The House Nisantasi

Nisantasi, Istanbul, Turkey Book from

Reviewed by Sarah Gilbert
A super-stylish design hotel set on the Turkish equivalent of Bond Street, in the heart of Istanbul’s most upmarket neighbourhood
Perched above Prada in Istanbul's most fashionable enclave is the second hotel from the trendy House Café chain. It's every bit as stylish as The House Galatasaray in Cukurcuma, but whereas its older sister embraces old-world charm, The House Nisantasi is wholly contemporary in design - fitting, given its slick setting. Take the lift up from the unassuming entrance and you’ll emerge into a striking space that sets the tone for the rest of the building. Turkish designers du jour Autoban were given free reign over the interiors, and their custom-made bookcases and low-slung, semi-circular sofa form a stunning centrepiece to the reception-cum-lounge - the perfect place to linger over a coffee and a coffee-table book, or sip a cocktail from the bar. The 44 rooms and suites, spread over the 7 floors above, are equally chic, decorated in shades of taupe with custom-made walnut furniture and glass-encased marble bathrooms.

The hotel stands on Abdi Ipekci Caddesi, one of the city’s most sought-after addresses, and the surrounding streets are lined with Art Deco buildings, high-end boutiques and bars, and restaurants favoured by ladies-who-lunch. If you’re here to eat, shop and play, you couldn’t wish for a sleeker, more comfortable base to lay your head.

Highs

  • You’ll experience a different side of Istanbul in this elegant, modern neighbourhood
  • The plush rooms are packed with treats: Nespresso coffee-makers, Lokum Istanbul toiletries, backlit minibars with cocktail-making kits. Some have private terraces, too
  • Smart and soothing communal areas where you can rest your feet in style - ideal after a long day of shopping or before an evening's bar-hopping
  • Delicious breakfasts featuring local specialities such as sesame-coated bread, sweet çay (Turkish tea) and menemen (spicy scrambled eggs)
  • The front desk is open 24/7 and the friendly staff will happily share insider tips to help you get the most out of the city

Lows

  • The historical sights of Sultanahmet are a taxi or tram ride away
  • Don’t expect Ottoman splendour or traditional Turkish colour; interiors are modern, minimal and neutral (beige haters should look away now)
  • The hotel only serves light meals, but with so much choice nearby this is hardly a problem
  • No communal outdoor space
  • The glass-walled bathrooms mean everything’s on show, though you can pull down Venetian blinds for a bit of privacy

Best time to go

The hotel is open all year round. The best months to visit Istanbul are May, June, September and October, when the weather is balmy but not too hot. Summer can be scorching, and winter surprisingly cold (snow is not uncommon), but rooms have air-conditioning and 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

Locally Istanbul creates bespoke insider tours which are tailored to your interests, whether fashion, antiques or art and design, as well as taking in the city’s classic sights. Book through the hotel’s front desk.

Great for...

City Style
Family
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 44
  • Breakfast and light meals (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
  • Concierge Service
Room: Deluxe Room

Rooms

The 44 rooms and suites all carry design duo Autoban’s sophisticated stamp. Decked out in their signature muted tones, they have luxuriously thick carpets, textured walls, bespoke lighting and tactile chairs, as well as custom-made wooden furniture whose modern curves contrast beautifully with the walls’ sharp lines. Compact marble-clad bathrooms sit behind glass walls (with Venetian blinds for modesty) and contain powerful rain showers (no tubs), Lokum Istanbul toiletries, fluffy white towels and soft robes.

We stayed in one of the standard Classic Rooms. Our kingsize bed (twins are also available) had a superb mattress topped with plump goose-down pillows and crisp white linen, and a desk stood in front of floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the street below - perfect for people-watching. We also had an open rail for hanging clothes, a large flat-screen TV, tea-making paraphernalia, a Nespresso coffee-maker, and a fabulous backlit minibar stocked with all the equipment needed to rustle up in-room cocktails.

