Review: Sheraton Istanbul City Center (Executive Suite)

Lowest nightly rate: 74 EUR (79.92 EUR after tax)
When to book: One month in advance (Winter)

Sheraton Istanbul City Center took over management of Titanic Downtown Beyoğlu in mid-2019. Even though it is technically a rebranded hotel, Titanic Downtown Beyoğlu was only about a year old.

The hotel reached out to me a few days before my stay to get my estimated arrival time. I requested to use Marriott Bonvoy’s eGiftCard for 1 of 5 nights and it was accepted right away. As it was low-season, I was also pre-upgraded to an Executive Suite for this 5-nights stay as a Titanium Elite member! I was told that there are only 5 such suites.

Check-in was quick and easy. Everyone at the front desk knew my name and was expecting me! I was then brought up to my suite, where my jaw dropped. I ‘Googled’ this suite before coming but it looked way bigger in person!

Seating area by the reception

The suite (Executive Suite)

Living area
Complimentary chocolate cake and a bottle of wine
Dining area
Work area
Bathroom 1
Second living area
Finally, I see a bed!
Bedroom
USB ports by the bed
Walk-in closet
Main bathroom
Toiletries
Second bathroom
The bar
The bar
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Executive Lounge

The Executive Lounge is free to use for Marriott Bonvoy Platinum and Titanium members. It is opened from 0630 – 2300 hours. Evening aperitif is from 1800 – 2000 hours and complimentary alcohol runs from 1800 – 2100 hours.

I arrived about 5 minutes before 1800 hours on my first day and saw a few chefs and staff members meticulously placing some pastries. The food selection during evening aperitif is out of this world! I mean, I would be very surprised even if I see a spread like this at a JW Marriott! Looking great is one thing, tasting great is a whole other. And that is not even the best part. I see totally different hot food and pastries each of my 5 days there! It felt like the chefs are trying to outdo each other in a hidden reality TV show back in the kitchen. The attention to details is just outstanding.

Entrance to the Executive Lounge behind the bar
Entrance to the Executive Lounge behind the bar
Executive Lounge
Executive Lounge
Executive Lounge
Executive Lounge
Food and drinks spread at the Executive Lounge
Food and drinks spread at the Executive Lounge
Pastries section
Pastries section
Cold food
Cold food
Hot food
Hot food
Dried nuts and fruits
Dried nuts and fruits
Drinks and spirits
Drinks and spirits
Tuna sandwich
Tuna sandwich
Pastries
Pastries
Wines and breads
Wines and breads
Wines
Wines
My picks
My picks
My picks
My picks

Breakfast

Breakfast is complimentary for Platinum and Titanium members and runs from 0630 – 1100 hours. The spread is as perfect as the one in the Executive Lounge in the evenings and are of very high quality. There is also a fresh juice station where you can request any smoothie or cold press juice of choice.

Entrance to Nev’i Lokma restaurant
Entrance to Nev’i Lokma restaurant
Large breakfast spread
Large breakfast spread
Egg station
Egg station
Cold dishes
Cold dishes
Pastry selection
Pastry selection
Chocolate fondue
Chocolate fondue
My picks
My picks

Swimming pool

At level -2, there is a steam room, sauna and a swimming pool. All of which are free to use for all guests. There is also a spa (paid) and a kids play area located on the same floor.

Men’s locker/changing room
Men’s locker/changing room
Sauna and steam rooms
Sauna and steam rooms
Swimming pool with regulated water/air temperature, PH and Chlorine levels
Swimming pool with regulated water/air temperature, PH and Chlorine levels
Massage room by the pool
Massage room by the pool
Kids play area
Kids play area

The gym

The gym is a few steps up from the lift lobby on the ground floor. It is large and has plenty equipments that look brand new.

Weights area
Weights area
Towels area
Towels area
Cardio area
Cardio area

Shuttle service

There is complimentary shuttle service in a 19-seater minibus that runs every hour, to and from Taksim. The 12-minutes service stops you in front of Big Mamma’s restaurant in Taksim, which is about 5 minutes walk to Taksim Metro station.

Shuttle service schedule
Shuttle service schedule
19-seater shuttle bus
19-seater shuttle bus
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What I loved about this property

  1. Price
  2. Food quality at breakfast and Executive Lounge
  3. Fast WiFi
  4. Shuttle service
  5. Extra-friendly staff
  6. Modern rooms
  7. Gym and pool facilities

What I disliked about this property

  1. Nothing much around the hotel  

What you should know if you are new to Istanbul

I do not want to side track too far but if you are new to this city, here’s what you should know:

1) The taxi drivers are mostly evil. There is no point sugar-coating as they really are. This is one of the very few major cities in the world where the taxi union still holds private car-hire services like Uber by the neck. If you are caught in touristy areas like Blue Mosque, you will most probably not find a taxi driver who is willing to use the meter. They will instead quote you a price about 4 to 5 times more than what you would pay with the meter running. In my ugly experience, the driver smoked in the taxi and dropped me across a six-laned highway instead of my hotel lobby.

2) Use the Metro or tram. Taksim station is only 5 minutes walk away from where the shuttle service drops you. Get Istanbulkart for 6 TL at the station. Each ride to any station only costs 2.60 TL each way.

3) The taxis at the airport are safe and they use the meter.

4) Get the hotel to call for a taxi if you do not want to use the shuttle service.

5) Use BiTaksi app if you want to call for a taxi yourself.

By sorting out and preparing yourself transport-wise, you will enjoy this beautiful city. Don’t get caught out guys.

 

Conclusion

I am writing this review from St. Regis Istanbul and I wish that I am in Sheraton Istanbul City Center instead. Not that St. Regis Istanbul is bad but because Sheraton Istanbul City Center is outstanding. I will stay here again in a heartbeat even if I do not get a suite upgrade. I miss everyone here, the staff at breakfast, front office, Executive Lounge and even the shuttle bus driver! The hotel manager, Ms Pelin, even took some time to meet up with me to ensure that I am well taken care of. The dead neighbourhood did not really matter because I never had to walk out of the hotel. I managed to get a rate of 74 EUR per night (pre tax) and paid only 61 EUR ($91) after my Citibank Prestige 4th Night Free benefit. Incredible value. And no, this is not a sponsored post!

Ratings

Value: 10/10
Breakfast: 10/10
Service: 10/10
Location: 8/10
Room: 10/10
Facilities: 10/10
Executive lounge: 10/10
Elite member recognition: 10/10

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