Vienna to Istanbul via Tokyo: Park Hyatt Istanbul

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Introduction
Brussels Airlines Check-in New York JFK
Brussels Airlines Business Class New York to Brussels
Brussels Airlines and SAS Business Class Lounges Brussels
Austrian Business Class Brussels to Vienna
Hotel Imperial Vienna
Austrian Senator Lounge Vienna
Austrian Business Class Vienna to Tokyo Narita
ANA Business Class Lounge Tokyo Narita
Turkish Business Class Tokyo Narita to Istanbul
Park Hyatt Istanbul
Turkish Business Class Lounge Istanbul
LOT Business Class Istanbul to Warsaw
Hotel Bristol Warsaw
LOT Business Class Lounge Warsaw
LOT Business Class Warsaw to Chicago


I arrived at the Park Hyatt via taxi shortly after 7PM, and my stay was immediately off to a good start when the bellman said “welcome to the Park Hyatt, Mr. Schlappig, may I assist you with your bags?” Of the hundreds of hotel stays I’ve made I can count on one hand the number of times I was addressed by name without even identifying myself.

He walked me towards the reception desk, which first required me to pass through a metal detector. The lobby was beautifully decorated, in a simplistic and intimate manner. The hotel has only 90 rooms, and all the facilities contributed to that boutique feeling.


Lobby


Lobby


Lobby


Lobby

At the front desk I was again immediately greeted by name and my check-in promptly processed. The agent explained to me all the benefits I’d receive as a Diamond member (4PM check-out, complimentary breakfast, free internet, and a room upgrade), as well as the benefits I’d get for booking through American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts (many of the same benefits plus a $100 hotel credit). My room rate was 200 Euros for the one night, so I thought that was a pretty great deal with the hotel credit, given that the alternative was spending 18,000 Gold Passport points per night.

The agent informed me that I had been upgraded to a Park Spa King room, which I was excited to hear. This hotel is famous for these rooms, and while they’re not suites, they’re actually more expensive than them if paying cash.


Rate difference

She escorted me up to my room on the 6th floor (the top floor of the hotel), room 610. The hallways were decorated beautifully as well, and the theme continued in the room.


Lobby elevators


Sixth floor hallway


Entrance to room

There was a foyer at the entrance, which led to the bathroom on the right and the desk and closet on the left.


Entryway

The closet was massive and desk spacious, and it even had international plugs built in, which is always appreciated abroad.


Closet


Entryway


Entryway and desk


Desk and chair with ottoman


International adapter

Past the desk was a chair with ottoman and the king bed, with a TV facing it.


Bed


Bed facing TV and rest of room

The room even had a small balcony overlooking the pool and surrounding buildings. The views aren’t that great, unfortunately, and the noise insulation isn’t especially good either, as I could hear music at night. It was nothing that would prevent me from sleeping, though it was noticeable nonetheless.


Balcony


View from balcony

On one table was a welcome gift consisting of a bottle of wine and note from the general manager, and on the other table was a plate of fruit and two sets of Turkish sweets, one on a plate and one in a box you can take with you.


Welcome gift


Welcome gift

The highlight of the room, though, was the bathroom, which took up probably half of the square footage of the room.

When you walk into the bathroom there are two sinks — one with faucet water and one with filtered water. That’s the first time I’ve ever seen that.


Sink(s)

To the right are the toilet and bidet, which have yet another sink.


Toilet and bidet


Sink

And then to the left is the Turkish bath consisting of a soaking tub, rainforest shower, and steam room.


View towards Turkish bath


Soaking tub


Soaking tub


Not sure what purpose exactly this serves?

I mean, how many people get a steam room in their hotel room? The controls were easy to use, and it took about 10 minutes to heat up.


Steam room


Steam room (off)


Steam room (on)

The soaking tub comes with all kinds of bath salts and scrubbers, and it faces a TV. There’s even a remote control to control the color of mood lighting you want.


Bathtub amenities


Lighting choices!

Then the shower has two heads, one that you can hold and one like a rainforest shower with excellent water pressure and temperature control.


Shower

The toiletries were all Blaise Mautin branded, one of my favorite hotel toiletry brands.

This was simply one of the most brilliant rooms I’ve been in. I’ve stayed in 2,000 square food suites at some really high end hotels, but this room was just perfect, and it’s not often I say that, since I tend to notice the little things. It was functional, beautifully decorated, unique, and all the little details were thought of.

Breakfast was served in the lobby restaurant from 6:30AM till 11AM, and there was something cozy about the place given that it only had a little over a dozen tables. After giving them my room number I was addressed by name at every interaction.

I ordered an iced coffee and an orange juice to drink, both of which were very good.

There was a cold buffet which was extensive though not over the top (which I expect at a smaller hotel, since they’re not catering to hundreds of people at a time). That being said everything tasted fresh and high quality.


Breakfast buffet


Breakfast buffet


Breakfast buffet

In addition to that there was a menu with cooked to order items, so I had the buttermilk pancakes.


