Breakfast was served by Murat every morning, we asked for an early start and he provided. Enquired if we'd like some music- I asked about some old Turkish tunes and he not only found a great radio station but told us all about the instruments being played. What a gentleman, coffee was ever topped up. Never-ending bread was delivered along side a selection of cheeses, olives, jam and traditional Turkish paprika dip. Simple and delicious.

Back to the room, but this goes for the dining room too. Stick your head out the window and you can tick off the sights- Topkapi, Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Galata Tower, Bosporus Bridge, up 'the Horn, across to the Asian side too. In our room- pull up the blind in the bathroom of a morning and brush your teeth (with complimentary toothbrush!) looking out to a wonderfully interesting cityscape, the Valens Aqueduct can just be seen and Suleymaniye Mosque too.

The bed linen wash fresh, soft and cozy. The towels were changed by cleaner and the room received a spruce just like any quality hotel. Having stayed in a few 'boutique' hotels and a good many 'traditional' I must say, quite unreservedly this was the best value, most uniquely placed, wonderfully staffed and delightful hotel I have EVER stayed at.

I would highly recommend a visit to Cafe Haliç. It is a unique gem. Reasonably priced, well located for a short or long stay. With easy access to all of historic Istanbul. I can't wait to visit again.

Room Tip: King Room is magnificent.
  • Stayed: February 2015, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
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Thank callumalden
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
cafehalic, Yönetici at Golden Horn Guesthouse, responded to this reviewResponded 18 December 2015

we are very happy for your nice comments. we hope to see you again :)

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 March 2015

We stayed in the king room, for four nights, opting for the breakfast and airport transfer. From the moment we arrived we were greeted by the professional transfer service and quickly taken to the hotel.

We were greeted by the owner and her nephew- both exceptionally friendly and attentive. The nephews English is better than the owners, but she more than made up for it with her warm personality (teaching us Turkish along the way!) We were shown to the dining area and given a complimentary beer as we took in the INCREDIBLE view of the Golden Horn at night.

As soon as we got to our room we fell completely in love. Clean, traditional furnishings, spacious and homely- the BEST room we've ever stayed in. The view was even more fantastic from here, where our balcony provided the perfect vista of Galata and surrounding areas.

Breakfast was ample and delicious- bread, (so many) cheeses, jams, salad, olives, coffee, juice. The staff gave us great recommendations for what to see.

In our opinion (loathing the tourist trap as we do) the location was perfect- a taste of real, everyday Istanbul. The shops and cafes around the hotel were some of the best we visited (don't be fooled by appearances). We were at most, 15 minutes walk from all the major sightseeing spots of the central city.

Given the hotels location, it was very quiet, save for the beautiful sounds of the call to prayer. It was very safe- we were given a key to the front door, so we could come and go as we pleased.

We would (and hopefully will) come back to this hotel every year. For us, there could be no where better.

Room Tip: King room!!!
  • Stayed: February 2015, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
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1  Thank FancyPantsBee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
cafehalic, Yönetici at Golden Horn Guesthouse, responded to this reviewResponded 18 December 2015

we are very happy for your nice comments. you were also very kind and friendly. we and all our visitors are like family. we hope to see you again :)

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Reviewed 12 August 2014

We have stayed here for five nights, and in some respects were quite happy with our stay. But there are a number of problems with this guesthouse, none of which were clear from its advertising.

PROS:
The location: very close to the Suleymaniye Mosque and within walking distance of the Spice Market/New Mosque, is special (very few hotels here) and very useful if you want to be close to the Old Town;
The rooms themselves are quiet, of a nice size, and offer stunning views across the Golden Horn. Beds are comfortable and the quiet air conditioning works well.

