Edited by: Nick Ellis
& Keri Stooksbury
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Istanbul is a huge city with a rich history, culture, and beautiful architecture. Türkiye’s most populous city has long been on my radar as a place I’ve wanted to visit.
The motivation for my journey to the megacity came from my desire to fly Singapore Airlines’ First Class Suites from Frankfurt (FRA) to New York (JFK). Once I booked an award seat for this luxurious first-class experience, I pivoted towards looking for award space to Europe next.
Since I needed to get to Europe for my sumptuous return flight on Singapore Airlines, I decided to focus on locating award space on Turkish Airlines from the U.S. to Istanbul. Since I’ve always wanted to visit Istanbul, and I’ve always wanted to try out the new business class seats on Turkish Airlines, I made it my goal to fly to Türkiye in style and use award miles to offset the flight cost.
I found an award seat on Turkish Airlines’ Boeing 787-9 equipped with its newest business class product from Chicago (ORD) to Istanbul (IST) — and then it was time to choose where to stay in the city on 2 continents.
Long story short, I picked the Grand Hyatt Istanbul as my hotel for 2 nights, and in this review, I’ll take you on a tour of the hotel’s location, rooms, restaurants, and amenities. I’ll also explain how you can book it using World of Hyatt points.
The Grand Hyatt Istanbul is located in Şişli, an upscale neighborhood situated close to shops, restaurants, and the waterfront, and just a short, 5-minute walk from Istanbul’s well-known Taksim Square. Since I wanted to explore as much as I could on foot, the location was ideal.
My Turkish Airlines flight arrived at Istanbul Airport (IST), which is about 26 miles from the hotel, and I grabbed an Uber to the property. I paid $25 for the Uber ride (including tip) using Uber Cash credits from both The Platinum Card® from American Express and the American Express® Gold Card, and the drive took about 30 minutes without any traffic.
When I was deciding where to stay in Istanbul, I knew there were 2 specific properties that caught my eye. As a top-tier World of Hyatt Globalist member, I was deciding between 2 formidable Hyatt options in the city: the Category 5 Park Hyatt Istanbul – Maçka Palas and the Category 3 Grand Hyatt Istanbul — both of which are posh in their own right and have stellar guest reviews.
Ultimately, I opted for the lower category Grand Hyatt Istanbul, as its location was slightly better (the hotels are relatively close to each other) for my Istanbul plans and an award night would only cost me 12,000 points per night, for a total of 24,000 points for my 2-night stay. Plus, I had every intention of using an expiring suite upgrade award and the hotel had standard suite availability at the time of booking (more on this later!), so I could nab a better room.
While I could have saved my points for a higher-value redemption as the nightly rates were a reasonable $179, I wanted to keep my out-of-pocket cost to a minimum, so I opted to use points. Had I paid cash for the nightly rates, the total for my 2-night stay would have been $392.10, including taxes (no resort fees).
Since I paid 12,000 Hyatt points per night, I got a value of 1.49 cents per point with my redemption, which is a smidge less than our 1.5-cent-per-point valuation of World of Hyatt points. Even though this wasn’t an incredible deal, I was glad I could use points instead of cashing in my Hyatt Category 1-4 free night certificate for less value than I’m used to.
Hot Tip: If you decided to use cash rather than points, consider paying for your stay using The World of Hyatt Credit Card. You could get up to 9x points on Hyatt stays booked with your card (4 Bonus Points per $1 spent at Hyatt hotels and 5 Base Points per $1 from Hyatt as a World of Hyatt member) and access to a plethora of other benefits, including a Category 1-4 free night certificate per card year, a second free night certificate when you spend $15,000 on the card every year, Hyatt Discoverist status, 5 automatic elite night credits each year, and more.
When my Uber pulled up to the hotel, the valet attendant opened the door for me and gave me a nice welcome.
Upon entering through the hotel doors, I was surprised that the first thing I saw was a metal detector. I didn’t expect this, but I quickly learned that they were there for the safety of all guests.
Once I got past the metal detector, I noticed that the entrance and the area around the check-in desk had a warm, charming feeling. There was absolutely no one at the check-in desk or any guests waiting to be attended to when I arrived.
Because it was just after 8 a.m., I wasn’t sure if my room would be available. The friendly front desk agent greeted me politely and once I provided my name, he checked to see if a room was already assigned to me, while simultaneously thanking me for my loyalty to Hyatt. To my joyful surprise, a room was ready and I was excited to have access to a bed and shower, rather than having to wait until later in the day.
The front desk agent provided me with a set of hotel keys and supplied information on where breakfast and the Grand Club Lounge were located, reminding me that both were complimentary thanks to being a World of Hyatt Globalist member.
Hot Tip: Check out our guide on earning Globalist status with World of Hyatt card spend!
I always appreciate a city hotel that has its fair share of onsite amenities and the Grand Hyatt Istanbul has a few noteworthy ones worth mentioning.
The Grand Hyatt Istanbul’s fitness center, situated on the second floor, offers a broad range of workout equipment and is open 24 hours a day for hotel guests.
