Upon arriving in Istanbul after a week of exploring the southern Turquoise Coast of Turkey, we checked into the Holiday Inn Sisli. As with any major international city, there is an amazing selection of hotels to use points in Istanbul. After looking at the different properties that Hilton, Marriott, Club Carlson, and IHG offer, I decided to book 3 nights in the Holiday Inn Sisli and 2 nights at a Club Carlson Property to take advantage of the bonus award night.

The Holiday Inn Sisli is located in the Sisli neighborhood of Istanbul, and is regarded as one of the upper-class areas of the city.  The hotel building itself is mingled among apartments and shops, and compared to the numerous luxury hotels lining the city skyline, it has an unassuming appearance from the exterior. But looks can deceive.

Getting to the hotel was somewhat of a journey because we decided to take the metro and bus system. From Ataturk Airport, we took the metro to the Sirinevler stop, and then transferred onto the Metrobus, where we continued onto the Sisli stop. From there, we were only about 4 blocks away from the hotel.

The lobby is very welcoming and provides plenty of places to relax, read or get a snack from the bar. Check-in was very fast as there was no one else at the counter, and the hotel receptionist quickly pulled up my reservation. He noted that I did not make the reservation for two people, but that it would not be a problem, but that our room is not ready yet and that it will only be a 10-15 minute wait.

Since there was no mention of an upgrade availability, I decided to politely ask if it was at all possible to get a room upgrade. He responded that he would check, and never mentioned anything about it again and handed out the hotel keys. For having Platinum Status, I was offered a choice of a free drink at the hotel bar or 500 free IHG points. I took the points.

It turns out that we were upgraded to one of the business suites on the top floor. The hotel has 168 rooms—1 Presidential Suite, 2 Corner Suites, 2 Executive Suites, 2 Business Suites, 10 Executive Rooms, 21 Business Rooms, 129 Deluxe Rooms and 1 Disabled room. The suite we stayed in has a small living room and a bedroom and two full bathrooms! Although the second bath can be nice when in a rush, the space could have been much more efficiently used to make the living room larger. It felt a little cramped with all the furnishing, so much so that the balcony doors in the living room could not be opened without moving a chair.

The bed and linens were comfortable and the room was dead silent. We slept great every night we stayed here. There was also very little sound from the living room to the bedroom when the door was closed between them.

The main bathroom was very nice. It featured an overhead walk-in rain shower along with a tub.

A variety of hotel toiletries were provided, including a shaving kit, dental kit, and a loofa.

Our room was located on the backside of the building so both balconies could be enjoyed without much street noise. There was also a nice, but small view of the city.

The hotel has a nice, but small pool, and hamam and fitness center located on the 3rd floor below ground.

The hotel also has a roof top bar terrace as well as a 6th floor lounge that can be used as a meeting or rest area.

The hotel is located near many major tourist attractions in Istanbul, but the streets close to the hotel offer numerous cafes, shopping districts including Nisantas, and a metro station (1 stop away from Taksim) is less than a block away. Since breakfast was not included with our stay using points and was 20 Euros per person, we decided it would be worthwhile to walk down the street every morning to try a new café for baked goods and coffee. We ended up spending about $4 per person for breakfast and enjoyed exploring the different cafes around the area.

The Holiday Inn Sisli staff offered a decent amount of hospitality and feeling of safety. To enter the hotel, each person has to go through a security check/metal detector and there is always staff and security present in the lobby.

Overall, we had an excellent impression of our three-night stay at the Holiday Sisli and were well worth the points.

The reservation was 15,000 points per night for a standard room, so for three nights I used 45,000 points, which were earned from Chase’s Priorty Club 80,000 point bonus in March. The average rate for the business suite starts at $430 per night, making our three nights worth $1290. This means we’re getting 11.6 cents in redemption taking in account the room upgrade.

Even booking a standard room is great because a standard room starts at $300 per night.

About the author

Rand Shoaf

Introduced to traveling at a young age, Rand has since traveled to over 45 countries. Learning how to maximize credit card sign-up bonuses in college has allowed him to earn millions of travel miles and points. Using the same tips and tricks he writes about here has ultimately allowed him to explore the word for pennies on the dollar.