CONS:
The location: there are stray animals in the street, and a neighbour keeps chickens, which seems either charming or unhygienic (or both?) - there is a rusting motorcycle and bits of rubbish in the street (Istanbul itself is surprisingly clean), with music blaring from a neighour's window. Yes, the architecture is charming, though much of it is ruined and rife with squatters and a few begging children - not expected at $180 per night.
Service: there is just one person who works here. He is a pleasant young man called Deniz, who is here at all hours. He is kind, but not particularly effective beyond providing a smile, nice Turkish coffee, and ringing taxis. He speaks only basic English, so cannot give any direction or much in the way of local information.
Meals: the guesthouse advertises itself as a restaurant - but this closed many years ago - **no meals are served here**, apart from a very basic set breakfast. Further, the rooms advertise themselves as "apartments," but there are no cooking facilities at all, nor a table, so all meals must be taken elsewhere.
Rooms: Yes, the bedrooms are fine, but the bathroom was unreasonably tiny - both my wife and I injured ourselves on the corner or a glass shelf (forehead level) - the room is just too small to be used comfortably. Doors open onto the ends of beds (see their photos) and the toilet is wedged between a tiny sink and the shower cubicle. Water pressure in the shower is fine, though.
Wifi: works well, but in only one part of our rooms.
Other minor things: the front door to the place has been left open, when the owner pops out to a shop--this is a bit unsettling, as a security issue.
Owner is kind (she made me a bowl of soup when I was unwell) but she ripped us off when we arrived from the airport, serving us two tuna salads and two cheese omelets, at a charge of 90 liras (£30) which was outrageous - we suspect she was recovering the cost of our taxi (the lift she had promised did not arrive).

So we recommend that you do NOT pay ANYTHING until you view this place for yourselves. It is possible that the other two suites here are better than ours - but maybe not - in any case, we were reasonably happy apart from tiny bathroom, overcharged dinner on first night, and lack of effective staff for the price we paid.

Istanbul itself is great fun: colourful, scenic, surprisingly clean and safe, with so much stunning architecture to keep one entranced the entire time. That said, ask for a written cost breakdown for all meals! Anyone who gives you a total only, even with a nice smile, is treating you unfairly - what a pity, given all the charm of this city!

Room Tip: Insist on seeing the rooms before you pay anything! There are too many variables, and a great lack of transparency in the description - and the owners do not speak English. See before you pay.
  • Stayed: August 2014, travelled with family
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank anes1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
cafehalic, Yönetici at Golden Horn Guesthouse, responded to this reviewResponded 18 December 2015

we are very happy for your nice comments. next time we will try to do everything better we hope to see you again :)

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Reviewed 28 March 2014

We travelled with two other couples to Istanbul and we stayed in a 3 bedroom suite. It was very clean and the beds were extremely cozy and comfortable. The food was incredible. We only ate dinner there once and it was great! We had coffee and breakfast every morning and it was perfect for fuelling us up for some long walks to see mosques, museums, markets, etc... The guesthouse is a little off the beaten path, but it was a perfect home base on which to embark on our sightseeing. The hospitality at Café Halic was superb. Lale, Kasim and Nesrin were so very helpful. They arranged a pick up and a drop off to the airport for us, which we appreciated very much as the cab drivers in Istanbul can be a little "shady." They were very helpful in pointing out good places to eat as well. They are amazing hosts and made us all feel very welcome from the beginning. I would highly recommend this quaint little guest house. It has all the charm of Turkey in an old world setting.

Room Tip: If you don't like stairs, stay away from this guest house! Only one bathroom in 3 bedroom suite, so you better get along well.
  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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1  Thank Scotchy68
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
cafehalic, Yönetici at Golden Horn Guesthouse, responded to this reviewResponded 18 December 2015

we are very happy for your nice comments. we hope to see you again :)

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Reviewed 2 January 2014 via mobile

Wonderful, clean and handy to our needs. The food was wonderful and the atmosphere was so homelike. If we return to Istanbul we would stay there again. The view from our three bedroom apartment balcony was amazing.

Stayed: April 2013, travelled with family
Thank Lola F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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