Menu


Buttermilk pancakes

During breakfast the guest relations manager approached me and addressed me by name, gave me her business card, and asked how my stay was going. Classy touch that I’ve only experienced at a few hotels. And based on what I’ve heard from others that have stayed here, this is more or less the norm.

It’s worth noting that if you get complimentary breakfast you can also order a continental breakfast via room service until 2PM at no extra cost. Again, it’s something simple, yet many hotels aren’t as generous in this regard. I’ve been in that situation many times where I oversleep for breakfast due to jetlag or being out late, so it’s a nice option to have.

In terms of the hotel’s other facilities, they have a terrace with lap pool on the second floor. It was winter so there was nothing going on there, though it was a nice space.


Walkway to pool


Lap pool


View of hotel from pool

Then on the basement floor was the spa, which is also where the gym was located.

The gym had excellent equipment, though given that it was underground it lacked a view.


Gym


Gym


Gym

Since I had a $100 hotel credit to blow and sure as heck wasn’t hungry in the 18 hours I spent in the hotel, I decided to get a 60-minute massage.

The massage was one of the best I’ve had, though I found it a bit odd that the masseuse that provided the service seemed to be the only one working there. She checked me in, massaged me, and then checked me out too. I guess it’s not that surprising given that it’s the off season and occupancy was probably very low.

There was one discrepancy with the cost of the massage which I didn’t realize till check-out. I had checked the spa’s website before booking my treatment and it listed a price of 210TLR (~$130USD) for the hour-long massage. However when I signed the bill it said 300TLR. I didn’t mention anything because I figured I was just going crazy, memory was failing me, and I was doing the conversions wrong in my head.

When I got back to my room after the massage I double checked and realized I was in fact correct and that the price was listed as 210TLR on the website, so I brought that to the agent’s attention at check-out. After making a couple of calls she adjusted the price and apologized, explaining that the website doesn’t have their updated pricing. So after the American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts credit the massage cost me only $30USD, which is awesome. However, if their new price is 300TLR (which is ~$175) that just seems ridiculous for Istanbul, even for a luxury hotel.

At check-out I was once again addressed by name by the bellman, who wished me a pleasant journey.

I’ve stayed at hundreds and hundreds of hotels from Amans to Hampton Inns, and I have to say that this is probably the most all around “solid” hotel I’ve ever stayed at. The service was downright phenomenal, and the rooms incredible. And I got an amazing value on top of that. I’m convinced this is the place to stay in Istanbul, and I can’t wait to return. After my stay I was actually thinking of creating a little badge to add to reviews of lounges, hotels, and airline products that deserve a five star rating for being all around perfect, but haven’t moved forward with it yet. This hotel would definitely get one if I did!

How you can use points to stay at the Park Hyatt Istanbul

The Park Hyatt Istanbul is a category five property in the Gold Passport program, making it 18,00 points per night. If you want to redeem for a suite you can do so for 27,000 points per night, though in order to do that you need to stay at least three nights. It’s worth noting that the Spa King room I stayed in is actually more expensive than their standard suite if making a revenue booking, though it’s also the room you get upgraded (based on availability) if you’re a Diamond member or booking through Fine Hotels & Resorts or Virtuoso.

The Hyatt Credit Card gets you two free nights at any Hyatt property in the world after spending $1,000 on the card within three months. If you’re a Diamond member you even get two free nights in a suite. So while that’s a great sign-up bonus there are properties at which you can maximize that further than this property, given that category six hotels are more expensive.

Alternatively you could transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Hyatt Gold Passport at a 1:1 ratio, which is a great way to book this hotel, especially in the high season when rates are more expensive. The best cards through which to rack up Ultimate Rewards points include the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, Ink Bold® Business Charge Card, Ink Plus® Business Credit Card, and Chase Freedom® Card.

Alternatively if you’re looking to book a paid stay I highly recommend booking through American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts or Virtuoso. If you book through American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts you get the following benefits:

  • Noon check-in, subject to availability
  • Room upgrade, subject to availability
  • Guaranteed 4PM check-out
  • Daily breakfast for two people
  • $100 property credit to be used during your stay

If you book through Virtuoso you get the following benefits:

  • Room upgrade, subject to availability
  • Daily breakfast for two people
  • A lunch for up to two people once during your stay
  • Complimentary book about Istanbul
  • Welcome note

And if you’re on a paid stay you can also use a Diamond confirmed suite upgrade if you wanted to.


Non-Affiliate Product Disclaimer: The information for the Hyatt Credit Card has been collected independently by One Mile At A Time. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

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Comments

  1. The hotel is fantastic, of course. But don’t you feel it’s a bit “removed” from the rest of Istanbul in terms of its vibe? I don’t know…I don’t think it really feels like being immersed in that incredible city.

