5oda (that’s Bes Oda, BEHSH oh-dah, “Five Rooms”) is the brainstorm of Mr Kazım Uzunoğlu, head of Baltac Tours, who wanted to design a place that he himself would like to stay in.
Because of this, it has lots of the sorts of details that really make a place work: spacious rooms (each one takes up an entire floor in the small building), full kitchen in each room, great reading lights over the bed, fresh flowers, artistic décor, free Wifi Internet, glass-sided elevator/lift so guests can enjoy the rear garden while rising to their rooms.
Actually, these rooms are what Americans call efficiency apartments, that is, small kitchen, bathroom, bedroom area, dining area and sitting area all in one space. Really, you’re paying for a hotel room but getting a small apartment.
The location is excellent for all of Istanbul: in Beyoğlu, right next to the Swedish Consulate-General, only a half-block off İstiklal Caddesi, two minutes’ stroll from Tünel Square and its transportation (Metro, Nostalgic Tram, Tünel, taxis),…and yet the street has almost no traffic and is blissfully quiet.
All of Beyoğlu is within walking distance: its boutiques and shops, the Galata Mevlevihanesi (whirling dervish hall), Galata Tower, Galatasaray Square, the Çiçek Pasajıand Nevizade Sokak tavernas, the antiques shops of Çukurcuma, the hundred or so restaurants, cafés, barsand music clubs; the Ottoman-era embassies (now consulates), all the heart of 19th-century Europeanizing Istanbul.
To get to Sultanahmet (Topkapı Palace, Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, etc.) you can take a taxi (TL18, about 15-20 minutes), or go by public transport on the Tünel to the Bağcılaar-Kabataş tram which will drop you right in the Hippodrome.
I really like the space, the art and design, the details, the thoughtfulness, the location…but it’s also the people who run it, particularly Ms Sennur Yılmaz, who greets you, that make it welcoming and personal.
—by Tom Brosnahan
|Breakfast on İstiklal Caddesi|