Hotel Empress Zoe, owned by American sisters Christina and Ann, is a little oasis nestled on old Istanbul’s most vibrant cobblestone streets. The hotel, just five minutes from the Blue Mosque and Aya Sophia, has 26 rooms featuring authentic Turkish furnishings, folkloric art, and marble hammam-style bathrooms in a setting resonating that of a charming Byzantine fortress. The décor throughout packs tons of character from the front door to the bar and restaurant area, right through to the villas and suites that line a tranquil archeological garden backing onto the stone ruins of the 15th-century Isak Pasha Hammam. Rest in this enchanting courtyard, and you’ll forget you’re even in Istanbul.
The hotel also has a small rooftop terrace with views to the Marmara Sea and the minarets of the Sultanahmet area.
Access to the rooms are via a spiral staircase, so those with mobility problems may wish to talk to management about their needs before securing bookings.
Check their website for room styles, photos and pricing.