Istanbul Apartment Renting: Not Quite the Pits

We always try to find apartments to rent when we travel, for the value, space, and convenience compared to a hotel. Istanbul has a unfortunate dearth of apartments for rent for tourists, so our choices were limited.  We found an agency called Manzara Holiday Aparments, and despite our early legwork we only found one reasonably priced apartment open for the week we were there.

Kitchen sans microwave or toaster

Kitchen sans microwave or toaster

The St George apartment is downhill about 2 blocks from the Galata Tower, and is across the street from a hospital.  The building is very old with a lot of character including well worn and slick marble stairs and a faintly sewerish smell in the stairwell. The apartment is on the second floor (a treacherous proposition with luggage) and is simply furnished in a very small space. There are no bedside tables and only one wardrobe in one of the bedrooms. The curtains do not block out the streetlight just outside the window. There was no toaster or iron but the staff kindly brought these to us. The bathroom is nicely redecorated but the shower leaks and does not drain like anything resembling normal, there is no soap shelf in the shower, no countertop for bathroom items, and no hooks or towel racks.

To top it off, the apartment directly above us was being remodeled. No, that’s too kind. They were using jackhammers to rip out the drywall and concrete to the posts, for 10 hours a day. With a 2 year old child who needed naps, the construction workers were kind enough to stop for a mid day break, but would you rent this apartment at all in these circumstances?

Upstairs apartment gutting

Upstairs apartment gutting

The rental fee was reasonable relative to hotels, but other associated costs were quite high. The transport from the airport was twice the cost of a taxi. The staff kindly had arranged for a meal to be prepared for our arrival, but 3 little eggplants for 50 euros? The staff was generally helpful and attentive, but overall this experience was not ideal or a relaxing place of respite. With some more specific questions upfront, a different apartment and different plans for food and transportation, Manzara might be able to redeem itself in another experience. In retrospect, the advantages of having an apartment while traveling with a toddler far outweighs the risks of getting a dud like this.  There’s probably nothing we could have done to prevent the downsides, but we did our best to make the most of it and would still recommend renting rather than paying more and getting less in a hotel.


One response to “Istanbul Apartment Renting: Not Quite the Pits

  1. I could relate to your situation when we planned our week-long trip to DC. I looked at the apartment rental (which in my case had far more options than yours) and compared to the hotel stay. I found that for DC hotel option is cheaper than stayed at the apartment. So we opted for the hotel and it was a wonderful stay (eventhough I still prefer a bigger space in an apartment). I guess sometimes we just have to pick and choose and weight the options.

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