Originally Posted by Stoo
Does anyone have any hotel recommendations for Istanbul?
I have now become a regular at the Witt Istanbul
. It's located at Defterdar Yokuşu in the heart of Beyoğlu near Cihangir, just vis-à-vis the İtalyan Hastanesi.
Great owners (two guys in their 30s-40s, like most of us mature Indy fans), an unpretentious place despite Tyler Brulé giving it some award, excellent rooms and truly cosmopolitan Turkish service, with the best breakfast (served by default in the room) I had in any hotel ever
. It attracts mostly individual travellers or couples, and at maximum what I call "ideally-sized groups" (i.e. 4-6 people).
The two quite affordable rooftop suites have wraparound balconies that allow a 270° view stretching from Bosphorus Bridge on your left, along the Bosphorus, over Sultanahmet and the Golden Horn all way back to Galata Tower and the Beyoğlu skyline. I made some good medium-format panoramas there.
I find it very conveniently located, as 3 minutes down the road is the T1 tramline station. With a few jetons, it gets you northbound to the Dolmabahçe Sarayı and southbound to Topkapı etc., which is where I mostly have to be when I am there. The rides take around 15 minutes each.
And 20 minutes up the road leads you bang on to İstiklâl Caddesi and Galata.
I found the hotels north of Dolmabahçe to be not very practical to get to the city quickly and conveniently at all times (esp. for nightlife), even though the Yalı properties there are gorgeous to stay in. I also personally like that the Witt is away from Sultanahmet which has become just way too much tourist-oriented in the past decade, with mainstreamed food, high prices, and bad manners (by local Turkish standards, which abhor waiters inviting people into restaurants and such behaviour). As my partner's Turkish family would say - "it is now neither local nor classy"
. Plus you are also away from what they call "adventure travel re-enactments", i.e. tourists who think they are in some orientalist phantasy, strolling through "Exotic Stanbul" between Muslims-in-Souks and all that.
I think it's fair to say that Beyoğlu is the reason why Istanbul became cool again since the late-1990s: because of the chemistry and wit of the young (maybe last) Atatürkian secular and cosmopolitan generation that made its base there. And with the current rift in Turkish society, for me and my partner, staying there and supporting this has an important element of 'politics of place'
. Plus, within 5 minutes from the Witt, you have the White Mill, Komşufırın, the Hayat, plenty of cool Koiförs, and some local supermarkets to top up on fresh victuals and provisions.
P.S.: Check out Robinson Crusoe 389
on İstiklâl Cd, down from Taksim towards Demirören. Very good academic section, and very good Indy section
. You won't leave without having bought a book.