We stayed here for a week after traveling along the Aegean Coast and southern Turkey on our own. The hotel is superbly clean, outfitted with all the modern luxuries, and well maintained throughout. The staff is excellent, from desk manager to house cleaners to breakfast staff. We got some help arranging to go see the whirling dervishes as well as all kinds of input on things to see and do and how to get there easily.
We flew back to Istanbul from Bodrum on a domestic airline and had no trouble at all getting from the airport to the Taksim transit hub. It was another story trying to actually find the hotel in the winding, narrow streets. ha ha But people were very helpful to us along our route, redirecting us each time we took a wrong turn, until we finally found the place. It was almost a surprise to walk inside the hotel because there was such a contrast between the highly refined interior and the crazy street scene outside with its wonky cobbles, narrow sidewalks and buzzing cars.
Our first room was on the lower level (sort of a semi-basement), with a separate sitting room and luxurious bath. Although it was just great, the noise and headlights from passing cars disturbed our sleep that first night. The streetside windows were at the same level as the headlights. :-( I spoke to the desk manager the next morning, and he was very accommodating, very quickly shifting us to a room that was just a floor above for the rest of the week. That did it for us. The second room (see picture) had a smaller bath than the first and was not a suite (the sofa and TV were in the same room as the bed) but that made no difference to us. There is a stocked minibar in each room, great if you don't succumb to the $7 drinks and instead buy your own. The hotel provides several bottles of water gratis each day as well. I was able to keep my medication cool, too.
The hotel's location is good for exploring the pedestrianized main spine through the Taksim area, Istiklal Caddesi, which is a short uphill walk away from the hotel. At each end of that street are funiculars and/or Metro stations to take you anywhere you want to go in a hurry, including the ferry terminals at both Karakoy and Kabatas. We enjoyed strolling up and down the street even though it was focused more on yuppie shopping than anything else. The Galata Tower is not far and there are lots of interesting sites besides climbing it for the view. You can find just about anything you want or need along that main street, from food to bookstores to Internet Cafes and lively nightlife. If you walk downhill from the hotel, you will encounter antique shop heaven as well as a lively cafe scene. If you keep walking all the way down and cross Necatibey Caddesi, you find yourself at the Istanbul Modern Art Museum. There also are a couple of small groceries right on the hotel's street, handy for picking up snacks or any small items you forgot to pack.
Breakfast was the best we had during our three weeks in Turkey. A variety of good fresh fruit, tasty olives and cheeses and salamis, fresh pastry and croissants, smoked salmon, breakfast cereals, good coffee and fruit juice. If you asked, someone would make you scrambled eggs or just about anything else.
One caveat only: As with most buildings that have been converted to hotels in older parts of town, there was no elevator. We don't mind stairs since we live on a hill at home and have a hefty climb up to the front door of our house, but if stairs daunt you, you might rethink staying at The House Hotel. Even if you get a room on a lower floor, it is five floors up to the lovely lounge -- where breakfast is served in the morning and drinks/coffee are available in the evenings -- and they are "tall" floors. We are fit, and that daily climb was a struggle for us; we usually had to stop halfway to catch our breath each morning. Still, it is a nice view from up there.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The House Hotel Galatasaray opened its doors in April 2010. This charming four story mansion was built in 1890 and entirely renovated by famous Turkish interior designers Autoban. It offers 20 rooms with a lounge bar on the top floor where to enjoy magnificent views to the Galata Tower. Its ideal location, only 500 meters to the famous Istiklal Street, Istanbul’s city center, Taksim, and within walking distance to the Bosphorus, makes the hotel the perfect place where to enjoy your holidays or business trips. ... more less
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