INTERIOR DESIGN + DECORATING + STYLE BY VIVIAN PANAGOS

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Thursday, December 11, 2014

Hotel Tour: Empress Zoe


Living Area with stone day beds, an antique Cappadocian fireplace and local Turkish textiles

I have so much to tell you, I could really bore you with it all - about how the tree was removed but left behind was so much damage it took days and a lot of effort to fix, and that I'm still piecing together Robert's new bedroom which I will share with you next week, and that I'm spending my days helping my sister with her new place and researching ideas and... never mind. I'm here today to share with you another hotel tour. It's been a while since I have posted a tour and if you like feel free to check out the archives too.

Located right in the heart of the tourist district in Istanbul is Empress Zoe, consisting of a number of townhouses that surround a peaceful courtyard. We arrived exhausted and carrying too much luggage with us so it was wonderful to check in and offered to have our luggage carried for us to our room up a tight winding staircase. Our townhouse was located just past the central courtyard and walking through the gardens it was easy to forget that we were located in the city.

 The entrance area with the winding staircase

 Clockwise: Villa Zoe courtyard suite bedroom // Entrance to private courtyard // Hamam style bathroom // Painting of Empress Zoe

The hotel is named after Empress Zoe (b 978 - d 1050) herself who was reputed to be a beautiful and well loved woman by the people of Constantinople. She ruled for many years with her husbands becoming emperors through marriage (there were three of them) and for a time she also jointly ruled with her sister. Her life story is documented in each hotel room which provides an interesting historical read. The hotel has been restored with care to preserve its past and there is an abundant use of local Turkish textiles and artwork throughout the spaces.
Rooftop terrace

Clockwise: The streets of Sultanahmet // Buffet breakfast // Blue Mosque // Resident cat at Empress Zoe

We stayed in the Villa Zoe courtyard suite which has a private courtyard, a living area with an antique Cappadocian fireplace and a hamam style bathroom made of marble! What worked really well for us is the separate kitchenette which we used to clean baby equipment and the private courtyard gave Robbie plenty of space to run around. The hotel is charming with resident cats accompanying you for breakfast and a small rooftop terrace with beautiful views over the river. I was most inspired by the textiles used in the hotel including hand-embroidered suzanis which were draped by the doorways and used as curtains.

Location
In the centre of Sultanahmet and all the major sites including the Blue Mosque and Topkaki palace which are only a short walk away. The hotel is near my personal favourite markets, the Arasta Bazaar. You will need to catch a taxi to visit the Grand Bazaar. There is a long street full of shops and restaurants right at the doorstep of the hotel which is handy as there is no room service available.

Who can stay here
The hotel caters for singles, couples and families. I don't recommend the hotel if mobility is an issue due to the winding staircase that you will need to walk up to access the rooms and courtyard.

Best bits
The service by the staff who were always happy to help us navigate the neighbourhood. And the breakfast! The buffet breakfast in the courtyard was an absolute favourite and to this day I still crave the large figs on offer.

Please note: I was not sponsored to write this review. Photographs taken by me and used with permission by the hotel. Photograph 1 & 3 credit: Empress Zoe.


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