Beyoğlu, the Europeanized district of Istanbul on the north side of the Golden Horn, is experiencing a renaissance as its fine old 19th-century apartment houses are restored by young Istanbullus sensitive to both the district's and the buildings' history, and the necessities of modern comfort and style.
About the Apartment
This 4-room, 70 square-meter (753 square-foot) apartment/flat on Faikpaşa Caddesi in the midst of Çukurcuma, Istanbul's antique shop district next to trendy Cihangir only a few blocks off bustling İstiklal Caddesi (map), accommodates 1 to 4 people (a single traveler, a couple, two travelers, a couple and a single traveler, or perhaps a couple and two children sharing a bed).
It has a salon/living room, small bedroom with queen-size bed, smaller second bed/dressing room with wardrobe and couch/fold-out double bed, dining area/entry with table and chairs, kitchen with 2-burner gas cooktop (no oven), sink, full refrigerator, clothes washer, and bathroom with toilet, sink, shower, and heated towel rack.
Here's what I liked about my stay here:
—It's only a few minutes' walk from interesting Istanbul bustle, yet it's surprisingly quiet! Sure, Istanbul is a noisy city, and the call to prayer can be heard anywhere (six times a day), but it's rare to find this combination of quiet and convenience.
—Within five minutes of leaving the building I can be at a café or gourmet shop in Cihangir, a greengrocer's, bookshop, restaurant, music club or bank branch on İstiklal Caddesi. And 40 antiques shops—not to mention Orhan Pamuk's Museum of Innocence—are within two blocks of my door. Taksim Square and its transport are only 10 minutes' walk away, as is the Tophane stop on the Kabataş-Bağcılar tram line, the Istanbul Modern Art Museum and other fine art museums and galleries.
—Morning sun floods the salon/living room, and there's good afternoon sun as well. This makes it worth the walk up three flights of stairs (no elevator/lift) to get some altitude.
—Views from the salon windows are straight up lightly-trafficked Altı Patlar Sokak; and obliquely some slight but welcome partial views of Old Istanbul across the Golden Horn. (Only the salon has views; other rooms open onto neighboring buildings.)
—This is a real Istanbul neighborhood of mostly Turkish residents, though there's a good number of expatriate foreigners. Tourists stroll along İstiklal Caddesi, but this is not Sultanahmet, where almost everyone is a visitor (except the carpet touts).
—Restoration and decor of the apartment are tastefully done, with good-quality Istanbul-themed artwork on the walls, and Turkish carpets accenting the original, restored wood floors. 19th-century fresco wall panels discovered during the restoration in the salon have been faithfully restored.
Big flat-screen TV with international channels, strong Wifi (which I use 24/7), a decently-equipped kitchen for light meals, alarm system, clothes washer/dryer, and air-conditioning and central heating are all appreciated. I am not a duvet-lover (too hot!), but here there are several lighter bed covers to use instead.
|Feed the piggybank after you've fed yourself....|
—Because the owners run the Antre Gourmet Shop a few blocks away in the center of Cihangir, the fridge comes stocked with fine Turkish cheeses, wines, beers, other beverages and treats. Pay only for what you'd like to use by putting the money in the piggybank.
I could only stay a week, but I was sad to leave: this is a pretty cool Istanbul pied-a-terre...
—by Tom Brosnahan