Accommodations in Turkey range from international luxury chain hotels to charming inns in historic Ottoman mansions and kervansarays to comfortable but basic family-run pansiyons (guesthouses). It's advisable to plan ahead if you'll be traveling in the peak season (April–October), when resort hotels are often booked by tour companies, or during the two main religious holidays, Şeker Bayramı (at the end of the Ramadan fasting period) and Kurban Bayramı .
Note that reservations should be confirmed more than once, particularly at hotels in popular destinations. Phone reservations are not always honored, so it's a good idea to email the hotel and get written confirmation of your reservation, as well as to confirm again before you arrive.
Our local writers vet every hotel to recommend the best overnights in each price category, from budget to luxury. Unless otherwise specified, you can expect private bath, phone, and TV in your room. We specify whether or not meals are included in each review. Prices in the reviews are the lowest cost of a standard double room in high season. In the low season you should be able to negotiate discounts of at least 20% off the rack rate; it never hurts to try.
Hotels are officially classified in seven categories in Turkey: one to five stars, "special class," and "boutique hotel." ("Special class" is for hotels that are unique but don’t meet certain requirements of being a "boutique hotel.") There are also many pansiyons—guesthouses—outside this system. The star classifications can be misleading, however, as they're based on the number of facilities rather than the quality of the service and interior design, and the lack of a restaurant or lounge automatically relegates the establishment to the bottom of the ratings. In practice, a lower-grade hotel may actually be far more charming and comfortable than one with a higher rating.
Though luxury accommodations can be found in many places in Turkey, the standard Turkish hotel room, which you will encounter throughout the country, has bare walls, low wood-frame beds (usually twin beds, often pushed together in lieu of a double bed), and industrial carpeting or kilims on the floor. Less expensive properties will probably have plumbing and furnishings that leave something to be desired.
These are some Turkish words that will come in handy when you're making reservations: "air-conditioning" is klima, "private bath" is banyo, "tub" is banyo küveti, "shower" is duş, "double bed" is iki kişilik yatak, and "twin beds" is iki tane tek kişilik yataklar ("separate" is ayrı; "pushed together" is beraber). There is no Turkish word for "queen bed" but they will probably use the English (a direct translation is kraliçe yatağı). The same is true for "king bed" (they will probably use the English, though a direct translation is kral yatağı). Noise-sensitive travelers should ask for a quiet room, sessiz bir oda.
Wherever you stay, keep the following money-saving tips in mind:
High-end chains catering to businesspeople are often busy only on weekdays and drop rates dramatically on weekends to fill up rooms. Ask when rates go down.
Watch out for hidden costs, including resort fees, energy surcharges, and "convenience" fees for such extras as unlimited local phone service you won't use and a free newspaper written in a language you can't read.
Always verify whether local hotel taxes are or are not included in the rates you are quoted, so that you'll know the real price of your stay. In some places, taxes can add 20% or more to your bill.
If you're trying to book a stay right before or after Turkey's high season (April–October), you might save considerably by changing your dates by a week or two. Many properties charge peak-season rates for your entire stay, even if your travel dates straddle peak and nonpeak seasons.
Outside the cities and resort areas, these small, family-run establishments are generally the most common option. They range from charming old homes decorated with antiques to tiny, utilitarian rooms done in basic modern style. As a rule, they are inexpensive and scrupulously clean. Private baths are common, though they are rudimentary—stall showers, toilets with sensitive plumbing. A simple breakfast is typically included. A stay in a pansiyon is a comfortable money-saver, especially if you plan on spending most of your time out and about.