The Vault, a design hotel in Istanbul, situated in up and coming super cool Karakoy, lies perfectly between historic Istanbul – Sultanahmet – and bohemian Istanbul – Beyoğlu. With its central location this area is perfect for getting around Istanbul.
Built in 1863 The Vault was formerly the Credit General Ottoman Bank and a magnificent restoration has seen the imposing original features kept as a part of the luxurious modern interiors.
The rooms, as one would expect, are sublime examples of history meeting modernity, high ceilings, vast doors and windows, marble staircases, stencilled ceilings and crown moulding; mix this opulence with a contemporary relaxed style with warm neutral tones, fabulous art work and you have The Vault.
With so much to see in the area you are sure to be in need of a Turkish bath at the end of the day and the hotel spa offers a white marble Turkish Bath plus a gym and treatment rooms.
Who is this hotel best suited to? Design hotel lovers, those who like to stay in the up and coming areas before everyone discovers them!
Our tip: Splash out on the room with the bathtub with a view! Be sure to spare time for a drink in the delightful bar.
A little information about the Karakoy area
At the mouth of the Golden Horn Istanbul’s Karakoy has bustled with trade and commerce since the Byzantine era. Long overlooked by tourists and developers because of a plethora of fish stalls, hardware stores, and brothels, the waterfront district these days is abuzz with newcomers, from galleries to top-notch hotels and design driven eateries. Yet fishermen continue to hawk hamsi (anchovies) at the market, and mechanics still flock here for supplies.
The former Imperial Ottoman Bank is now the SALT Galata arts and cultural centre. Leading Turkish galleries such as Elipsis, Galeri Mana, artSümer and Istanbul’74 are also in the neighbourhood. Nearby eateries include hip Bej Café, Karabatak, Naif, Lokanta Maya, and Unter serving delicious coffee and food, as well as traditional Namlı Gurme for Turkish delicatessen food, Karaköy Lokantası for Turkish delicatessen food and Güllüoğlu for baklava.
Karakoy is perfectly positioned for everything else that you may want to see in Istanbul It’s just steps from the hotel to the Galata Bridge and from there a short walk to The Spice Market; jump on the tramway – 2 stops – to reach Sultanahmet in 10 minutes; hop on The Tunel underground and you’ll be in the heart of Beyoglu and the elegant Pera district in minutes or catch one of the huge ferries that move so swiftly between Karakoy and the Asian port of Kadikoy.
Just along the sea front is the Istanbul Modern and we highly recommend joining a Saturday Art Walk in the area when you will have the chance to be guided around the small streets where a number of galleries are housed.
A little information about the Pera area
Further up the hill lies the elegant Pera area, in the district of Beyoglu. Throughout history the area has been an important location; after the 4th crusade Pera was ceded to the Republic of Genoa in recognition of their support of the empire and the famous Galata Tower built by the Genoans in 1348 remains one of Istanbul’s most prominent landmarks.
Following the conquest of Constantinople by the Ottomans in 1453 the area was populated by Levantines (Latin Christians living in the Ottoman Empire) and during this time a number of churches were built in the area.
By the 1800’s Pera had established itself as the European section of Istanbul. Embassies were built here, foreign merchants – Greek and Armenian – lived and worked here, they built splendid mansions and they shopped in the elegant establishments along the Grande Rue de Pera, nowadays known as Istiklal Caddesi. The Beyoğlu area was one of the first parts of Istanbul to have electricity, phone lines, trams and even an underground railway – the Tunel – inaugurated in 1875 as the world’s second subway line after London. The Tunel is still running today and is a speedy and nostalgic way of ascending from Karakoy up the steep hill to Beyoğlu.
The foreign communities also built their own schools, many of which went on to educate the elite of future generations of Turks, and still survive today as some of the best schools in Istanbul.
The area was a centre for cultural pursuits, theatre and elegant dining and nowadays Pera is flourishing with many of the magnificent buildings having been restored, fabulous little boutique shops opening up and an impressive café culture.
There are a number of places worth visiting; afternoon tea in the opulent Pera Palace Hotel, much loved by Agatha Christie, followed by a visit to Room 101 – the Ataturk Museum; the fantastic Pera Museum with its 19th century Orientalism art, the French Quarter where beautifully restored terraced buildings house quaint boutiques and galleries as well as patisseries, wine houses, cafés and restaurants specialising in French cuisine and wines.
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Ilios Travel are members of the Association of Independent Tour Operators, UK Civil Aviation Authority and the ABTA Travel Association Ilios Travel is a trading name of Visions Holiday Group which comprises of Visions of Africa, Islands of Greece and Ilios Travel. www.visionsholidaygroup.co.uk