Misafir Suites 8 Istanbul

Beyoglu, Istanbul, Turkey Book from

Reviewed by Ben Reed
A restored Ottoman apartment block in the throbbing heart of Beyoglu, with sleek rooms and suites plus a hip restaurant-bar
Beyoglu was once Istanbul’s cosmopolitan epicentre; a prosperous community of neo-classical embassies and Baroque mansions, where Jewish and Armenian traders rubbed shoulders with sultans, artists and eccentrics. By the middle of the last century, it had begun a slow decline, its wealthy inhabitants departing for the suburbs and its elegant mansions gradually succumbing to decay.

Thankfully, times have changed. Beyoglu is now Istanbul’s answer to Soho, and an infectious optimism has returned to its narrow gallery- and bar-lined lanes. In the thick of it all stands Misafir Suites 8 Istanbul, housed in a handsome Ottoman building. Behind its classical façade lie a clutch of rooms and suites, which provide cool, contemporary retreats from the heat and hubbub outside. All have Scandinavian-style furniture, plush seating and the latest gadgetry - not to mention bags of space. But the real star of the show is the buzzing restaurant-bar downstairs, which serves up mouth-watering fusion fare - the perfect blend of old and new, just like Beyoglu itself.

Highs

  • You'd be pushed to find a more central location - it’s mid-way between Taksim and Tunel, metres from shop-lined Istiklal Caddesi, and an easy taxi ride from historic Sultanahmet
  • Smart rooms and suites with plenty of mod cons (iPod docks, Nespresso machines, Molton Brown goodies, even Playstations to borrow)
  • We were blown away by the imaginative Turkish-Mediterranean food - think cous-cous risotto, salmon-topped pizzas and seabass farfalle with fennel and pistachios
  • Warm and cheerful staff
  • Great value considering the top-notch amenities and first-class service

Lows

  • It can be very noisy around here at night, although triple-glazed windows eliminate as much external sound as possible
  • Some may find the décor a little bland, but a scattering of contemporary art adds some local flair
  • No outside space, other than small terraces for a couple of Deluxe Double Suites

Best time to go

The best times to visit are spring and autumn, as Istanbul can be stiflingly hot in the summer months (June to September) and freezing in mid-winter (snow is not uncommon). However, the hotel’s efficient air-conditioning and heating will help you weather the extremes of the local climate. Crowd-pulling annual events include a film festival in April, a theatre festival in May and a music festival in June / July.

Our top tips

If you're taking a ferry up the Bosphorus, look out for locals boarding at each stop to sell pots of freshly made yoghurt. It's delicious and very cooling in the summer heat.

Great for...

City Style
Family
Foodie
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 23
  • Restaurant and bar (open daily)
  • 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
  • Concierge Service
Room: Deluxe Double Suite

Rooms

The rooms and suites vary in size and shape, but all share the same easy-on-the-eye décor, with Scandinavian-style furniture, lots of blonde wood and velvety rugs on wooden or tiled floors. Colours are neutral - mostly soft greys and taupes - with vibrant paintings and occasional flashes of teal or magenta. It’s all very crisp and contemporary, though there are subtle nods to the traditional in the form of studded leather chairs, inlaid wooden tables and green glass lamps.

The suites are essentially open-plan studios with sitting areas; a couple have terraces, too. There are chunky beds with organic orthopaedic mattresses, sink-into sofabeds, sleek glass coffee tables and 2 or 3 tall windows (though nothing much in the way of views). Aided by the triple-glazing, we slept beautifully in our Deluxe Double, which had a comfy kingsize bed and enough space for cartwheels; larger still are the Superior Triples (each with a queensize bed and a single bed), which are useful for families. Junior Suites are a little more compact, with queensize beds.

Though much smaller than the suites, Standard Rooms still have space for a desk, a large wardrobe and an armchair or sofa. They can be set up as doubles or twins.

All rooms and suites have underfloor heating and air-conditioning (both heaven-sent given Istanbul’s sticky summers and chilly winters). You also get Molton Brown toiletries, snuggly robes and slippers.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Central heating
  • Coffee maker
  • Coffee tea making
  • Cots Available
  • DVD player (on request)
  • Extra beds
  • Hairdryer
  • Ipod dock
  • Iron
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Playstation (on request)
  • Safe box
  • Satellite tv
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi

Eating

The hotel’s restaurant-bar, 8 Istanbul, is shaping up to be one of the best hang-outs in Beyoglu - a lively mix of high-class food, cocktails and music, with wooden tables and shutters offset by industrial-chic flourishes such as exposed pipes and girders.