Cardio equipment such as treadmills, exercise machines, and free weights with dumbbells are available for those who need to squeeze in a workout before or after work or sightseeing.
The Gaia Spa is located on the mezzanine floor, along with the fitness center.
Guests can book spa treatments like massages, facials, and authentic Turkish spa rituals like a Turkish Hammam.
Water bottles, towels, and lockers were available for spa guests.
Changing facilities contained restrooms, grooming stations, and full-length lockers.
While I didn’t take part in any spa treatments, I was given a tour of the spa and the space is definitely suitable for guests who seek a zen-like ambiance.
The aromatic sauna and steam rooms were located beside each other, in front of the relaxation area.
Those wanting a Turkish bath can enter the furnace-heated steam chamber and relax in comfort.
The Spa is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Grand Hyatt Istanbul’s outdoor pool is a sanctuary in Istanbul’s bustling city center, though both it and the children’s pool are only open during the summer months (my visit was in January). In season, Gazebo, the poolside restaurant, serves lunch and cocktails.
The pool is open from May through September, 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. daily.
The Grand Hyatt Istanbul has 360 guestrooms and suites that feature views of the city, the garden, or the Bosporus. As I alluded to in the booking section, I initially reserved a standard King Bed room with points, but then I decided to apply an expiring Suite Upgrade Award (SUA) — one of the many perks of holding Globalist status — to my reservation.
Because of this, I was given an upgrade to a Grand Suite King with a partial view of the Bosporus, which is a 1-bedroom suite with a king bed, living room, dining room, walk-in closet, and additional guest bathroom. It’s twice as large as a standard King room.
The nightly rate for this suite was $388 for my dates, making my redemption value worth 3.2 cents per point — more than double the nightly rate for the standard room I booked with points.
I walked down the corridor towards my room and sensed I’d be in a corner unit, given the long walk from the elevators.
My corner room on the seventh floor was conveniently just 1 floor below the club lounge.
My first impression upon entering my room was that the guestrooms at this hotel were in dire need of an update. While the room was impeccably clean, the beige carpets and cream-colored style made the room feel drab and, naturally, outdated.
The room’s lack of attractive design was compensated for by its ample size. The living area was spacious, with room to spare even when furnished with a large sectional sofa, a leather chair, a flatscreen TV, and a dining table with 4 chairs.
The desk — also L-shaped — was where I worked for several hours during the evening hours.
On the desk were several power outlets as well as a universal plug adapter, a Nespresso machine, and water bottles.
The bedroom was quite spacious with a king bed, 2 nightstands, a big chaise lounge, and a walk-in closet with shelves, hooks, and a safe.
The King bed was very comfortable the sheets smelled fresh.
The chaise lounge was a secondary rest area but I only used it to fold my clothes and pack my items.
On either side of the king-sized bed, there was a nightstand with a lamp and electronic outlets for charging devices.
Bed-mounted lights were convenient for bedtime reading.
The TV inside the bedroom sat on top of an entertainment unit with a cabinet.
Inside the cabinet in the TV unit was a minibar with an assortment of drinks and snacks.
The suite had a roomy walk-in closet containing bath robes, slippers, extra pillows, an ironing board, and a place to hang clothes.
I kept my passport and any other valuable belongings in the safe inside the walk-in closet.
Due to my early morning arrival, there was no Globalist amenity waiting for me in the room, but when I returned later in the afternoon, I was pleasantly surprised to find a bowl of fruit, a bottle of wine, chocolate truffles and a note from the hotel manager waiting for me.
The single-vanity sink bathroom was well-appointed and generously sized.
The bathtub was equipped for a relaxing bubble bath after a long day of walking the streets of Istanbul. Sadly, I didn’t find the time to use mine.
While the shower itself seemed oddly small, the rainfall shower head’s water pressure was heavenly. The pressure was perhaps the strongest I’ve ever encountered in a hotel, and it was very appreciated.
There were single-use plastic bottle toiletries of shampoo, conditioner, and body wash by Aromatherapy Associates London.
Next to the toilet was a hand-held bidet wand and a telephone hanging from the wall (another sign pointing to the hotel being outdated).
Every day, housekeeping would restock my towels and bathroom toiletries, which was unneeded but still very appreciated.
Hot Tip: Looking for something other than a large hotel chain? Consider one of these charming boutique hotels in Istanbul instead!
34 is the Grand Hyatt Istanbul’s primary restaurant, located on the mezzanine level, with a spacious dining area and open kitchen offering breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
In this stylish Istanbul restaurant, guests can savor fresh, seasonally-inspired Turkish and Mediterranean dishes. Room service also comes from 34’s kitchen and it features an all day menu.
Each morning, I came here for the breakfast buffet and it was a treat, to say the least. The presentation and quality of food at the buffet was impressive — each morning I felt like I was indulging in a lavish feast.
As someone who craves variety when eating, each morning I had an assortment of options to enjoy at the breakfast buffet, including made-to-order omelets and baked goods.
