Tag Archives: Turkey

W Hotel Istanbul – Istanbul, Turkey


W Istanbul

(90) 212 – 381 2121
Suleyman Seba Cad No. 22
Akaretler, Beşiktaş
Istanbul 34357 · Turkey


In the middle of the Besiktas neighborhood, sit the historic Akaretler Row Houses.  Peering at their curved facades, one can deconstruct their current perfection and see how it was a developers dream.  The neighborhood has now been transformed into one of the city’s trendiest areas, where you will find every elite boutique from Etro to Missoni.  Direct in the middle of this shoppers mecca lays the absolutely wonderful, very stylish and surprisingly accessible W Hotel Istanbul.

Besiktas, and the W,  is situated well away from the chaos of the main tourist areas, but close enough for easy access.  Be prepared to taxi in and out of ‘town’ for the sites and nightlife.  Luckily, the cabs are not so pricey as to make the fare uncomfortable – our average ride to/from the W was about 15 -25 minutes and cost between 8 -& 20 YTL (About $6-15).  The Ferry is right down the hill, 3 blocks away, and offers an exciting water journey downtown to Sultanhamet and the Hagia Sophia.  Boats leave every twenty minutes before 10 am and every hour from then on.  One thing you learn early is that all travel in Istanbul is highly traffic dependent, you learn to avoid rush hours quickly- the boats are your best bet for those times.  It is also within walking distance to the Dolmabahçe Palace, the seat of the Ottomans from 1856 through 1924.



The W itself is a real jewel designed by Mahmut Anlar of  the design firm Geomim.   It manages to stay just on the side of fun & chic, without crossing over into ostentatious and eurotrashy.  I believe this is the result of the excellent staff- which manages to keep everything grounded and never slipped into any type of haughtiness while we were there (5 days).  On the weekends a trendy crowd comes to party in the upstairs bar- that looks to have  lovely outdoor seating, which was unfortunately closed during our stay.  Guests are invited to join the party, and we were never made to feel uninvited.

An interesting fact is that the W Hotels are a franchise, not a chain.  Thus each W is independantly owned and managed- leading to varying experiences between locations.  The slogan is “Whatever/Whenever,”  and the staff at the W Istanbul certainly took that to heart!  The service was impeccable; from the front desk to the attentive doormen (who make sure you don’t get taken advantage off by taxi drivers), the concierge staff is a fountain of useful information and charm and everyone has a genuine smile on their face.

The rooms are beautifully decorated and fully decked.  The beds were very comfortable (you can order one off the room service menu!).  Excellent water pressure gave a loving hot shower.  The programed lighting is a delightful touch- ranging from reading, sleeping and the all important ambient mellow lounge look 😉




The W’s in-house restaurant was one of the Spice Market chain that has a menu created by Jean-Georges.  It is a bit overpriced, as you would expect, but offers quality food.  A find for us was the late-night room service menu that had an excellent pasta!


In the lobby, there is a quite comfortable lounge area known by the moniker “Sip”, located opposite reception, behind beaded curtains.  Decorated with comfortable couches and settes; a place where you can relax with a tea and surf with the free Wifi.  Jump next to the hotel for an acceptable coffee from the ever present “Cafe Nero” for an option to the overpriced hotel breakfast.



Having stayed in many hotels, including a few W’s, I must say that the W Istanbul deserves all the accolades  it gets.  It successfully manages to merge old world service with ultra modern decor, which combine to create an experience that is at the same time relaxing, exciting, welcoming and exotic!  Kudos.



Arasta Bazaar – Istanbul, Turkey


Arasta Bazaar

90 212 517 6813
Arasta Çarşısı No:143,
Sultanahmet, Istanbul, Turkey


9:00  –  19:00  Daily

This is bazaar is located behind the Sultan Ahmed Mosque mosque. Situated on the site of 17th century stables; the Arasta bazaar is small and extremely touristic – full of neatly arranged gift shops . It’s not a place to go on a dedicated trip; it is a good resting stop between Sultan Ahmed Mosque, Hagia Sophia and the Mosaic Museum – or a place to burn time or grab a bite in case the above are not open yet.

Though like any of Istanbul’s many Bazaars, the Arasta is good place to look at the different Turkish handcrafts.

We did find one excellent non-tchotchke spot that stood out selling lamps.






The House Cafe – Istanbul, Turkey

The House Cafe

The House Cafe

(90) 212 – 227 2699  Ortaköy
(90) 212 – 259 23 77  Teşvikiye
(90) 212 – 245 95 15  Tünel
(90) 216 – 368 7764  Caddebostan
(90) 212 – 345 6202  İstinyePark
(90) 212 – 327  1774   Corner-Teşvikiye
(90) 212 – 287 1030   Bebek
(90) 212 – Kanyon


The House Cafe is a beautiful restaurant chain with cleverly designed individual locations combined with tasty food and pleasant service. Exactly what one wants from a restaurant.

Architecturally, all  of the House Cafes are designed by Autoban Design Office ,blending antique, modern  and industrial elements resulting a stylish setting.  On the Culinary front, London Savoy trained chef Coscun Uisal blends local and international cuisine; including pizza pasta sandwiches and salads, using organic ingredients from sustainable sources whenever possible.

The Ortaköy location opened in 2005 with a premium view of the Ortaköy bridge and of the mosque on the Bosphorus.  It is the perfect location for brunch and includes a buffet area on its sunny terrace. On weekend evenings, a DJ takes over the bar creating  a pleasant atmosphere  for cocktails.

There are also pleanty of  jams, marinated olives, southern Turkish olive oil,  coffee, biscottis, cookies  and lovely wines.

Cooking classes are on offer at the İstiklal location offering different culinary teachings; including Japanese, Chinese, Italian, Ottoman and French cuisines.

As an aside, there is The House Apart division of the House Cafe, through which one can rent fully furnished luxury apartments scattered around  İstanbul.

The House Cafe

The House light toast: Toasted whole wheat bread sandwich with flax seed marinated light feta cheese, rocket leaves and sun dried tomatoes.
Menemen : Three eggs scrambled with tomatoes and green peppers (a personal favorite all over Arabia) at Ortaköy

The House Cafe

Salad of warm artichoke hearts filled with mashed sun-dried tomatoes, and prawns sautéed in sweet & sour sauce on mixed Mediterranean greens at Kanyon

The House Cafe
The House Cafe at Ortaköy
The House Cafe
The House Cafe at Ortaköy
The House Cafe
The House Cafe at Ortaköy
The House Cafe
The House Cafe at Ortaköy
The House Cafe
The House Cafe at Ortaköy
The-house-cafe_00(above photo THC at Kanyon© The House Cafe)
The-house-cafe_01(above photo THC at Kanyon© The House Cafe)
The-house-cafe_02(above photo THC at Kanyon© The House Cafe)

The House Cafe

Couscous with chestnut mushrooms, Parmesan cheese, spinach and caramelized onion at Kanyon

The House Cafe

Grilled Vegetable salad: Assorted layer of grilled seasonal vegetables, baked beetroot, sautéed Halloumi cheese with tahini sauce at Kanyon

The-house-cafe_03(above photo THC at Corner-Teşvikiye© The House Cafe)
The-house-cafe_04(above photo THC at Corner-Teşvikiye© The House Cafe)