Orientbank Istanbul, Marriott Autograph Collection: Bottom Line Review


Istanbul is one of my favorite cities in the world and is blessed with a wealth of terrific food, culture, historical sites, scenic beauty and friendly people. There are plenty of good points options when staying in the city, but the portfolio of Marriott Bonvoy properties is particularly impressive. Last year, my wife and I did a short, four day stay in order to take advantage of Turkish Airlines’ free stopover option. I went back and forth through several Marriott hotels and finally decided on the Orientbank, due to a combination of terrific reviews, great location and a smaller, boutique-y feel.

It’s housed in a stunning 19th-century bank that looks like a cross between Harry Potter and The Continental Hotel from the John Wick films. In fact, the building was featured at the beginning of a James Bond movie, a fact that’s unfortunately drummed into every visitor by showing them a several minute clip of the film on a tablet as part of the check-in process. We were prepared to love this hotel, but found that it wasn’t our cup of Turkish coffee.

Orientbank Istanbul Bottom Line Review

The Orientbank’s design is impressive and the location is superb, but it’s not an ideal hotel conversion. The rooms are comically small, and it was difficult to move around with just two people inside – don’t even think about trying to come here with kids (the suites do look great, though). The bathrooms are arranged in a glassed-in corner of the room about two feet from the bed, and ours had an unpleasant smell from the lack of ventilation. Service was earnest and incredibly friendly, but suffered from numerous lapses, forgotten requests and missed details. Online reviews rave about this place, so perhaps it’s just us…but I’ll be staying somewhere else the next time I’m in Istanbul. One Thumb Up, One Thumb Down

  • Price: We booked using ~30,000 Marriott Bonvoy points/night. Cash prices were around US$330/night.
  • Value: When we were there, it was still locked into a lower points “band,” so the value was excellent at ~1.1 cents per point (we value the average redemption of Marriott Bonvoy points at 0.8 cents each). Now it seems to be pricing out at ~5k-10k more per night. Still, based on the high-ish cash prices, it’s normally a good award value.
  • Location: The Orientbank has a superb location in Sultanahmet, probably the most attraction-rich neighborhood in Istanbul. It’s a few hundred yards from the Grand Bazaar and a 15-20 minute walk up the hill to Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sofia and the Blue Mosque. The Galata Bridge to Beyoğlu is almost across the street, as well as several useful tram and ferry stops. I know some folks find Sultanahmet to be too touristy, but it’s loaded with sites. The Orientbank is well-positioned to reach many of them on foot.
  • Room: We booked a standard room with one king and were proactively upgraded to a ~200sq ft Superior King Room with a city and Bosporus view. I’d seen mentions of the small rooms in reviews and written it off to folks not being used to smaller, big city hotels. But, holy moly, this room was tiny. The “mini-bar” and coffee service took up the only table in the room and we had to put our suitcases on the only two chairs. There was just enough space to walk between the glass-walled bathroom and the bed…but just. The bathroom had no air circulation, giving it a strong, unpleasant musty smell that we told the front desk about, unfortunately with no improvement. This space obviously wasn’t designed to be a bedroom and it felt like it. It wasn’t very comfortable.
  • Parking: Parking not available.
  • Resort/Destination Fee: None.
  • Internet: Good enough to do a zoom meeting in the lobby, but not as strong in our room.
  • Service: I really struggled with how exactly to rate the service here. On the one hand, there were some significant issues. Employees burst into our room without knocking (and while we were sleeping) not once, but twice. We had consistent issues getting in-room amenities restocked and a broken coffee maker replaced. Additional small requests were forgotten. That said, these folks are incredibly friendly and really want to help. The manager was very apologetic about the people barging into our room and paid for a private airport transfer for us as a gesture (without us saying anything about what had happened). Our last morning, before our Istanbul-Seattle flight, I broke about a quarter of one of my teeth of on an olive that I didn’t realize still had a pit in it. The manager and front desk person were incredible. They called around to several dentists and found one who was supposedly good, was open and who could fit me in within an hour or so. I walked up to the office, had my tooth repaired, then came back to find our airport transfer waiting with our bags already loaded…all less than two hours after I broke my tooth.
  • Turndown service: None.
  • Dining:
    • Lobby Lounge Restaurant: This “restaurant” also serves as the lobby and lounging area for guests. It’s where breakfast is served, as well as drinks and food throughout the day, with the servers sometimes doing double duty as front desk and/or guest services agents. Because of the lack of space within the hotel, it seemed to be where the staff did much of their administrative work during the day, sometimes making the larger, 4-person tables difficult to snag. Open daily from 7am-11pm.
    • Gregor By Badau Jazz Club: Small jazz bar/supper club that takes up the majority of the property’s basement. For what it is, it’s on the pricier side for Istanbul; both cocktails and entrées run around 500-600 lira, including tax and service fee (~$17-20). During shows, there is a 450 lira cover charge per person. Open for drinks and dinner Sun-Thurs from 6:00pm-11pm; Fri-Sat from 7:00pm-12:00am.
    • Kuppel Lounge: Seasonal lounge that’s essentially a few tables and chairs that are set up on the roof of the hotel, during times when weather permits (it was never available when we were there in March). It serves the same cocktail list as the lobby lounge and the jazz club, with the advantage of having terrific views over Istanbul and the Bosporus. Open for drinks (based on weather and demand) from 6pm-11pm daily.
  • Spa: None.
  • Fitness Room: None
  • Marriott Titanium Benefits: 
    • Room Upgrade: We booked a deluxe room with one king and were proactively upgraded to a (very small) Superior King Room with city and peek-a-boo Bosporus views. Without my mentioning it, the manager did apologize for not being able to gives us a suite upgrade, telling us that they were all booked during our stay.
    • Free Breakfast: Served in the lobby “restaurant.” There is a choice of three breakfast options: “Turkish,” “healthy,” and “American.” You can also order off of a list of a la carte items, but you get a choice of these as part of the breakfast options anyway, so there’s really no point in doing it. The Turkish breakfast, like in many Istanbul hotels, is a massive spread of meats, dips and breads that’s served on an array of differently-sized plates covering the entire table (and more). It’s impressive as it’s coming out, and offers a nice way to sample many dishes. There’s plenty of variety for 3-4 days, though I could see it getting repetitive on longer stays.
    • Club Lounge: None.
    • Late Checkout: We were offered a 2pm checkout.
    • Welcome Amenity: We were given a food and beverage certificate good for 50 Lira. While it wasn’t worth much, the cert was made to look like an antique bank note, which was a neat touch.
  • Would I stay again?  I don’t think so. The building is lovely, and the suites look nice, but the combination of minimal facilities and tiny rooms would make me look for other options in the city.