Overseen by the enthusiastic Maskut (a bit of a local celebrity chef), the busy theatre kitchen turns out an imaginative fusion of Mediterranean and Turkish cuisine from midday to 11pm. It’s delicious stuff, and our dinner was one of the tastiest we’ve ever eaten: slow-cooked octopus with lavender, sea bass ceviche with lime, tomato and red onion salsa, succulent lamb with orzo, mushroom risotto with beetroot cream. There are also pizzas (with inventive toppings such as salmon and pear or veal and courgette) and a selection of burgers. Maskut often ventures out from behind the counter to explain the history of each dish and make recommendations, creating a friendly, informal atmosphere.

Breakfast, served from 8am to 11am, is another highlight. The traditional Turkish spread of white cheese, sliced tomatoes, olives, borek and yoghurt is supplemented by some more unusual options, including kaymak (clotted cream with honey) and scrambled eggs with onion, peppers and tomatoes. It’s all accompanied by excellent orange juice and freshly brewed tea or coffee.

If you want to eat out, this is Istanbul’s restaurant central - in fact some of the narrow streets off Istiklal Caddesi are nothing but. For lunch, try one of the cheap street cafés where locals (mostly men) sit in plastic chairs dunking hunks of bread into soups and mutton stews. For dinner, check out Haci Abdullah (excellent old-school Ottoman cuisine, just off Taksim Square), Hamdi (for kebabs, meat balls and views across the Golden Horn) and Bebek Balikcisi (a fish restaurant on the Bosphorus). Misafir’s helpful reception staff will point you in the right direction.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Coffee maker
  • Coffee tea making
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurant
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Room service
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Take a walk - you couldn’t be better placed for exploring the city on foot. It will take you 10 minutes to stroll to Tunel or, in the opposite direction, Taksim Square (Istanbul’s Piccadilly Circus), where you can catch a metro to anywhere
  • Take a tram or taxi across Galata Bridge to Sultanahmet (10-15 minutes away), home to one of the richest concentrations of ancient relics in the world. Among them are the Blue Mosque, the Hagia Sofia (a 6th-century Byzantine marvel), cavernous Roman cisterns and the dazzling Topkapi Palace
  • Take to the water: cruising up and down the Bosphorus on a ferry is one of the best ways to see the city. You'll pass impressive castles and ornate Ottoman mansions, and can hop off at Anadolu Kavagi (on the Asian shore by the mouth of the Black Sea) for lunch. All the main docks - Karakoy, Eminonu and Kabatas - are within easy distance of the hotel
  • Go shopping: haggle in the Grand Bazaar (where you can buy anything from Turkish tea to gold jewellery), browse the high-street stores that line Istiklal Caddesi, and flex your credit card in the designer boutiques of Nisantasi
  • Tour the museums and galleries. The Pera Museum in the nearby Tepebasi district is housed in a lovely Victorian building (once the Bristol Hotel), and Istanbul Modern (Turkey's answer to the Tate Modern) sits in a converted waterside warehouse in Kabatas (a 30-minute walk)
  • Get scrubbed and soaped at a traditional Turkish hammam - staff can arrange entry to the Cemberlitas Old Historical Turkish Baths nearby
  • Party into the small hours: Beyoglu is Istanbul’s club central and many of the best night spots are within walking distance. Try Nardis Jazz Club, Istanbul 360 (a cool rooftop bar and restaurant) and Babylon (for world music)

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Boat trips
  • Hammams
  • Historical sites
  • Museums / galleries
  • Nightlife
  • Shopping / markets
  • Traditional cultures
  • Well being

Kids

Notwithstanding the urban location and the lack of outside space, this is a family-friendly place.

Best for:

Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

All suites (but not Standard Rooms) have sofabeds plus space for a rollaway bed and / or baby cot, and the Superior Triple Suites each have 1 queensize bed and 1 single bed. DVD players and Playstations are available on request if you need to keep the kids entertained.

Babysitting:

Babysitting is available by arrangement.

Baby equipment:

Baby cots are available on request.

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

Kid Friendly: Standard Room

Our guests' ratings...

10/
Rooms
8/
Food
9/
Service
9/
Value
9/
Overall

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