Turkish baths and terrace views: where to stay on a budget in Istanbul

Cheers Lighthouse, Istanbul
The incredible view from Cheers Lighthouse's restaurant/bar means you don't have to stress too much about getting one of the south-facing rooms

Although property prices have rocketed in recent years in booming Istanbul, it’s still possible to get bargain accommodation right in the heart of this most beguiling of cities. Whether you are here to goggle at glittering Byzantine mosaics, gaze in awe at the cascading domes of Ottoman mosques, nip across the Bosphorus to Asia on a cheap-as-chips commuter ferry or grab a beer in hip rooftop bar, there’ll be somewhere to stay in your price range. The hotels listed below are located in either the buzzing entertainment quarter of Beyoğlu or the backstreets of historic Sultanahmet, and each is well run, welcoming and comfortable.

Cheers Lighthouse

Istanbul, Turkey

8 Telegraph expert rating

This gem of a hostel, situated in the very heart of the old city, blends faux-Ottoman style with plenty of bright, neo-bohemian touches such as pastel-hued planters to create a friendly vibe. It's possible to be very private here, but one of the main attractions is the communal atmosphere fostered by owners Tony and Onur. They organise barbecue nights at the accommodation, dart competitions, pub crawls, walking tours and anything else that occurs to them at the time. The wonderful veranda of the hostel’s Soul Kitchen restaurant/bar (which serves excellent kebabs and mezze) means you don't have to stress too much about getting one of the south-facing rooms boasting a sea view.
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From £ 24
per night
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Hotel Sultania

Istanbul, Turkey

8 Telegraph expert rating

The Sultania is one of the best hotels in Sirkeci, a characterful district nuzzling-up to the historic core of Istanbul’s old city. The hotel’s façade, all wood-trimmed windows and projecting balconies, reflects the traditional wooden houses of old Istanbul, while rooms have more than a touch of Ottoman palace opulence about them. Bathrooms are gleaming and spotless, with quality toiletries. Take the lift down to the huge basement for the hotel’s fitness, spa and pool complex – the Turkish bath is beautifully laid-out, and there’s a steaming Finnish sauna as well. Service is excellent – charming English speaking staff soon learn each guest by name and are always at hand to help you negotiate everything from the tram and metro system to the best places to eat and drink
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From £ 75
per night
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Hotel Niles Istanbul

Istanbul, Turkey

8 Telegraph expert rating

A solid, no-nonsense, family-run hotel on the fringes of the tourist heartlands of the old city. Niles is the kind of place where experienced travellers go back time after time for its friendly atmosphere, good service, comfortable and value-for-money rooms. The extensive lobby makes for a nice communal sitting area, especially as it has its own coffee shop based on a traditional Ottoman 'kahvehane', but most guests head up to the pot-plant festooned roof terrace to admire the sea views. Get back to the hotel between three and five in the afternoon, and there are free cakes and other snacks on offer as well. In common with most hotels on the historic peninsula, Standard rooms are on the compact side, but otherwise tick all the right boxes.
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From £ 52
per night
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Richmond Istanbul

Istanbul, Turkey

7 Telegraph expert rating

This elegantly restrained four-star hotel in a bustling area is a safe, good-value bet for visitors as interested in Istanbul's nightlife, culture and shopping as they are in historic sites. Helpful service, comfortable rooms and panoramic old city and Bosphorus views from the rooftop breakfast room make it a popular choice. Although part of the hotel has been converted from a fine 19th-century apartment block, the Richmond is not for those seeking distinctive period charm as the interior is decidedly modern. Rooms (all larger than average for Istanbul) are restrained, but a splash of interest comes from the abstract patterned carpet and black-and-white photographs of Istanbul scenes on the walls.
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From £ 75
per night
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Yasmak Sultan

Istanbul, Turkey

9 Telegraph expert rating

This five-storey hotel, ideally located on the fringes of the Sultanahmet district, is very traditional, with a neoclassical meets late-Ottoman façade and attractive entryway enlivened by potted plants on the narrow pavement outside. The major draw is the rooftop Olive Restaurant and bar, with expansive views north and east across the Golden Horn and Bosphorus. Décor in the rooms is homely, with laminate wood-effect floors, cream and gilt walls and furniture, damask curtains and traditional light fittings. The hotel's basement is given over to the well-designed Sultan Spa and Wellness Centre. The pool is big enough to get a few lengths in, the small gym is kitted out with the latest equipment, and the atmospheric spa and Turkish bath is ideal for a post-sightseeing relax.
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From £ 62
per night
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Side Hotel and Pension

Istanbul, Turkey

8 Telegraph expert rating

With a superb location within a few minutes' walk of the old city's top sights, this is understandably the budget travellers' accommodation of choice in central Istanbul. Side occupies two four-storey buildings in the same row, the one to the left of reception a hotel, the one to the right the pension – though the differences in both price and amenities are slight. Style-wise, the most engaging features of the hotel are the wide staircases, with wrought-iron and wood balustrades, and broad corridors liberally adorned with distinctive blue-on-white Iznik tiles. The rooftop breakfast room has expansive views of the old city and across the Sea of Marmara to the Princes’ Islands.
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From £ 44
per night
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Büyük Londra Hotel

Istanbul, Turkey

7 Telegraph expert rating

This idiosyncratic hotel was built in 1892 by an Italian architect and boasts a fine neoclassical façade, complete with carayatids, and the bar, reception area and hallways are all splendidly preserved late 19th-century time capsules. The hotel epitomises the 'Golden Age of Travel' – so much so that you might trip over the lighting and camera crew filming a soap or wedding here. For little more than a double room in one of the city's hostels you get comfortable enough accommodation in the heart of buzzing Beyoğlu – and bags of character to boot. Pay more and you get 19th-century charm and great views.
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From £ 46
per night
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