  • The historic building itself is striking
  • Great views from the roof and upper floors of the property
  • Terrific location in Sultanahmet, one of the more desirable areas for visitors
  • Voluminous breakfast
  • While service was uneven, there’s no doubt that they want to go above and beyond for guests


  • The size of the standard rooms is tough…especially for a property at this price point
  • There was no ventilation in our bathroom, leading to a consistent, musty smell
  • The lobby serves as the restaurant, bar, lone public lounging area and office space for employees…as such, space can be at a premium
  • Despite the service being very earnest, there were consistent lapses, some most likely due to translation issues
  • The rooftop “terrace” is beautiful, but outside of beverage service, you must be accompanied by a staff member for “safety” reasons, making it impractical to spend any time there

Image Gallery

Orientbank Istanbul Queen Superior City View Room

This is pretty much the entire room.

Coffee and water service. Unfortunately, our coffee maker was broken and we weren’t able to get it fixed.

View from the room

Lobby Lounge Restaurant

Common Areas

Gregor By Badau Jazz Club

50 lira food and beverage certificate

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I just stayed in December and had exactly that view from my room so we may have had the same one. I loved it but didn’t have any of the glitches you did. Lovely staff, wonderful breakfast, and great location as a first timer. I enjoyed the room and have had plenty of smaller rooms when in New York. The bellman noticed I had a tripod with me and he asked if I’d like to be let up on the roof to take photos – a very kind gesture and great attention to detail.


Near the Spice Bazaar (Egyptian Bazaar) not the Grand Bazaar. Service sounds a lot like Turkey. For the price, there are definitely better places to say. For the points, not a lot are in the city center, Sultanahmet, so that’s a winner. Maybe the other Marriott is better, but both are better than the far-away Hyatt locations.


Any feedback on the Park Hyatt or St Regis?


My spouse and I stayed at the Conrad, which is even farther than the Park Hyatt. We loved the location. There’s a great small Palestinian owned vegan Arab cafe, Yalla Falafel, a few blocks from the Conrad. We walked 20+ minutes to a ferry terminal to cross the Bosphorus (and made a ferry circle of sorts going to Sultanahmet and back). We also walked to visit a friend near Taksim Square, about 45 minutes from Conrad. We used a bus one day and it took 15 minutes to the bridge into Sultanahmet. Excellent large 3 room suite (with large balcony) upgrade at Conrad, great breakfast, excellent service.


At least you received breakfast for your status. We stayed at the nearby Burdock last March for 3 nights. The service was great, was there over my Birthday and they even made us a cake, but they wouldn’t honor breakfast as a platinum benefit and kept telling we it was because the hotel was located in the Middle East and was not required to hour the benefit.


I lived in Turkey in the 1980s. It is often as Tim says. There is a sincere desire to provide good service. But, it’s the execution that falls short. Gene’s observation below might be a function of tourist burnout (a la Venice). In ordinary situations, the Turks are very friendly and hospitality is a matter of personal honor.


Stayed 4 nights at the hotel. I agreed with everything you mentioned about the tiny room. I want to add that the glassdoor gap in the shower is so large that water keep going out. Draining was also an issue in our room. While the location is fantastic, a lot of the taxis won’t drive in due to how busy it was during the day. They made us get off and walk a few times. Bad experience overall.


Thanks for your helpful review. We are going to Istanbul in May and I had seriously considered this hotel, but I noted the comments about room size and also saw some photos on TripAdvisor that made me decide they really weren’t kidding about the rooms being small! We’re currently booked at a new Autograph Collection property nearby, the Orient Occident, which is managed by the same people. The rooms at the OO are quite a bit bigger. However, given the service lapses you experienced, I’m questioning my choice.


Recently stayed at a different chain in Istanbul. Was not happy with the service in Instanbul in general. I got a vibe that we were not really welcome.