Category Archives: Star Holiday Hotel

Istanbul Stopover

October 2017

Our flight home from LHR to KUL by Turkish Airlines is a stop-over flight (our choosing) instead of a transit. We’ve decided to take advantage of the stop-over lower fare compared to a transit, as it is sufficient to cover one night’s stay in a hotel. Our flight departed LHR at 11:30 and arrived IST at 17:20 local time, Istanbul being 2 hours ahead of London. We’ll be doing a 3 night free & easy, no itinerary stop-over in Istanbul.

Buyukcekmece, Turkey.

Flying over Buyukcekmece in preparation for landing into Ataturk, Istanbul.

For Muslim passengers who wish to perform their prayers, there is a prayer area behind baggage carousel 11 on the arrival level. There is no ablution facilities there, but you can do so at the washroom in-front of carousel 9 & 10. If you are on transit at Ataturk, there is a prayer hall on departure level between gates 218 & 219.

Atarturk arrival prayer room.

Prayer area on arrival level behind baggage carousel 11.

Prayer hall Ataturk departure level.

Prayer hall at Ataturk departure level between gates 218 & 219. It’s facing the apron, so you do get to see aircraft movement.

Although we’ve been to Istanbul several times, this will be our first taking the metro into town (otherwise it has been the airport shuttle). It’s a matter of following the sign on the floor & overhead signboard to the metro platform on the lower floor. There is lift to assist passengers with luggage, thus it’s step-free to the platform.

Metro at Ataturk.

Way to the metro platform at the airport is clearly marked on the floor and overhead signboards.

Our ‘Istanbulkart’ (Oyster equivalent) purchased 2 years ago, had sufficient balance for us to drop off at Sultanahmet stop where our hotel is. Unlike Oyster, Istanbulkart can be used up to 4 persons. The first will go thru the turnstile and pass the card to the person at the back to do the same. Of-course, 4 charges will be incurred for a 4 person use. Should you require to top-up your card, there are top-up machines close to the platform.


Istanbul’s version of the Oyster card.

Those intending to proceed to Sultanahmet, Eminonu or right to Kabatas or in between, you’ll need to change to Tram service at Aksary. Although there is another interchange at Zeytinburnu to do so, people who we asked (non-english speaking) gestured ‘no-no’, but to get off at Aksary. One person even wrote down ‘Aksary’. No idea why that’s so. Thereafter, you’ve walk over to the Tram stop at Yusufpasa.

Exiting Aksary station is step free, but one needs to cross a very busy & wide main road over to Yusufpasa. There is an underground walkway but the stairs down and then up again is taxing. We GUARANTEE those with luggage and the not-so-young will be breathless. Once across the main road, it’s a further +/- 150m to Yusufpasa tram stop. We wonder whether a transfer at Zeytinburnu, would be step free and be friendly to disabled?

Istanbul train map.

Useful metro/tram map of Istanbul.

Trams runs frequently and you should not have to wait long for one. By the time we reached Sultanahmet stop, it was already night. We will be putting up at Star Holiday Hotel, a short walking distance from the stop. This is our 3rd time staying here and although the room is a little smallish, it’s proximity to attractions in Sultanahmet area makes choosing this hotel a no-brainier. It’s literally a 3 minutes walk to the Blue Mosque and 2 minutes, to Hagia Sophia. We’ve reviewed the hotel here. Nearby attractions or rather all attractions in Sultanahmet area, will be covered in future post.

Star Holiday Hotel, Sultanahmet, Istanbul.

Our favorite hotel, Star Holiday Hotel.

Sultanahmet (Blue) Mosque.

A beautiful sight of the Sultanahmet Mosque aka ‘The Blue Mosque’ seen from our room window.

Star Holiday Hotel, Sultanahmet

Day 20 – Star Holiday Hotel, Istanbul, Turkey

April 2015

Star Holiday Hotel is located in Sultanahmet and we have stayed there once. The hotel is small with 20+ rooms. The room is rather small and opening your luggage makes it difficult to walk around. The bed is comfortable and the bathroom is standard size. Fully renovated about 1½ years ago, it now has a lift. The breakfast terrace is on the roof top and you get a nice view of the Bosphorus Straits as well as The Blue Mosque and the Hippodrome. There is a restaurant on the ground floor but it does not belong to the hotel.

Star Holiday Hotel, Sultanahmet

Star Holiday Hotel, Sultanahmet. The famous (1960’s) Pudding Shop is just beside.

Star Holiday Hotel, Sultanahmet, Istanbul

Star Holiday Hotel frontage. From the entrance you can see the Blue Mosque and the Hippodrome.

Star Holiday Hotel, Sultanahmet, Istanbul

The lobby on 1st floor.

Star Holiday Hotel, Sultanahmet, Istanbul,

The double room on 2nd floor. Nice turquoise color scheme.

Star Holiday Hotel, Sultanahmet, Istanbul

Bosphorus Straits from the rooftop breakfast terrace.

Star Holiday Hotel, Sultanahmet, Istanbul

Blue Mosque.

Star Holiday Hotel, Sultanahmet, Istanbul

The Hippodrome.

Star Holiday Hotel, Sultanahmet, Istanbul

The tram lines in-front of Star Holiday Hotel. At the background is Sultanahmet tram stop.

The tram line is just in-front of the hotel and it is about a minute’s walk to the Sultanahmet tram stop. So coming by tram is convenient as well as getting around to other parts of Istanbul. But be informed, because of the tram line, no private nor commercial vehicle can stop in-front of the hotel. You need to drop-off a little further if you come by taxi.

But for it proximity to Istanbul’s attractions, it beat all other hotels hands down. It’s about a minute’s walk to Sultanahmet Park, two-three minutes to the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Hippodrome and Basilica Cistern. Four-five minutes to Arasta Bazaar, Tokapi Palace and Gulhane Park. About the furthers, is the Grand Bazaar which took us a brisk seven minutes walk.

Star Holiday Hotel is well worth considering because of its proximity to visiting Sultanahmet’s tourist attractions barring the inconvenience of coming by taxi to the hotel and the smallish room.

Star Holiday Hotel, Sultanahmet, Istanbul

Sultanahment’s tourist attractions nearby Star Holiday Hotel.

Istanbul Tram Route.

Useful Istanbul tram route. Click to enlarge. Credit