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Tipping in the hamam -Istanbul

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wigan
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Tipping in the hamam -Istanbul

Going to Istanbul soon and want to visit a hamam. What are the guidelines for tipping? Would you base it on a percentage of the total price - if so what? And do you just tip at the end when you pay? (Or maybe you pay when you first go in, so in that case do you just tip when leaving?) Have no idea re hamam etiquette so all idvice welcome.

Chicago
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1. Re: Tipping in the hamam -Istanbul

I've tipped when leaving the hamam. After changing back into my clothes, I tip a percentage of the fee to the woman who gave the scrub, washed my hair, etc.

HTH -

Houston, Texas
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2. Re: Tipping in the hamam -Istanbul

Hi Haroew

I don't think there are any real "standards" for tipping in Turkey, just suggestions.

I pay pretty much as I do at home in that case. For my hamam experience I also paid to the "scrubber" 10% of the fee + an additional $7TL because I was extremely pleased with the service. I understand that some hamams have a "tip box" that is distributed equally (I would hope) to all the women.

wigan
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3. Re: Tipping in the hamam -Istanbul

Thanks for advice. We go in a few weeks and I'm looking forward to this - a new experience!

Chicago
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4. Re: Tipping in the hamam -Istanbul

You'll love it! I hope you have a great time in Istanbul. It's a beautiful city with so much history, both recent and ancient. And fwiw, have dinner in Taksim if you get the chance. The food is so much better in that part of the city, imo. You'll know b/c many Turks eat in this neighborhood. Sultanahmet has a few good restaurants, but many are tourist restaurants, which often makes them expensive and considerably lower quality than other parts of the city. Some people love Sultanahmet restaurants, though!

Houston, Texas
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5. Re: Tipping in the hamam -Istanbul

Globe 2 - As you mention restaurants now, I am curious when was the last time you have been to Istanbul? I found many good places in Sultanhamet as well as Taksim area, and was hoping you could offer some current suggestions as things seem to change so quickly there.

Thank you.

Smk

Mount Dora, Florida
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for Istanbul
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6. Re: Tipping in the hamam -Istanbul

Sharon, you are so right about changes in restaurants. I cannot believe the changes that happen between our annual visits. I find an outstanding restaurant and the following year they have changed chefs and have a different menu and I am not happy with the product. I really pay attention to the date on all restaurant reviews for that reason.

Even some of the old standard restaurants have been disappointing at times. I remember that right after Hamdi was featured in an article in the UK some of our forum participants did not have great meals there. Happily when we were there in November it was up to standards.

I feel fairly confident with these highly recommended places like Hamdi and Ciya, but I would also like some very recent reviews on restaurants, particularly those in the area of Isitklal Street.

Surrey, UK
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7. Re: Tipping in the hamam -Istanbul

There is no doubt that most of the restaurants in Sultanahmet cater largely for tourists - as these are the people who generally eat out there in the evenings. Apart from the many hotels, the area is full of fairly modest homes and rather traditional people who do not frequent restaurants much. There are a few exceptions but not many.

Despite this however the standard of restaurants in the area has been on the up for the past few years - probably as the area has become more expensive for tourists to stay in and these tourists have higher standards than the backpackers and budget travelers who used to form the majority of the visitors.

There are still some restaurants serving very dull, only just adequate, bland tourist fare, others that are good but not exciting - and there are also some notable exceptions.

For me (and other people will have their own) these are Kathisma Albura, Mosaik, Rumeli, and Sarnic (as much for the atmosphere and situation as the food) - all of which I visited and enjoyed once more at the end of last year.

Many local people also travel in specifically to go to Balikci Sabahattin (which is an excellent fish restaurant - if you can fight off the cats!), and Giritli seems to also be getting a good following.

While we do not eat Indian food in Istanbul as so have never been there, Dubb Ethnic also has a lot of fans.

Mount Dora, Florida
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8. Re: Tipping in the hamam -Istanbul

Ironically, Dubb Ethnic was one of those restaurants to which I was referring. I have loved this restaurant since it opened. In November of 2011 it was the place where we ate our first meal. The menu had changed. There were two different chefs, and none of the things that had been our favorites were on the menu.

We did not return for two weeks, and explained our absence to the gentleman outside the restaurant. He went in and explained our menu issues to the chef. He told us if we returned the following night there would be a chef familiar with our favorite items. We went back, and enjoyed our favorite meal several times, when this particular chef was working. Had we not known to make this special request, we would have never eaten there again.

Even now I hesitate to recommend this restaurant because I am not happy with their current printed menu. Things change. I use restaurant reviews to make decisions about dining, just as I use them for hotels and activities. I seldom pay attention to a review over 12 months old because.....things change.

It is also possible to have an indifferent meal at what is generally a great restaurant. This happened to us at Amedrous. Our first meal was not good. We returned a second time and enjoyed the same great food and service. I now define them as slightly inconsistent.

Like Sharon, I do not have an abundance of great restaurants near Istiklal Street, and I would love some recommendations from people who have personally eaten at great restaurants there in the last 12 to 18 months.

Hopefully, Globe2 can give us some details about specific places she has dined recently.

Chicago
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9. Re: Tipping in the hamam -Istanbul

Hi SMK,

My last trip to Turkey was last year. I stayed a few weeks, traveling around. Unfortunately, I often don't remember restaurants (if I don't write the name down). I remember the food and the location, but like you said - things can change fast in Istanbul, restaurants get bought/sold, chefs transition in/out.

I haven't as much luck with Sultanahmet restaurants others have had. I've tried a few places recommended and often found the food just so-so and over-priced. I've had good meals in neighborhoods like Taksim, Beyoğlu, and Nişantaşı. To me, a good meal is worth the cab fare. And on the next trip, I'll keep a small pad of paper in my bag(!).

Mount Dora, Florida
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10. Re: Tipping in the hamam -Istanbul

Was it Spring, Summer or Fall. Menus are often so seasonal. Some places have such good fish in the winter, and not good fish in the summer? How did you select the memorable restaurants where you ate. I know occasionally VR suggests that you just follow your instincts and take a chance on a place that looks good.

What do you generally budget for a meal in Istanbul?

You really should share your most recent experiences with us in a Trip Report.