My daughters would have definitely devoured the pancakes and waffles.
You could choose from a plethora of cheeses, vegetables, dips (hummus, anyone?), and local dishes.
If you’re looking for vegan options or simply watching what you eat, there was no shortage of options for the health-conscious guest.
If you like olives as much as I do, you might encounter a feeling of euphoria after seeing all the olive options at your disposal.
You could also enjoy a shot of ginger and turmeric or other immune-boosting fuel at your morning breakfast.
And of course, if you need to be caffeinated before starting your day, you could order a Turkish coffee and the wait staff will prepare it for you.
Alternatively, you could prepare your own coffee beverage at your leisure.
If you don’t have top-tier Globalist status with Hyatt and won’t receive complimentary breakfast, you can simply opt to order from the à la carte menu or choose the buffet option. The breakfast buffet cost ₺500 per person (~$26).
Breakfast at 34 is served Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. and on Saturday and Sunday from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. The restaurant also serves a business lunch on weekdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and the hours for normal lunch and dinner are 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.
Hot Tip: If you’re a World of Hyatt Globalist member, the hostess will ask you for your room number before you’re seated for breakfast. There will be no bill at the end of your meal, but feel free to tip the wait staff for their service.
The Grand Club Lounge on the eighth level was really spectacular.
There were multiple rooms and plenty of seating to accommodate a large number of people (though it never felt crowded).
My initial impression was shock thanks to the number of offerings presented to guests. With the vast amount of variety of foods introduced to Grand Club Lounge guests, I’d venture to say that even discriminating palates would not only find something fulfilling to eat, but would likely have a full stomach.
During the nighttime hours, there was a rotating menu of hot and cold items, including sushi, sandwiches, soups, salads, fried rice, chicken skewers, and more.
As well as complimentary alcoholic beverages …
… and refreshments.
Burak and Bulut, the 2 staffers manning the lounge both evenings I visited, were wonderfully attentive and proactive in offering me beverages and helping take my dirty plates away. Even when I got up for a minute to get a second plate of sushi rolls, my dirty plates were gone when I returned to my table.
I enjoyed the hot foods, including fried rice and chicken skewers. While I didn’t try the soup, the lounge had spicy red lentil soup which also looked rather appetizing.
Besides sushi rolls, I enjoyed hot dishes, such as these Asian noodles, which were delicious.
And finally, I grabbed a plate of delectable Turkish desserts on both nights to complete my meals.
The only sour point of the Grand Club Lounge was that during my check-in, the agent incorrectly told me the lounge was open during lunch and dinner hours. However, the Grand Club Lounge is only open in the evening from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., daily, despite what the sign on the door states.
Otherwise, I was thoroughly impressed with the variety and quality of the food and drinks inside the lounge.
The Mezzanine Lounge & Bar serves a range of local and international cocktails and beverages, Italian coffees, and homemade pastries. You can also order light bites while you sip on your drink, such as sweet chili chicken fingers and mini sliders.
The Mezzanine Lounge & Bar is located in front of 34 on the mezzanine level and is open from 6 p.m. to 12 a.m.
After a day of sightseeing, I was too tired to make it to The Library Bar for a cocktail. But if a speakeasy vibe is what you’re in the mood for, The Library Bar is open daily from 6 p.m. to 1:59 a.m.
Gazebo provides tranquil poolside eating and drinking. After a swim, guests can lie on their loungers and enjoy drinks, pizzas, gelato, and more. The Gazebo is open during the sunny summer months and operates during normal pool hours.
The hotel provided outstanding service. Everyone, from the valet attendants to the housekeepers and restaurant staff, welcomed me and asked if I needed anything each time I encountered them. Particularly during breakfast at 34 and my 2 visits to the Grand Club Lounge, the staff was exceptional.
The Grand Hyatt Istanbul impressed me with its central location, friendly service, and spacious rooms. Indeed, some modernization of the hotel is long overdue as the rooms and common areas look worn and dated. However, the suite upgrade and Globalist privileges make this hotel a bargain at 12,000 points per night.
Next time, I may want to check out the nearby Park Hyatt Istanbul – Maçka Palas to compare the 2 properties. Altogether, I was really pleased with my stay and wouldn’t hesitate to stay here again when I return to the bustling city of Istanbul.
The information regarding The World of Hyatt Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The Grand Hyatt Istanbul opened in 1993 and was the very first Hyatt hotel in Türkiye.
The Grand Hyatt Istanbul is situated in the affluent Şişli district, which borders Istanbul’s well-known Taksim Square and is close to several eateries, stores, and historical landmarks.
The Grand Hyatt Istanbul does not charge a resort fee to hotel guests.
The nightly rates at the Grand Hyatt Istanbul vary depending on your dates. However, the hotel is a Category 3 hotel in the World of Hyatt program and charges 12,000 points per night for a standard room award on nights with standard availability.
Yes, the hotel has an outdoor pool that only operates during the summer months from May through September.
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