  2. The vibe of the PH Istanbul isn’t very Istanbul but it’s a great great part of town that feels very European… though if the goal of the trip is to visit historic Istanbul then I would elect to stay elsewhere. The breakfast was very solid. I got the menemen every morning and my wife loved the pain au chocolat.

  3. I found after staying right in the center of things for a few days when in Istanbul, it was a real treat to then move to the PH and relax in a quieter environment.
    It’s a great hotel and even as a Plat I got upgraded to the spa king.

  4. I can’t believe you call Istanbul one of your favorite cities, yet refer to the Turkish Delights as “Turkish sweets”. It’d be like going to Germany and calling the bratwurst a German hot dog.

  5. @ Michael–repeated acts of terrorism, including bombing of the US consulate a few years ago I believe

  6. “probably the most all around “solid” hotel I’ve ever stayed at”? Wow.

    I’m planning another trip to Istanbul soon and have been looking at the PH. Looks great, but I worry about the location–do you think you lose much by not staying on or near the water?

  7. @ Brad — I like the location because it’s quiet and there are lots of nice restaurants in the area. Taxis are cheap so I don’t think you’re missing out with the location.

    @ Robert — You sure do.

  8. So, my question is… did you use your free night certs to book the room? Or did you use points? Or did you revenue book? I am just wondering how Diamond status is handled with an award booking.
    I will be in Istanbul in July and am still in a dilemma over where to stay. I have considered the PH as well as the Grand Hyatt. My only issue with either of these is that they are not located in Old Town, which is where all of the major sites are located in the city. I know that taxis are relatively cheap, but how easy is it to get to Old Town?
    Thoughts?

  9. I think it is better to stay in the Sultanahmet area in a boutique hotel. This one is not ideally located for touring around is it? Can you walk to the main attractions?

    Istanbul is awesome!

  10. I am going in about 3 weeks to a 5 night 6 days stay in Istanbul. Decided to stay 3 nights close to the Sultanahmet in a boutique hotel (Sultania) and 2 nights at the PH (using my 2 nights certificade from the Chase Hyatt). Can’t wait for this trip!

  11. @ Susan — I made a revenue booking through American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts.

    The taxi ride to the Old Town takes about 15 minutes or so.

  12. @ Susan. Taxis are pretty cheap… The ride to the old town is like probably 12-15 lira if I remember correctly.. so like $10. Traffic can be a bear though so it can take anywhere from 15-30 minutes or more…. The PH is definitely not well suited for public transportation… It’s a fantastic hotel, but if it was my first visit to Istanbul I would pick one closer to the Old City. The Grand Hyatt is better positioned for public transport to the Old City (Funicular to the tram). One thing to be wary is that Istanbul taxiis are notorious for scamming tourists (I was scammed)… primarily the ones from major tourist sites. I never had any problems with the ones that the PH would arrange.

    FDW

  13. I prefer Beyoglu area. It is live at night and most of the bars/club are in that part of town. During the day it is a short ride using the funicular to SultanAhmed.

  14. @Sean
    There was a terrorist bombing at the US Embassy in Istanbul just a few weeks ago. Istanbul is not somewhere I envision myself going in the near future (due terrorism), although this hotel is tempting.

  15. The embassy is in Anakara, not Istanbul. The W is in a pretty good location too, not so far from the tram which takes 15 mins to the old city.

  16. The area surrounding the PH is the really posh Nişantaşı district of Istanbul. It’s like Rodeo drive in Beverly Hills, servers at restaurants were a bit snooty in this area. But Istanbul is such an amazing city, and being away from the Sultanhamet business is actually quite nice. Taksim and Beygolu are not far at all from the hotel. All are an easy cab or public transit ride away.

    Although I did not stay here, I made a mental note that this would be the hotel to stay at in Istanbul, whenever I come back.

  17. The unknown sink kinda looks like it could be for a traditional Turkish bath hamam experience in your spa room. Sit and soak wash yourself using the bowl given, wrap yourself up in your Turkish towel then go for a steam.
    was just there at PH, the surrounding area although hilly has lovely eateries and higher end shopping

  18. There are always some that want their accommodations to be a part of the cultural experience when visiting a foreign designation, while others elect for familiarity and comfort in shelter. If we didn’t all have different preferences, imagine how crowded or singular the options would be!

    Many of us reading Lucky’s blog are interested in accruing points within our hotel loyalty programs. While I used to prefer smaller, more “local” lodgings, business travel has helped me earn elite status with both Hyatt and Starwood, so now when I travel for pleasure I am fortunate enough to be able to book award stays. None of the Hyatt or Starwood properties in Istanbul seem to have much Turkish flavor, but I plan on getting enough of that from my intense schedule of sight-seeing and eating and do look forward to the perks of the lounge and a potential upgrade.

    “Authentic” isn’t always better, just ask all those who complain about the rock hard mattresses in China, but hey, that’s how the locals like it!

    And the unknown sink by the tub is a kurna that you fill with water and dip the hamam tası (metal bowl) into for splashing water onto yourself.

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