Istanbul Place Apartments

Galata, Istanbul, Turkey Book from Eur157

Reviewed by Sarah Gilbert
Live like a trendy Istanbulite in one of 8 stylish self-catering apartments (sleeping 4-7), set in hip yet historic Galata
Istanbul is one of the world’s most alluring cities, and its heady mix of ancient minarets, opulent Ottoman palaces, modern galleries and funky restaurants has tempted many a traveller to linger. But if you’re staying for more than a couple of nights, chances are you’ll want more space, more flexibility and better value for money than you’d find in a hotel. Cue Istanbul Place Apartments, by British-born Julia. With her Turkish husband Tarkan, they have created 8 apartments, each with 2 or 3 bedrooms, housed across several 19th-century buildings in Galata, a bohemian district which has become a favourite haunt of up-and-coming designers, writers and artists.

Each apartment is as cool and eclectic as the neighbourhood, combining original features - lofty ceilings, ornate plasterwork, tiled floors - with contemporary furnishings and modern kitchens. Some are within touching distance of the 14th-century Galata Tower, others have fabulous views over the Bosphorus and the Golden Horn. All have winding streets full of quirky shops and charming cafés on their doorstep, and are only a short tram ride from the historical bounty of Sultanahmet (Topkapi Palace, the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia). After dark, the bevy of bars and clubs in cosmopolitan Beyoglu is within easy walking distance, but well out of earshot.

Highs

  • The chance to live like a local: you’ll get an authentic taste of Istanbul wandering around Galata’s pretty back streets
  • Excellent value for money for groups of friends, families, and couples travelling together
  • Cool, calm and contemporary interiors, with large sash windows that frame stunning views of the Golden Horn or Galata Tower
  • Ideal for sightseeing, shopping and partying. Buzzing bar- and boutique-lined Istiklal Caddesi is a short stroll away, and the trams, metro and ferries will take you almost anywhere in the city
  • A great location for foodies. Stock up at local markets, sample trad Turkish (or fusion) fare nearby, or book one of their own foodie tours

Lows

  • No lifts (except Galata Place), so it can be a slog up to the second- or third-floor apartments
  • No private outside space, although Galata Place and the Petraki Place apartments have access to communal roof terraces
  • Most apartments have 1 bathroom between 2 or 3 bedrooms (though some have second bathrooms or additional toilets)
  • Galata and Beyoglu are up-and-coming, which means occasional renovation works to nearby buildings; check upon enquiry

Best time to go

The apartments are available all year round, but the best months to visit Istanbul weather-wise are May, June, September and October, when it’s pleasantly warm. July and August are hotter, but the apartments are equipped with air-conditioning and there is often a cooling breeze from the Bosphorus. Winter can bring sub-zero temperatures and even snow (though the apartments have central heating). There are numerous city-wide festivals throughout the year, including a film festival in April, a theatre festival in May, a music festival in June, and a jazz festival in July.

Our top tips

Spend a couple of hours exploring nearby Cukurcuma, with its winding lanes and treasure trove of antique shops. Afterwards, enjoy a lazy drink in boho-chic Cihangir, an artists’ and writers’ enclave with cafés galore.

Great for...

Cheap & Chic
City Style
Family
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Apartments
  • 8 apartments sleeping 4-7
  • Self-catering (restaurants nearby)
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Daily Maid Service
  • Towels & Bedlinen
  • Maps
  • Guidebooks
Room: Petraki Place III

Rooms

The 8 apartments, all in different buildings near Galata Tower, mix gleaming white walls, high ceilings and original tiled floors with contemporary fittings and comfy soft furnishings in neutral tones.

We stayed in third-floor Pasha Place, which sleeps 6-7 in 3 bedrooms (2 doubles and a twin). Its heavy front door opens onto a hallway that doubles as a dining room, and its bright living room has 2 squishy sofas. The fabulous views over the Golden Horn almost render the flat-screen TV obsolete, and are best enjoyed with a glass of wine at the bar table nestling in the bay window. The bedrooms are simple and uncluttered, with wooden floors and walls dotted with artwork. One double and the twin room share the same striking view as the living room; the second double has an internal window with no view. The sparkling bathroom is small but perfectly formed, with white ceramic tiles and a rain shower, and there’s a separate toilet.

Large third-floor Aslan Place also sleeps 6-7 in 2 double bedrooms and a twin; it has a shower room and a second toilet. Equally spacious but with 2 bedrooms (a double and a twin, sleeping 4-5) is second-floor Galata Place, which has a sofabed in its huge living room, a family-sized bathroom with a bath and overhead shower, and pretty sea-green frescoes on the ceiling. Both apartments look out over Galata Tower.

First-floor Petraki Place (sleeps 4-5) has frescoes and exposed brick walls, with 2 good-sized double bedrooms (one with an ensuite shower), a small single room suitable for a child, and a second shower room. On the floor above is Petraki Place II (sleeps 6-7), which we're yet to see, is the largest apartment with 2 doubles and a twin room. Both of these apartments have access to the building’s shared roof terrace, with sweeping views across the city. Since our visit, 3-bedroom Petraki Place III has been added, offering the added bonus of a private hammam.

In a nearby building is third floor Shah Place (sleeps 4-5 in 1 double and 1 twin room) and first floor Shah Place II (sleeps 4 adults and a child). Each has original frescoes, antiques and velvet headboards, as well as views over the narrow streets below.

