Properties in Turkey are categorized using a system that rates them with stars or classes. Similar schemes are used in other countries, but they’re not consistent throughout Europe. The amenities and services guaranteed by a five-star hotel in Paris might not be on par with one rated five stars in Turkey. An older hotel may receive a fifth star because it offers a pool, but a new seaside construction without a water feature will receive just four. The elusive fifth star applies to properties that provide conference space, pools, nightclubs, and so on. It does not take remodeling nor the age of a property into consideration. Most bed-and-breakfasts and historical inns are not rated by stars but are listed as “special class” or “s-class” hotels. These are generally smaller than three- and four-star properties but offer a historical aspect or a certain charm and are worth booking.
Online booking agents such as Booking.com and Hostelworld.com are used extensively in Turkey. These websites contain all the information required for deciding on a lodging suited to you. Prices, amenities, photos, availability, rankings compared to nearby hotels, and reviews by guests are included. Tripadvisor.com should be used with caution, as anyone can post reviews and competing business owners have been known to sabotage competitors with fake reviews.
Booking through online agents is easy. You need to sign up and sign in, but this can eventually lead to further discounts if you book under the same account. Confirmed bookings don’t need to be printed; just bring the booking reference number for your host to locate you in the system.
It pays to compare rates over the phone or email against online prices, as savings can often be found. Double-check specials and complimentary services, as these often go astray on Web bookings. Rates for the properties listed in Moon Istanbul & the Turkish Coast are generally for standard doubles in peak season and include breakfast and taxes, unless otherwise stated. They should be used as a guide only for prices to know which hotels are aimed at budget, backpacker, and boutique travelers.
Inns and other properties rated three stars or below have a couple of issues: First, expect basic amenities; most provide air-conditioning, but other comforts such as bar fridges, big-screen TVs, satellite TV, and shower screens in bathrooms may be missing. Additional comforts like complimentary tea and coffee services may also be hard to come by. Overall, though, the savings are worth it. Another advantage of these budget lodgings is the hospitality, including sumptuous rustic meals often prepared on-site by the family. Boutique hotels have the same genuine service but with more luxury than most and are often a better deal than five-star lodgings that can be outdated and remotely located.
Turkish lira and euros are used interchangeably to price hotels. Always confirm that currency when booking to avoid confusion.
Fewer hotels are available in winter, as some business owners shut down for the season.
Excerpted from the Second Edition of Moon Istanbul & the Turkish Coast.