I was always dreaming about visiting Istanbul, the city with a rich history and one of the only cities in the world to straddle two continents (Europe and Asia).
Some facts about Istanbul
Just a quick info for first-time travelers to Istanbul. This city has been the capital of three major empires: Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman. It is often defined as a city where East meets West. Napoleon Bonaparte once said: “If the whole world were one country, Istanbul would be its capital”. This is indeed one of the coolest cities in the world.
How to get to Istanbul
By air, there are two airports in the city and one is quite far out. Istanbul Atatürk Airport (IST), on the European side of the city and Sabiha Gökçen International Airport (SAW) on the Asian side of the city. We arrived at SAW airport and it took us hours to get to the hotel.
There are plenty of options on how to get around Istanbul. You can use taxi services (better to download Uber or Blacklane) or trams and metro. Also, you can hire a car to be more flexible. Fortunately, we have some local friends in Istanbul. They were able to pick us up from the airport directly to the hotel.
Where to stay in Istanbul
I was a bit nervous coming to Istanbul. So I wanted a place to stay in Istanbul that was near the main tourist attractions and easily accessible by local transport. I researched a lot of hotels before my trip and had a hard time deciding which one to stay at. I ended up at the House Hotel Karakoy, one of the most sophisticated and best hotels in Istanbul. It is located in the up-and-coming neighborhood of Karaköy on Bankalar Caddesi, a convenient launching pad to explore bohemian Pera, the Old City, and its Roman heritage, historic Sultanahmet and the Galata Port.
On the arrival, we were greeted by two amazing receptionists. They helped us to check in and showed around the hotel. Turkish are known for their grand and generous hospitality all over the world. Whichever country you are from, you will be treated as God’s Guest in Turkey. The House Hotel Karakoy strongly lives by this axiom. The staff is always on their toes to serve each and every need of their guests. Their knowledge and passion of the city are unparalleled, and they can confidently help you best plan your time in Istanbul. And, at the risk of sounding cliche, the stuff does make you truly feel at home.
It was 4 p.m. when we entered our Superior King room. The room was well-equipped with all the modern facilities more than you could ask for. The first thing we noticed was the welcoming king-sized bed, followed by the gorgeous views.
Our bed was as comfy, no I take that back – it was even comfier than my own bed at home. The bathroom was fitted with a rain shower and high-end soaps, shampoos, and lotions.
On top of all of this, we were given a little plate of Turkish Delights and other sweets, and there was a Nespresso coffee machine.
On the first evening, I could barely open my eyes because of sleep deprivation. We have decided to get some refreshments or coffee at the rooftop restaurant.
Surprisingly, The House Hotel Karakoy has an amazing restaurant with a stunning panoramic view and splendid food. I got my espresso with a view (I swear, the best in the city!) and headed to the room to get dressed for the meeting.
Our second day in Istanbul was intense. We woke up early, had an amazing breakfast at the hotel, and went to the streets of Istanbul to see all the places on my bucket list. The hotel is just a stone-throw away from the major historical attractions like Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace and even Grand Bazaar. It’s hard to find a better place to get closer to the rich history and culture of Istanbul. The city has so much to offer in terms of mosques, markets, museums, and foreign culinary delights. I’ll write another post about tourist attractions in Istanbul. Stay tuned.
While the entire hotel is a special experience in itself, it has one amazing feature that truly makes it stand out from all the rest – the traditional Hamman-style spa. Located underneath the hotel, the corridor opens out into a luxurious subterranean space with a sauna, steam rooms and three treatment rooms (1 couples’ room, 2 singles) for massages or facials, a state-of-the-art gym, and relaxation room.
From the above, it is very clear that I absolutely loved my stay at the House Hotel Karakoy in Istanbul. The hotel is more than just a place to stay – it is an experience that will stay with you long after you leave the city. Words like delightful, charming, elegant all spring to my mind when I try to describe this amazing hotel. The next time we find ourselves in Istanbul, and we know we will be back, we’ll be stopping by The House Hotel Karakoy again, and again, and again.