August 5, 2005
The bus from Istanbul via Saray stops in front of Atatürk Parki and the tea garden. Genç Hotel is opposite the bus stop, a three-storey building with blue tiles.
The owner, Mr Genç, speaks good German. He worked in Germany for many years and has now retired. We were here in April. The season had not started yet, and we were the only guests.
It is a large hotel with 20 rooms, all of them different sizes. There are also two family rooms. They consist of two separate rooms, four beds in one room and one (or more if you ask) collapsible beds in the other. All rooms have double glazing so that the call to prayers from the mosque is hardly audible.
Mr Genç showed us several rooms, and we chose a big one, 4x4m, with two twin beds, a table, chairs, and a wardrobe the usual hotel furnishings. The room had recently been painted. I liked the salmon-coloured walls and the new linoleum. The bathroom is tiled from the floor to the ceiling, and the seams in between the tiles were painted pink.
There were plenty of blankets in the cupboard, and we needed them, because nights are quite cold in spring. When we were settled in, Mr Genç brought a small portable television and a gas heater (evenings are chilly in April). Don't forget to ask if he can turn on the hot water, because the first night/morning, he had forgotten and the water was cold, I can assure you.
We paid TYL 30 (18€ or US$22), including breakfast. Breakfast was served in the breakfast room with a view of Atatürk Parki. We had Turkish bread, white cheese, olives, tomatoes and cucumber, honey and butter, and as much tea as we liked.
Room price in the high season (from late June to the middle of September) is slightly higher at TYL 35 (21€ or US$26). If you travel in the high season, you might find the hotel fully booked, as many Istanbul families spend all summer here. There are a few more hotels, but I would not count on them having places in summer.
Mr Genç's assistant asked us what we had eaten for dinner. But after one day, we realised that he meant what we were going to eat. This was his way of asking if he could prepare us a meal. On the second day, we understood, and he is an excellent cook. We had köfte (meatballs), french fries, and a tomato salad. Don't be surprised to find out that the french fries are COLD, because that's the way they are (often) served in Turkey.
From journal West of Istanbul: Edirne and Kiyiköy