*This post was written in exchange for a complimentary stay at The House Hotel, Karaköy Istanbul. All opinions however are my own.*
So you’re heading to Istanbul and wondering where to stay? It’s certainly a large city and so where you base yourself is going to be important: you don’t want to spend half your time (and money!) getting from place to place!
First things first: which continent to stay on?! As you most probably know, Istanbul is the only city in the world that straddles two continents (Europe and Asia).
The European side has all the famous and historic sights on, so definitely stay here to avoid wasting time travelling back and forth, which can be quite time-consuming!
Related reading: Instagrammable places and Itinerary for Istanbul
Why Karaköy is the best area to stay in:
Now whilst many people will think to stay in Sultanahmet – the historic Old City of Istanbul, actually the best area to stay in is hip and trendy Karaköy – Istanbul’s most happening neighbourhood.
Karaköy is a cool waterfront district located just across the bridge from The Old City and it is a super convenient place to base yourself during your stay in Istanbul.
Not only are there plenty of restaurants and bars around but it is in a very central location and only a short walk to all the major attractions in Istanbul.
The famous Galata Tower and Umbrella Street are a 5 minute walk away, or head across The Galata Bridge (which is just a 2 minute walk down the road) to The Old City. The Komondo Stairs are only a few steps away from the hotel too!
Boutique hotels in Karaköy:
Karaköy is also home to Istanbul’s best boutique hotels. Boutique hotels are so unique and always add something extra to your trip.
For example, if the idea of staying in a boutique hotel that used to be a BANK (and still has the original bank vaults!!) takes your fancy, look no further than Karaköy’s finest boutique hotel: The House Hotel!
The below left picture shows the grand House Hotel from the outside, and the below right picture shows one of the original bank vaults inside the hotel that is now used as a wine cellar and available for guests to see.
The House Hotel, Karaköy Istanbul
Set in what was once the grand 19th Century Ottoman Bank lies The House Hotel, a gorgeous stylish boutique hotel in Karaköy.
The original stunning facade of the bank still remains outside and the hotel is so elegant and retains period charm, whilst still being modern at the same time.
From the minute you walk up the stairs and the doors automatically open and the friendly staff welcome you, you know this place is very special.
This is THE hotel to stay in in the local area: there are so many lovely features, including the rooftop lounge, spa and the bespoke rooms: let’s take a look at some of them below!
The rooftop lounge:
What also makes The House Hotel special is it’s rooftop lounge Kasa Lokanta. The view from this rooftop restaurant and bar is just wow!
It offers unparalleled sea views across to The Old City, with Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace clearly visible.
Kasa Lokanta is super trendy and has a clean contemporary feel, and can be enjoyed during the day or the evening! I went both times and there was a nice ambience and you could really feel the buzz of the city below!
Of course it is quieter in the day, so perfect if you want to get some work done whilst catching some sun, or head here in the evening to watch the sun set on the city below.
Not only is the atmosphere so lovely, especially during the evening, but the food is really great too: I had the delicious Turkish mezze platter which went down perfectly with some Turkish wine!
Non guests are also welcome to visit Kasa Lokanta, so even if you have your accommodation elsewhere, I definitely recommend to come up here and join the in-crowd for a couple of drinks in the evening.
On the lower ground floor of The House Hotel is Green Spa – the hotel’s luxurious spa. The spa is super clean and has such a relaxing feeling about it from the minute you walk in!
I was booked to have a hammam, and this was actually my first hammam experience so I was a little unsure about what to expect, but the masseuse explained everything and was so sweet during the whole treatment!
The hammam room was so beautiful all covered in marble! Afterwards I relaxed and enjoyed some tea in the relaxation room.
The spa also has many massage and facial treatments available, as well as sauna, steam rooms. A state-of-the-art gym is available 24 hours a day, should you have any energy left after walking the streets of Istanbul all day!
The House Hotel in Karaköy, Istanbul has a variety of different types of room available.
Ranging from The Classic all the way to the Duplex Suite and Penthouse Suite, which has a freestanding bath surrounded by windows offering fabulous views over Istanbul!
I stayed in The Superior King Room, which was so luxurious! The high ceiling was fabulous and gave the illusion of so much space.
The floor to ceiling windows also let in so much natural light which I loved! There was beautiful intricately detailed art work on the ceiling and a whole walk-in wardrobe – perfect to store all your luggage and belongings!!
Not only this, but I had a lovely sofa infront of my bed. This was perfect for sitting down with a cup of tea and watching tv!
The marble bathroom was also so beautiful, and of course the goose-down pillows and duvet meant I had a perfect night’s sleep after a long and busy day exploring Istanbul!
I was so happy with this room. It looked so smart and elegant, and I loved the colour tones in the room.
For me, what really makes a hotel special and memorable is when the staff are amazing. The House Hotel all the staff were so unbelievably kind and helpful, had excellent English, and all went out of their way to accommodate me!
They were always so happy to see me and chat. Honestly I have never felt so looked after like I did at The House Hotel!
There was a really wide range of choices at breakfast, definitely something for everyone and I certainly was impressed at the variety of food!
Smoked salmon, delicious vegetables, bagels, cereals, cakes, yoghurt and so many different types of cheese!
The chef also does cooked to order English Breakfasts, and I can honestly say the bacon was probably the best bacon I have ever eaten!!
The breakfast area is just off the lobby: downstairs is so beautiful and all very open plan and airy which I loved. The breakfast area was very spacious and never felt too busy.
Breakfast is served from 7-11am: perfect timing whether you’re an early bird or love a lie-in! The local art work on the walls was beautiful too!
Behind the breakfast area is this cute fireplace and a stunning grand piano, which you are free to enjoy. I loved how The House Hotel felt so homely but equally so special and luxurious at the same time!
Final thoughts on The House Hotel, Karaköy:
Honestly, it felt so luxurious here and overall, my stay at The House Hotel in Karaköy, Istanbul was really amazing. I just loved its location, my room was stunning, and the staff made me feel so welcome!
Definitely I will come back here whenever I return to Istanbul! See availability here on Booking.com!
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Catrina is a Travel Writer, SEO Specialist and ex-Flight Attendant based in Sydney, Australia. She has visited 85 countries and lived in several – including Italy, Australia, United Arab Emirates and England. Her work has been featured in a variety of popular travel publications including Fodors, Escape, Australian Traveller and Bear Grylls, as well as several international aviation and travel companies. The majority of her work however features on her own website – 24hourslayover.com where she has written over 500 travel articles!