I must say that this place was a breath of fresh air amidst the sensory overload that is Istiklal street and surrounding areas. I would highly recommend staying here for a couple of days if you are interested in shopping at, or visiting, Istiklal street (a very famous turkish shopping street).
I was a little in over my head in istanbul- I had a feeling that people were constantly after my money, trying to scam me all the time, and basically treating me as the obvious tourist that I was (6´2", light hair, blue eyes, spankin´ new D600 camera around my neck). All this was exacerbated by the fact that I traveled alone, and I hadn´t really done much research before I went to Istanbul. Turkey is a place where you need to do a lot of research (and ideally, have local friends), to avoid tourist traps and potentially dangerous situations.
For the first time since I got to Istanbul, I felt relaxed and welcome in Rapunzel hostel. When I arrived I was greeted by Kia, a very pleasant and friendly guy. Apparently, he had just started a few days before, but it was hard to notice, as he seemed to know the ins and outs of the business already. At night I met one of the owners, Selen, who was charming and helpful, and gave me many tips on what to do in istanbul.
The hostel is more akin to a hotel, or rather to an american college dormitory (brought back flashbacks, actually! ), than a hostel, since I don´t think that there were any rooms with a lot of people in them. Seemed like the room sizes were more around 2-4 people. The feeling of the place is a refreshingly laid-back, relaxed atmosphere. The other tenants were quiet (but friendly) when I stayed there, and seemed like they were a little older than the usual 18-year old crowd at other hostels (24-30). But I´m sure that is pretty seasonal.
The rooms are spacious, and pretty basic. At first I was worried about the noise from the streets, but the double windows do a great job of keeping the room quiet. Also, they do a great job of keeping the room extremely hot... Thankfully, each room has a large, industrial-like fan, which to me actually made it very pleasant to be in the room (I like wind). The showers are better than they look, and also worked well. The bed and pillows were comfortable, and there was a lockable locker available in the room. All in all, it´s not a luxurious place, but it´s a very cozy and friendly place, and extremely well positioned. In fact, the location at first is hard to find, and when you do it does in fact need a bit of a leap of faith.... the entrance is in a back street, up a few steps behind a coke machine. At night, (to me, at least) the streets needed a bit of getting used to, as they can be a bit intimidating if you´re not familiar with the area. It´s best to arrive during the daytime. Still, once you are at the hostel, it does feel like a safe haven- honest, friendly and fair-priced, which to me was better than when I stayed at the Marmara Pera, a few blocks up the street.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Rapunzel Hostel is centrally located in the hip and happening area of Istanbul, "Galata" (in the Beyoglu district) offering a budget hostel next to the famous Galata Tower. Istiklal Street, with its nightlife, shopping and famous cosmopolitan atmosphere is only 5 min away;as is Tunel square, which is officially the trendiest place in Istanbul right now, with a mixture of cool cafes and bars. The old city "Sultanahmet", which holds all the principal monuments of Istanbul, is also 5 min away by tram. The nearest metro station is 2 min, tram and bus stops are 3 min walking distance away from our beloved hostel. It is a place at the heart of the city, offering you a cosy and comfortable base from which to explore the unforgettable beauty of Istanbul. ... more less
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