Istanbul - a hard act to follow in a hot destination

What's new to say about Istanbul? Since pre-Christian times, it has been the focus of world attention; fought over by armies from all points of the compass for its advantageous geographical position, and an essential stop for travellers seduced by its location at the edge of Europe and the entrance to Asia.

Yet, Istanbul is one of this year's hottest city-break destinations. The history, exoticism and cultural diversity continue to be irresistible, but 2008 also marks the arrival in the city of two of the world's leading hotel groups, Starwood, with its funky W brand, and Park Hyatt, plus the launch of a second Four Seasons on the banks of the Bosphorus.

Ahead of the pack is an independent Turkish offering, The Sofa, so called because it wants to imbue a sense of relaxation. It will be a hard act to follow. The hotel is located in the fashionable Nisantasi district and ticks all the boutique boxes with its minimalist yet luxurious styling and a concierge service run by Quintessentially. But it also stands apart because of its role in the city's art world. A sponsor of the Contemporary Istanbul art fair, the hotel's public spaces double as a showcase for interesting new works. And a gallery will open on the top floor in March, where human creativity will be complemented by glorious views of that world-defining stretch of water.

The bedroom
The Sofa has 82 bedrooms in four styles. All have generous sleeping areas and bathrooms with wet-room-style rainshowers. Suites offer living rooms, kitchenettes and balconies, one has two bedrooms and two bathrooms, and honeymooners are spoilt with a suite featuring a huge round bed and indoor and outdoor bathing options. The style is fashionably utilitarian yet plush, warmed by the use of textured fabrics and earthy, muted tones for furnishings and decor. (Spot the signature sofa, too.) Satellite TV, broadband and DVD/CD are laid on. Guests get free use of the gym, sauna and swimming pool in the basement spa – the Taylife Detox & Wellness Center – and discounts on treatments.

The food and drink
Like a growing number of hotels, the restaurant, TuuS, is run by a separate business, in this case the Washington-based Leftbank. Good call; the Mediterranean cuisine served here is of a high standard and the venue is gaining a reputation as one of the best destination restaurants in the city. But temper your expectations, Istanbul remains something of a culinary wasteland. Café Sofa, off reception, serves a hearty buffet breakfast, lunch and dinner, and has a bar. At the rear is a library-cum-bookstore where residents can browse the shelves at their leisure and snap up a good read at a discounted price.

The access
One room has been modified for guests with disabilities and the lifts are wheelchair accessible. Children are welcome, as are small pets.

The bill
Doubles from €200 (£149) per night, room only through Great Hotels of the World (0800 032 4254; ghotw.com/sofa-hotel).

The address
The Sofa Hotel, Tesvikiye Caddesi 123, Nisantasi, Istanbul.

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Guru Careers: Events Coordinator / Junior Events Planner

    £24K + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking an Events Coordinator ...

    Royal Yachting Association Cymru Wales: Chief Executive Officer

    Salary 42,000: Royal Yachting Association Cymru Wales: The CEO is responsible ...

    Guru Careers: Marketing Manager / Marketing Communications Manager

    £35-40k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing Communicati...

    Ashdown Group: Technical IT Manager - North London - Growing business

    £40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A growing business that has been ope...

    Day In a Page

    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
    The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

    King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

    The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

    End of the Aussie brain drain

    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
    Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

    Can meditation be bad for you?

    Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
    Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

    Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

    Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
    Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

    Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

    Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
    Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

    Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

    Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
    Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

    Join the tequila gold rush

    The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
    12 best statement wallpapers

    12 best statement wallpapers

    Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
    Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

    Paul Scholes column

    Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?
    Season's finale brings the end of an era for top coaches and players across the continent

    The end of an era across the continent

    It's time to say farewell to Klopp, Clement, Casillas and Xavi this weekend as they move on to pastures new, reports Pete Jenson
    Bin Laden documents released: Papers reveal his obsession with attacking the US and how his failure to keep up with modern jihad led to Isis

    'Focus on killing American people'

    Released Bin Laden documents reveal obsession with attacking United States
    Life hacks: The innovations of volunteers and medical workers are helping Medécins Sans Frontières save people around the world

    Medécins Sans Frontières's life hacks

    The innovations of volunteers and medical workers around the world are helping the charity save people
    Ireland's same-sex marriage vote: As date looms, the Irish ask - how would God vote?

    Same-sex marriage

    As date looms, the Irish ask - how would God vote?
    The underworld is going freelance: Why The Godfather's Mafia model is no longer viable

    The Mafia is going freelance

    Why the underworld model depicted in The Godfather is no longer viable