All apartments come with WiFi, cable TVs, hairdryers, irons and ironing boards, washing machines, and plenty of maps, guidebooks and magazines to help you plan your stay.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Central heating
  • Coffee maker
  • Coffee tea making
  • Cots Available
  • Extra beds
  • Fan
  • Fridge
  • Full kitchen
  • Hairdryer
  • Hob stove
  • Iron
  • Microwave
  • Phone
  • Satellite tv
  • Toaster
  • Washing machine
  • WiFi
  • Wifi internet

Eating

You can create anything from simple snacks to lavish meals in the apartments’ gleaming kitchens, which contain all the necessary equipment: microwaves, fridge/freezers, toasters, utensils, pots, pans, kettles, cafetières, teapots, even dishwashers. Shah Place and Aslan Place have no ovens, but all have hobs. There are dining tables in the tiled hallways or by the windows in the airy living rooms.

Tea, coffee and a large bottle of drinking water will be waiting for you on arrival, along with essentials such as dishwasher tabs, washing-up liquid and bin bags. Galata has plenty of small family-run grocery shops, mobile fruit and veg sellers, and supermarkets close by where you can stock up.

Dining out is equally easy, with a vast array of restaurants nearby. Adigüzel by Galata Tower is a reliable lokanta (mezze bar) with friendly staff and good home-cooking. In Beyoglu, Leb-i Derya is a sophisticated restaurant with incredible views over the Bosphorus. For even more stunning views splurge at NuPera, a bar/restaurant/club complex that houses 4 different venues. Dress to impress and book ahead, especially at weekends.

For contemporary Turkish cuisine, try the sleek Autoban-designed Münferit, or Cezayir, where you can dine alfresco in lovely gardens. Head to Nevizade Sokak or stunning Rococo arcade Cicek Pasaji (‘The Flower Passage’) for traditional eateries serving old-school mezze and raki, Turkey’s potent aniseed-flavoured tipple. Also worth trying is the trendy House Café on bustling Istiklal Caddesi. It's in the same historic apartment block as 360 Istanbul, a hip rooftop bar and restaurant with a view that lives up to its name.

Features include:

  • Coffee maker
  • Coffee tea making
  • Fridge
  • Full kitchen
  • Hob stove
  • Microwave
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Toaster
Eating: Petraki Place III
Activity: Petraki Place Apartments roof terrace

Activities

  • Climb the spiral stairs up 14th-century Galata Tower (or choose the easy option and take the lift) for 360-degree views of the city and the Golden Horn. There’s a restaurant and nightclub at the top, too
  • Take the tram or walk across the Galata Bridge to Sultanahmet, the heart of Old Istanbul, where you’ll find the city’s most iconic sights: the Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, the Blue Mosque and the Basilica Cistern
  • Walk down to Karaköy fish market and join the locals eating hamsi, deep-fried Black Sea anchovies served with a squeeze of lemon. You can also buy fresh fish to cook back at your apartment
  • Tarkan and Julia can also arrange a 2- to 7-hour orientation walk or foodie tour with one of their tried and trusted English-speaking guides - young Istanbul ladies with their fingers firmly on the city's pulse, who'll show you hidden eateries, artisans' workshops and practical info (tram stops etc)
  • Taste some of the 370 varieties of wine available at Sensus, an underground cellar by Galata Tower
  • Take a ferry up the Bosphorus, marvelling at the opulent palaces, lavish villas, traditional wooden houses and crumbling castles that line both sides of the strait
  • Shop ‘til you drop in the up-and-coming Turkish boutiques along Serdari-I Erkem Street in Galata, the maze of stalls in the Grand Bazaar, the shopping malls of sophisticated Levant, and the international designer stores in Nisantasi
  • Take a stroll - or an old-fashioned tram ride - down Istiklal Caddesi in Beyoglu, a pedestrian thoroughfare lined with shops, patisseries, galleries and bars
  • Beyoglu is also Istanbul’s club central, where you can party until the small hours: try NuTeras (a swanky rooftop bar-cum-club) and Babylon (for world music)

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Boat trips
  • Historical sites
  • Museums / galleries
  • Nightlife
  • Shopping / markets
  • Traditional cultures
  • Wine tasting

Kids

Children are very welcome, and families will certainly appreciate the space and flexibility of a self-catering apartment. The apartments are found across several architecturally intriguing, historic buildings, each on a street within a lively mixed community and plenty of food shops nearby.

We think it would work best with teenagers, who will enjoy the shopping, music and bustling city life on the doorstep, as well as (hopefully) some of the rich history and Islamic architecture - the owners can arrange bespoke guided tours to suit all ages and interests. All apartments have free WiFi and flatscreen TVs.

Best for:

Babies (0-1 years), Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

Extra beds and baby cots can be added to the apartments, and all have twin or single rooms that would suit children. Galata Place is the only apartment with a bathtub; the others have showers only.

Two apartments (Petraki Place I and Shah Place II) are on the first floor, two are on the second (and one of these, Galata, has a lift) and the final three (Pasha, Aslan and Shah) are on the third floor. So bear in mind that you may have to negotiate 3 flights of stairs with pushchairs and little ones if you are in one of the higher-placed apartments.

Babysitting:

Babysitting can be arranged, see Rates

Baby equipment:

  • Baby cots
  • Baby bedding
  • High chairs

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Kids Activities on site:

  • Scrabble and playing cards

Kids Activities nearby:

  • Boat trips up the Bosphorus and to Princes Islands
  • Shopping in the colourful and huge Grand Bazaar
  • Topkapi Palace, brimming with exotic intrigue
  • Musical instrument shops
  • Take the elevator to the top of Galata Tower for 360º views
  • Galata also has the world's largest miniature park (models, playground, labyrinth)

Distances:

  • Airport: 45 minutes (Ataturk) and 1hr30m (Sabiha Gokcen)
  • Hospital: 5 minutes
  • Shops: 2 minutes
Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

10/
Rooms
10/
Food
10/
Service
9/
Value
10/
Overall

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Rates for Istanbul Place Apartments