A Night in Istanbul

After arriving in Istanbul and clearing immigration, I made my way outside and past the armed guards to wait for my hotel shuttle.

The pick-up area was absolutely chaotic, unlike any airport I’ve ever visited. Nearly a dozen lanes of cars, some even driving over the curbs to get around. It was intense. After about a half hour of waiting, my shuttle arrived…20 minutes behind schedule.

Courtyard Istanbul International Airport

So this hotel was a no-brainer. Not only was it near the airport, but it came to only $53.79 with tax. Plus with the promotion they were running, I’d have free breakfast as well.

After passing through the fortified gate staffed with two suit-wearing (and probably armed) guards, I was at the entrance. I then grabbed my luggage and proceeded through the metal detector and x-ray machine and into the lobby.

After getting past all that, check-in was a breeze, and I was upgraded to a room on the top floor overlooking the city via my Marriott Platinum Status. I was also informed that the mini bar was complimentary during my stay.

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The view when entering the room
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A quality Marriott bed as you’d expect
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Complimentary mini bar

The room was furnished better than most Courtyards that I’ve stayed at, and although the mini bar wasn’t nearly as stocked as a paid mini bar, I certainly wasn’t complaining.

I definitely loved the room location as well, as it provided a great vantage point to watch the sun set.

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View from my room on the top floor

I freshened up and headed downstairs to catch an Uber into the city

Downtown Istanbul

The Ubers were quite fancy here, and even at surge, the price was only $26 for a ride into the city. I actually had eight seats in the back of a Mercedes-Benz van to myself.

The driver confirmed my destination, and in almost perfect English, asked me if I was from the area. I replied that I was actually from the United States, to which he said, “Oh, I don’t speak English”. So it was a quiet 45 minite ride.

After arriving in the city, I made my way down to the waterfront by the Ortaköy Mosque to get a glance at the Bosphorus Bridge, which crosses the Bosphorus strait, connecting the continents of Europe and Asia.

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Ortaköy Mosque
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The Bosphorus Bridge

The area down by the water was just magnificent. The streets leading down the hill were lined with shops and food stands, and at the end was a plaza with a view of the strait.

Since I didn’t have any luck with using the ATMs and ordering from the food stands seemed rather chaotic, I found a restaurant and decided to have a nice sit-down meal.

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Steak with rice and fries

The meal was better than it looked. Underneath all that gravy was a delicious steak. As for the service, however, it definitely felt indifferent.

After I was done eating, my waiter came by with the customary glass of Turkish tea and quickly followed with the check.

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Turkish tea

I then proceeded to explore more of the shops and waterfront area before requesting an Uber for the ride home.

My driver arrived quickly in a nondescript Volkswagen van. Once inside though, I was taken back. This freaking thing was limo-fied!

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The fanciest Uber ever
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The fanciest Uber ever

I rode back in style in another eight-passenger van. My driver, Tunca was very proud of his ride and was excited to explain to me all the features.

Much to my surprise, there was even a coffee pot in the back! I know the Turks love their coffee, but wow!

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My Uber had a coffee pot!

I arrived back at my hotel after an enjoyable 45 minute ride and cleared security before making my way back up to the room.

Before heading to bed, I sampled one of the Turkish beers in the mini bar and snapped another photo of the bowling pin with the city in the background.

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Another shot with the bowling pin

The next morning, I went ahead and got an early start and skipped the hotel breakfast, since they’d probably have a much better selection at the lounge.

Next up, my lounge experience and another flight on Turkish Airlines.

2 thoughts on “A Night in Istanbul

  1. Armed guards, fortified gates, a taxi driver happy to stereotype all Americans. I don’t get what you got out of the visit. Perhaps Naples will prove to be a better experience.

    Like

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