Having really rated the Time Out Marrakesh guide, I was expecting considerably better than I got with the Istanbul guide. The essentials were all there, places to visit, cost, opening hours, etc. But the hotels and restaurants reviewed seemed to consist of mainly the upmarket establishments, particularly with regard to hotels. There were only a handful of hotel reviews included and these were all for tourists with considerably more money than the 'average' visitor on a reasonable budget. Very little was made of the huge selection of good quality restaurants that offer delicious freshly made food, where a main course dinner with drinks can cost as little as £10-£15 per head. I met a couple who had purchased the DK tourist guide, which I'm told was much more informative, but must confess I haven't compared the two guides.
Needless to say, in future I will not be so closed minded as to the guides I buy when travelling.
I went to Istanbul for six days with this guide book (and Wallpaper City Guide Istanbul).
There are three things with which I was not satisfied about this book. First, the guide doesn't really cover trendy districts such as Nışantaşı, Beşıktaş, and Ortaköy. The description of these areas is limited, and they are out of the extent of the street maps attached at the end. Second, the street maps lack in detail for areas with many alleyways. The map for the south of Hagia Sophia isn't very accurate. I needed to use the downloaded map on my iPhone to reach the hotel I booked. Finally, the public transportation route map on the final page is outdated. The tramway, for example, is now extended further to the west. There's now a metro line running on the Asian side.
Otherwise, I was quite happy with this guidebook. The restaurant section is good at picking decent places in areas with many alternatives. It helped me discover an interesting neighborhood in Kadikoy. The Vocabulary section was helpful for me to understand the pronunciation of Turkish alphabets. Although the content is limited, the section on Bosphorus villages instructed me of which bus lines I should take to visit Beşıktaş and Ortaköy (they are not reachable by metro or tram). The map of the Grand Bazaar was useful, too. The history of Istanbul at the beginning was a good reading material when I was queuing for Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque (there is almost always a queue for both places). Also the section "Istanbul in 48 Hours" also at the beginning was useful to plan my itinerary.
We had a bad experience with this travel guide. As soon as we arrive in Istanbul: we spoted the location of our hotel relatively to the route of the tram on the map, which could serve us as an indication not to get lost. Finally, the route on the map was totally wrong and we got lost (inecessarily climbing a hill with all our lugage). Second, the information on the place of interest (which is scarce) is repetitive: you find exactly the same descriptions in different sections, occupying more space than necessary. This was our first time with "Time out" guides and we will go back to Lonely Planet for our next travel.