During our short trip to Istanbul (which you can read Part 1 and Part 2 here), we stayed at the Walnut Shell Hotel. I cannot rave highly enough about this place and the lovely staff who worked there. Read below for our hotel review on the Walnut Shell Hotel in Istanbul.
Our flight arrived into Istanbul early (and 5am for us is EARLY!). I had emailed the Walnut Shell prior, asking if it was possible to check in before 2pm or at least leave our luggage there while we went out for breakfast and do some sightseeing before check-in. Our concierge, Selman promptly replied, saying he would see if it was possible for an earlier check-in, but at the very least would be happy to look after our bags. He also arranged an airport transfer for us, so we wouldn’t have to worry about navigating our way around like zombies (I’m normally a zombie, and don’t fully function until 10am; with or without coffee!) When we arrived at the hotel (still pitch black, mind you), we were greeted with an incredibly warm welcome from ‘Jimmy’ and Selman who, bless his heart, had a room ready for us. “Feel free to rest and come down whenever you like for breakfast”. We were hoping just to check into our rooms earlier for a nap, but to have a room to sleep AND breakfast upon arrival was actually better than we could have hoped!
Our room was very nice, with simple and stylish finishes and it was very comfortable. Location was great; just a 5 minute walk from one of the local marketplaces and 10 minutes tops from Istanbul’s highlights: the Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque and Topkapi Palace. The 24-hr reception is very handy (especially for people who arrive by the red-eye flight, like ourselves!).
During our 3 nights (or if you counted our morning nap on arrival, it was almost like 4!), we were spoilt with endless amounts of water, Turkish apple tea (a new favourite of ours, that we never turned down when offered to us!), Turkish sweets and pastries and a lovely breakfast spread, including fresh made omelettes or eggs to how we liked and a variety savoury and sweet items. One night, when we arrived back after a long day of sightseeing, Jimmy was having dinner and offered to cook more for us!
To say the staff were wonderful is an understatement. Selman was very quick to reply to any email enquiries I had leading up to the trip, was attentive and always checked to make sure we had everything we needed during our stay. Jimmy, who also runs tours from the hotel, would chat with us every day; always happy to offer suggestions on what to see, do and eat in the city. He joked around a lot with Guy and went out of his way to make sure we were comfortable. Guy had expressed interest in going to Galipoli the next time we visit Istanbul, and Jimmy was on the phone to his friend, who runs tours to Galipoli, Pamukkale and Cappadocia to get us a great price for when we decide to go.
One afternoon, he made us Turkish coffee and spent a good half-hour explaining how to properly drink Turkish coffee and read Guy’s future from the coffee afterwards. Visions of elephants, women, birds and the sky (I had trouble seeing past murky coffee stains to be honest!) forecast that Guy is either in line for a lot of money or a lot of enemies, depending how you interpret it. Let’s hope it’s the former! He even offered to get up early to make us breakfast and drop us back off at the airport himself when we left (again, another awful early morning flight!).
I really can’t express how much we enjoyed our stay in Istanbul, and it was certainly in part due to the wonderful hospitality and comfort of the staff from the Walnut Shell Hotel. If you are planning to visit Istanbul, check them out on booking.com and say hi to Jimmy and Selman for us.
Thanks again Jimmy, Selman and staff for an excellent stay. We are sure to return in the hopefully-near future!