Karakoy Rooms

Karakoy, Istanbul, Turkey Book from Book from £61 per night

A cluster of retro-chic rooms and studios plus a cool roof terrace, set in buzzy Karaköy above one of the best restaurants in town
Once rundown, the waterfront neighbourhood of Karaköy is now home to exciting galleries, arty cafés and independent boutiques - plus one of Istanbul's coolest places to stay. Tucked away on a cobbled street, just a stone’s throw from the Bosphorus, this exquisitely renovated 19th-century building is a real find. Husband-and-wife team Aylin Okutan and Oral Kurt spent years working with local architects RUN, meticulously restoring original features and filling each of the 12 spacious rooms and studios with custom-made furnishings from some of the city’s hottest designers.

The result is a stylish and sophisticated blend of old and new, with restored plasterwork and exposed copper pipes alongside sleek sofas and industrial lights. It's the perfect base for exploring Istanbul, close to the Galata Bridge and the Beyoglu district, and only 5 minutes by tram from the Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sophia. After a day pounding the streets, retreat to the roof terrace for a drink, then head down to the lively, blue-tiled restaurant for a slap-up meze meal. We loved it as much as the vibrant quarter in which it sits, and can’t wait to go back.

Highs

  • Set in one of the hippest parts of town, with galleries, cafés and boutiques on the doorstep
  • Lofty, light-filled rooms with heavenly beds and sitting areas, plus studios with kitchenettes for those seeking more independence
  • Beautiful design at every turn
  • The Karaköy Lokantasi restaurant, whose delicious (and good-value) food is popular with locals and guests alike
  • A cool rooftop terrace with unobstructed Bosphorus views

Lows

  • No children under 12 - a high for many!
  • Not a full-service hotel (no formal reception desk or room service)
  • Ensuites don't have bathtubs, but walk-in rainfall showers more than make up for it
  • No twin rooms

Best time to go

Weather-wise, the best months to visit Istanbul are May, June, September and October, when it’s pleasantly warm. July and August get very hot, but the rooms are air-conditioned and there's often a cooling breeze from the Bosphorus. Winter can be chilly and sometimes sees snow. Crowd-pulling annual events include the Istanbul Film Festival in April, the Theatre Festival in May and the Music Festival in June/July.

Our top tips

Head down to one of the many street stalls at the water’s edge for a balık ekmek - a freshly grilled mackerel sandwich with lettuce, tomato, onion, chillies and a squeeze of lemon. Delicious!

Great for...

City Style
Foodie
Honeymoon
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 12
  • Restaurant (open daily)
  • Ages 12+ 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
Room: Deluxe Double with Sea View

Rooms

The 12 rooms all share the same simple, clean design: an elegant monochrome colour palette, herringbone parquet floors, minimalist retro-style furniture, exposed copper pipework and funky lighting. Comfy beds are swathed in crisp white sheets and fine linen blankets. Large wardrobes offer plenty of storage space, and you also get a stylish 30s-inspired writing desk and a sitting area with a flatscreen TV. Bathrooms are plush, with geometric-tiled walls, marble floors and walk-in rainfall showers.

Deluxe Doubles have small balconies, some with Bosphorus views (request one on a higher floor to avoid the vista being obscured by docking ferries). Studios come with well-equipped kitchenettes and dining tables. We loved our Deluxe room with its watery outlook and lofty dimensions, but even standard Superior Doubles offer oodles of space.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Central heating
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Hairdryer
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Phone
  • Safe box
  • Satellite TV
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi

Eating

Karaköy Lokantasi, the stylish turquoise-tiled restaurant downstairs, is hugely popular with hip locals, but a few tables are always reserved for staying guests. We fell in love with its beautiful design, lively vibe and mouth-watering lunch and dinner menus. Choose starters from the glass meze display, then order hot dishes from your table - don’t miss shrimps sautéed in garlic, fried courgette with garlic yoghurt and cucumber, marinated baby artichokes, smoked octopus, and delicately sliced lamb’s liver. We rounded everything off with a pistachio semolina cake and a glass of Raki (the house speciality). The wine list is excellent, too.

A Turkish buffet breakfast is served; if you're staying in a Studio, you can whip up simple meals in your kitchenette. There are markets and grocery shops all around, as well as countless bars and restaurants - just ask staff for recommendations.

Features include:

  • Breakfast
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurant
  • Restaurants nearby
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Explore Karaköy’s galleries, boutiques and trendy cafés, which are all on your doorstep
  • The Cité Française, a pretty shopping arcade built in the 1800s, is just down the road. You’ll find plenty of quirky little shops and lunch spots
  • Head to the beautifully restored 16th-century Kiliç Ali Pasa Hammam for some Turkish-style pampering. It's pricey but was one of the highlights of our stay (book in advance)
  • Take the tram across the Galata Bridge to see the famous Topkapi Palace, Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia
  • Board one of the nearby ferries and journey up the Bosphorus to the mouth of the Black Sea, hopping between European and Asian shores
  • Go for a sticky baklava blowout at the local bakery, Karaköy Güllüoğlu Üretim Tesisi, which is just a few steps from the hotel

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Boat trips
  • Historical sites
  • Museums / galleries
  • Nightlife
  • Private guided tours
  • Shopping / markets
  • Well being

Kids

No children under 12 are accepted. If you're coming with a teenager, a rollaway bed can be added to all rooms except the Superior Doubles.

Best for:

Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

Extra Beds Available

Kid Friendly: Deluxe Double

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 2 independent reviews from i-escape guests

10/10
Room
10/10
Food
10/10
Service
10/10
Value
10/10
Overall

The room was very large, spacious, with several windows and a lot of natural light. The furniture and fittings were modern and very stylish. Staff were friendly, polite and helpful. The view is on a very wide section of the river without any sight of the historic part of the city and the amazing skyline which is a shame. A great place in a good, lively, central area full of good restaurants. The only drawback is the enormous level of construction work taking place in the area making it quite noisy, dusty and difficult to access.

10/10,

Beautiful hotel in a convenient location. Room was impeccable. Excellent shower. Great views of the Bosphorous from big windows. Staff were incredibly nice and spoke excellent English. We travelled all over Istanbul for a week using public transportation and this was a perfect base.

10/10,

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Rates for Karakoy Rooms