For the same style but more space, opt for a Superior Room with a sofa and walk-in dressing area. And if you want a larger lounge area with a coffee table then choose a Deluxe Room or Junior Suite, located towards the top of the building, some of which have private terraces with tables, chairs and Bosphorus views. Do note that there is not a lift so it may be tricky for some guests to reach the rooms on the top floor.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Central heating
  • Coffee maker
  • Coffee tea making
  • Cots Available
  • DVD player (on request)
  • Extra beds
  • Hairdryer
  • Internet access
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Phone
  • Safe box
  • Satellite tv
  • Slippers
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi

Eating

The smart reception area doubles as a bar and dining room, and from 7am to 11am it serves up a relaxed buffet breakfast. We tucked into freshly baked bread (including Turkish favourite, sesame-coated simit), a selection of homemade jams, plump black olives, juicy tomatoes, cheeses, cold cuts, pastries, fresh fruit and menemen (the Turkish take on scrambled eggs, with spices, peppers and onions). We washed it all down with juice, coffee and steaming glasses of sweet çay.

Later in the day you can order from a menu of light international dishes - salads, pasta, steak - which are available until 11pm. And indulging in a cocktail or 2 while perched on an elegant Autoban stool at the marble-topped counter is the perfect antidote to a hard day’s shopping and sightseeing.

Otherwise, there are plenty of good restaurants, cafés and bars nearby. Kantin pioneered the farm-to-table concept in Istanbul and uses only seasonal and locally sourced ingredients in its constantly changing menu. We loved the citir (‘crispy’ in Turkish) - whole-wheat flour flatbreads with a range of toppings (salmon, goats' cheese, pumpkin), served straight from a wood-burning oven. Also worth trying is Kosebasi, which is said to make the best kebabs in the city. Its menu includes meaty treats such as cig kofte (meatballs) and cop sis (grilled meat on a skewer), as well as plenty for vegetarians to enjoy. Or head to Hunkar for an upmarket take on traditional Turkish fare.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Coffee maker
  • Coffee tea making
  • Light meals
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Room service
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating: Lounge bar
Activity: Blue Mosque

Activities

  • Shop 'til you drop in Nisantasi, where international designers rub shoulders with home-grown talent such as Gonul Paksoy, Vakko and Arzu Kaprol. Close by is Akaretler, a row of 19th-century terraced houses that’s been transformed into a high-end shopping mall
  • Or head to the trendy boutiques of neighbouring Galata and the maze of stalls in the Grand Bazaar
  • Climb to the top of Galata Tower for panoramic views of the city and the Golden Horn
  • Take the tram to Sultanahmet, the historic heart of Old Istanbul, where you’ll find the city’s most famous sights: Topkapi Palace, the Hagia Sophia and the stunning Blue Mosque
  • Pamper yourself at the 16th-century Ayasofya Hurrem Sultan hammam in Sultanahmet, a beautiful marble bath house which has recently reopened after a multimillion-dollar restoration
  • Browse contemporary Turkish art at the Istanbul Modern, set in a converted warehouse within walking distance of the hotel
  • Cruise along the Bosphorus for a glimpse of the fabulous palaces, castles and mansions that line the waterfront
  • Party 'til late: there’s a bevy of bars around Asmalimecit in lively Beyoglu, or you can hit the Bosphorus super-clubs of Reina, Angelique and Sortie and dance under the stars
  • Then recover the next morning with a yoga or Pilates session in the hotel’s gym

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Boat trips
  • Historical sites
  • Museums / galleries
  • Nightlife
  • Pilates
  • Private guided tours
  • Shopping / markets
  • Yoga

Kids

Children of all ages are welcome, and those under 6 stay for free. Baby cots can be added to Superior Rooms upwards, and Deluxe Rooms and Junior Suites can take an extra bed. There’s also a babysitting service with a local nanny - useful for parents who want to head out and make the most of Nisantasi’s upmarket bars and restaurants.

Best for:

Babies (0-1 years)

Family friendly accommodation:

Cots Available, Extra Beds Available

Babysitting:

Available by arrangement.

Our guests' ratings...

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

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