Grand Hyatt Istanbul is located in Taksim, the heart of modern Istanbul. Families visiting this exotic city — the largest in Turkey, with a population of over 14 million people — will appreciate the spacious, well-appointed rooms and kid-friendly amenities, as they provide a welcome respite from the bustle of this historic city.
Here are highlights from our stay at the Grand Hyatt Istanbul with kids:
Throughout our Turkish family holiday — whether we were seeing the sites, tasting the delicious Mediterranean cuisine, or interacting with the locals at the famous Grand Bazaar — we all became aware of one thing: Turkish people love kids! The culture dotes on young people with genuine affection for all ages. The staff at the Grand Hyatt always greeted us with warmth and care. It set the tone for our entire stay in this magical city.
The Grand Hyatt Istanbul has 360 guest rooms; a variety of configurations support families, including connecting rooms and suites. We stayed in a Grand Suite and found it optimal with children.
Grand Suites have plenty of space for families, with a living room, a small kitchenette, a separate bedroom, a sofa bed, and a bathroom with a bathtub and shower. This room configuration allows for separation between kids and parents, so everyone doesn’t have to go to bed at the same time.
Grand Suites also have access to the Grand Lounge, with cocktail hour every day from 6p to 8p. Kids are more than welcome and the lounge offers a variety of snacks and beverages for all ages. This was helpful to bridge the hunger gap between late afternoon activities and dinner. The lounge has a nice view of the hotel pool and a welcoming staff.
All rooms include free WIFI for an unlimited number of devices.
Our favorite feature of the hotel was Restaurant 34, an open kitchen-style restaurant filled with light and beauty. The setting was lovely, but it was the food that kept us coming back — they offer a combination of Turkish and Mediterranean cuisine with menu choices for everyone. From breakfast to dinner, every meal was delicious and fresh.
The breakfast buffet offers everything imaginable: an omelet bar, pancakes, waffles, cereal, amazing fresh fruit and best of all … Turkish coffee!
Kids and their parents flock to the Grand Hyatt’s decadent dessert bar, filled with giant mounds of chewy Turkish nugget and jellies, dried fruits, nuts, tiramisu, apple crumble and much more.
There are no specific children’s programs or activities at the hotel. However, childcare is available upon request and kid-friendly activities are easily arranged through the concierge.
The outdoor pool is open during the summer season. We loved swimming between family sightseeing outings. The hotel does not have an indoor pool, but it has a modern fitness center and yoga studio where we played games during one of our rainy days.
The Grand Hyatt is near the square in Taksim, home to many parades and local celebrations. It’s a short walk downhill to the Bosphorous, trams, funicular and ferries. It is an easy tram ride away from the Old City, home to many of the main historic attractions.
> A travel visa is required to enter Turkey. It can be obtained in advance via the Internet, or at the airport before going through customs. I recommend getting the visa in advance, as the airport is busy and the visa line can be long.
> Taking a taxi from the airport to the Taksim area of the city takes about 40 minutes (traffic is heavy in Istanbul, virtually all the time) and costs approximately 65 TLY.
> Go early to see the sites! The tour buses arrive at 10a, and bus after bus unloads sightseers. The lines get longer and longer as the day goes on.
Koc Museum. This museum provides a history of transport, industry and communications in Turkey. It’s located on the shore of the historic Golden Horn. Tour old cars, planes, ships and dollhouses, all thoughtfully displayed.
Miniaturk. Also located on the shore of the Golden Horn, the 122 famous historical models in the park are done in 1/25 scale, and each station provides a short history of what each item represents.
Dolmabahce Palace. This awe-inspiring palace is a short walk from hotel, right on Bosphorus. The tour is just 45 minutes and packed with information. Check out the Chandelier made of 4.5 tons of English Crystal.
Boat ride. Cruises on the Bosphorus are available in various time blocks, however, we opted to take the local ferry to Asian side of Istanbul, and beautiful views of the city abound from the water.
Grand Bazaar. The ultimate Istanbul retail experience, with over 5,000 shops … be ready to bargain.
Basilica Cistern/Sunken Palace. Kids love the Medusa heads at the base of the columns.
Istanbul is a great choice for families who want an exotic yet child-friendly destination. The city is not only the heart of the country’s rich Byzantine heritage, but also the meeting point of two continents: Europe and Asia. Add it to the family travel bucket list!
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Best family hotels and things to do in Turkey with kids on Ciao Bambino
Editor’s Note: Kirsten received a media rate in order to review the Grand Hyatt Istanbul for Ciao Bambino. As always, our opinions are our own. Photos by Kirsten Gaddis.
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