Hotel Review: Hyatt Regency Istanbul
Published: August 2009
Accommodation is often one of the priciest parts of any trip and sometimes you don’t get what you paid for; you’re promised character and get shoddiness or pay for intimacy and end up with small and pokey! On the other hand, some properties are worth crossing the world for…
Istanbul has never been so popular and GARETH DAVIS samples one of the city’s signature properties…
HYATT REGENCY ISTANBUL
Competence is a virtue in any hotel whose business is business. That would be a fair summing up of the Hyatt Regency Istanbul. Opened in 1993, renovated in 2003 this fairly innocuous looking slab of a place in the city’s Taksim area ticks every box you could wish for on a business trip. On holiday? Mmmm I wouldn’t go so far. For anyone wanting to soak up the heady atmosphere of Europe’s most exotic city, I’d recommend elsewhere. Atmosphere and ambience are thin on the ground in this corporate environment.
All that may sound as if the Hyatt Regency did little for me but that’s not the case. On every level, this property delivered – with reservations. The rooms are spacious, decorated in neutral colours; there are huge comfy beds with duvets and all the amenities you need on a work trip. OK so the internet charges are hugely irritating, particularly in a country where internet access in hotels is widely available for free. Also the absence of an iron and ironing board in the room is always a downer
The spa area is massively popular with conference clientele, particularly the jet lag treatment. The treatment rooms are bigger than average, and the fitness centre is one of the most attractive I’ve seen, flooded with natural light.
The Regency Club is a gorgeous executive floor with its own lounge where breakfast is served along with a happy hour featuring eats and premium spirits. That’s no small thing in a city where the price of alcohol is going through the roof. At the hotel restaurant for example the wine list is awash with mediocre bottles – Oxford Landing Chardonnay, Jacobs Creek Shiraz – at ghastly prices; €60 and €68 respectively. I ought to point out that the Hyatt Regency is far from being the only venue guilty of this – and that the guilt rests squarely with the current government who are zealously taxing all liquor. How to drive the tourists away, huh? Your best option is the local stuff which comes in at €27 for a bottle of white or red.
Visiting in June I got to make the most of the outdoors. There’s a fantastic pool area and a lovely garden eatery called Spazio, which as the name suggests offers a predominantly Italian menu. It’s a little pricey but what do you expect at a 5* property; starters from €13, pastas & risottos from €8, and meat dishes from €19. The highlight for me was a morish spicy chicken and melon salad. Service however was haphazard. The last thing I want to see is my main coming towards me while I’m still picking at my starter.
All in all, this Hyatt Regency does exactly what it says on the tin. Oh, I ought to mention that the more than average selection of English language TV channels was much appreciated. If you’re planning a jaunt to Istanbul on a little business then this is the place for you. Otherwise you may want to sacrifice amenities in favour of a little more character.
Hotel Review: Hyatt Regency Istanbul
Gareth has been with TRAVEL CHANNEL since its launch in 1994. He has produced and presented on TRAVEL LIVE and THE TRAVEL BUG, produced ESSENTIAL... and reports on TRAVEL TODAY. He is a regular contributor to the website. In 2010 he produced the hit series THE HOLIDAY SHOW which he also co-presented with Ginny Buckley. Gareth’s passions are history, culture, food & drink.
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