“Welcome to the Mövenpick hotel Istanbul, Family van den Boomen. We have been expecting you!” We were welcomed in the lobby of the hotel. Someone held up a tray with orange-mint drinks in a typical Turkish glass as well as a plate with different Turkish delicacies. Nice; put a smile on our faces.
This warm welcome turned out to be representative of our weekend at the Istanbul Mövenpick hotel. Sometimes you arrive at hotels and feel the personnel is a bit numb: guests have become ordinary numbers. Not at Mövenpick we can tell you. In Istanbul we experienced their passion for premium customer service. The hospitality we experienced upon arrival surely didn’t stop after the check-in!
Here we were: Istanbul! The city where East literally meets West and the Bosphorus river is the passport-free border between Europe and Asia. The city where millions of tourists every year gaze at the beautiful historical sights and you cannot leave without eating some Lokum (Turkish Delight).
In this place full of cultural (and mysterious) history we found another piece of delight: the Mövenpick hotel. Of Swiss heritage, the hotel turned out to be the perfect base for our visit to this impressive city. This post is our review of 4 days at the Mövenpick hotel Istanbul!
The Mövenpick hotel Istanbul
The hotel is situated in Levent, a business and chic shopping district. It was built 11 years ago as one of the first high rise buildings in this area of Istanbul. Nowadays it’s not the only building scraping the sky anymore! Istanbul has seen considerable economic growth, so it’s not only East that meets West. It’s also the place where the past meets its future.
This area might not exactly be the scenery that leisure travelers would expect, but Istanbul is more than only the historical peninsula where you can find Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque. All the areas of Istanbul combine into a totally different world with a stunning 14 million inhabitants.
It’s not only the fishermen on the Galata bridge and not only the man with the big mustache who slices the meat for your Doner kebab. This city is also about the young hipsters and the sharply dressed businessmen.
The rooms and more…
Back to the Mövenpick. The Mövenpick hotel has 249 rooms including 45 executive rooms and 22 suites. In our room we really found the luxury and comfort of a 5-star hotel. The executive room was modern with light colors…our kind of design!
Multiple pillows to choose from, daily fresh fruit, a bottle of wine and lovely cookies and chocolate for the kids. Of couse it wouldn’t be complete without a voucher for a free Mövenpick ice cream! My favorite flavor: tiramisu…
The differences are in the details. Our books were lying around in the room and after returning from a day in Istanbul we found two nice bookmarks in it. And every night we enjoyed some chocolate that was accompanied by a little ‘Good Night card’ on our pillows.
Or what about that time we went into a taxi in front of the hotel and the hotel provided us with a convenient Taxi Price List; a small leaflet with price indications to all major destinations in the city. No more suprises or argues with the driver about the fare, but just a care-free and relaxing taxi ride.
And of course the complimentary Turkish shoeshine by our friend Ismaël! After a day in rainy Istanbul our shoes could really use their own kind of wellness treatment!
The weather in Istanbul was unfortunately not that good during our stay. But after a cold and rainy day it was a pleasure to visit the wellness center in the hotel! Entering the changing rooms we found big towels, bathrobes, babouches, bottles of cold water and fresh apples. A big hot tub, a good swimming pool and of course a sauna and a steam cabin made us relax after a busy day strolling the city. And if you needed to de-stress even more, there were Thai ladies for a real Thai massage. We enjoyed it!
In the evening the Skyline Club Lounge on the 20th floor offers complimentary beverages and snacks. What a treat…. Here you can also enjoy the city’s night view: skyscrapers that are shaping the modern urban expansion of Istanbul. This place gave us that real metropolitan feeling!
Absolutely! Of course you will see many business travelers, but it’s a great hotel for families as well. We had 2 adjacent rooms with connecting doors so the kids could jump on our beds every morning to wake us up (or was it the other way around??). They loved the breakfast buffet, the ice creams, the pool, the fantastic view from the rooftop terrace and of course their own welcome gift: cookies and chocolate!
How to get to the hotel?
The hotel is situated 5 metro stops away from Taksim square. More and more people fly into the new Sabiha Göcken airport (in the Asian part of the city). From this airport, it’s quite convenient to take the Havatas shuttle bus to Taksim square (get off at Levent). Depending on traffic it will take you between 50 and 90 minutes to get to Taksim. And mind you, traffic can be a serious problem in Istanbul!
How to get to the old city?
Although situated amidst gleaming skyscrapers of the business district, the hotel area offers quick access to the old part of the city (the Historic Pensinsula) by metro.
Public transport in Istanbul is all about tokens (called Jeton). For every trip you buy one token. Getting tokens is easy. Just find the Token (Jeton) machines, throw in some coins and off you go. The only thing is that you always have to buy new tokens when you transfer to another line.
When traveling with a family a taxi might be cheaper then buying single tokens.
The nearest metro station is 4.Levent (it’s actually situated almost right under the hotel!). There are clear signs to get to Taksim….
Taksim square is the starting point for the long shopping street called Istiklal Caddesi. For those who don’t like shopping, just get off at the next station: Sishane. From there it’s a short walk to the famous Galata Tower. The area around Galata offers nice shops, bars and restaurants. Make sure to take your time to enjoy Turkish food and drinks!
More about places to visit in Istanbul in another post on this blog. But I can already reveal that the area around the Galata bridge was my most favorite part of the city. The great thing here are the fishermen, the small fish market at Karaköy, views of the old city and the diversity of people on and around the bridge….
The future of Mövenpick in Istanbul
Hotel Mövenpick Istanbul celebrated their 11th anniversary during our stay. In that time it has become a leading business hotel but has never forget to also cater for the leisure travelers. It offers all you expect from Mövenpick and more: outstanding breakfast buffet, ice cream car in the lobby, excellent cuisine (with Italian Executive Chef Giovanni Terracciano) and the overall famous hospitality. We can only conclude that Swiss and Turkish delight merge perfectly together at Mövenpick Istanbul.
Istanbul is a popular destination. In the Summer of 2014 a new Mövenpick hotel in Istanbul will be opened called the Golden Horn, only 10 minute walk from the Old City’s historic highlights. I think it will be a popular one!
We have been invited by Mövenpick to stay in their Istanbul hotel in February 2014. More information about prices and availability can be found by clicking here. This post expresses our own opinions.
Text and photography by: Emiel van den Boomen