Stay the Night: Pasha!Place, Istanbul, Turkey

Reflecting its location, this 19th-century apartment marries Ottoman heritage with modern flourishes

It makes you want to stay in and look at it forever. The dramatic view, that is, which stretches across the skyline as you enter the living room of pasha!place, a renovated late 19th-century apartment building on the European side of Istanbul. It is quite a feat given that you're in the heart of a city whose sights and sounds do all they can to draw you out.

We clamber up the sweeping spiral staircase – my mother climbing breathlessly behind me – to reach the spine-tingling third-floor view, just as the mosques sound their call for sunset prayer. It's a heady concoction of East-meets-West: Ottoman architectural history bristles beside brick-and-cement modernity; fishing boats streak across the Bosphorus; illuminated bridges sparkle against gold-bellied domes and cloud-covered minarets. There's a bottle of complimentary wine waiting at a viewing table by the window to invite us to watch the sun switch off and the city-lights switch on. In our three days in the bohemian district of Beyoglu – the Soho of Istanbul – we see this majestic panorama from many vantage points, but to have it at such close quarters is quite something.

Happily, pasha!place is right in the heart of things and there's lots to tempt you outside. Beyoglu is an up-and-coming area which is earning its name in cutting-edge fashion and design. The building that houses pasha!place is set on a side street surrounded by steep, labyrinthine alleys filled with artsy, music and ceramics stores, and vintage and upmarket fashion boutiques. You're also minutes away from bustling Istiklal Street, a mile-long pedestrianised artery leading to the central throb of Taksim Square.


The Rooms

The period three-bedroom apartment was restored by husband-and-wife business partners, Tarkan Cetindamar and Julia Bayne, who have run the istanbul!place collection for over five years. They have seven 19th-century apartments, each of which has its own original features: a gilded, wooden, oil-painted ceiling in pera!place, and floral frescos in sahkulu!place. "We've tried hard to be sensitive to the building and the original architecture," says Julia. To that end, pasha!place has a boutique hotel's spare white minimalism with all the mod-cons, set against elegant smatterings of antique furniture, original wooden floorboards, high ceilings and original window frames.

Flick through the welcome folder and you'll find personal recommendation cards of restaurants and bars off the beaten track (with maps drawn on the back). Smaller domestic details have been thought out too – there are umbrellas, washing powder and anti-mosquito plugs. The kitchen is immaculate: well-lit, large and luxurious.


Out and About

The 14th-century Galata Tower (00 90 212 293 8180; – a circular Genoese landmark with a spectacular 360-degree view – is a stone's throw from the apartment. You can sip Turkish coffee in its top-floor restaurant or boogie in its turret nightclub. Five minutes' walk from the apartment is the revamped Galata Mevlevihanesi, a whirling dervish hall (00 90 212 252 0773) while Turkish author Orhan Pamuk's recently-opened Museum of Innocence ( devoted to everyday objects, is 15 minutes' walk away.

Istiklal Street offers a barrage of patisseries, bookshops, cafés, bars, clubs and high-street fashion. A charmingly antiquated tram chugs back and forth along the street.

A visit to the Istanbul Modern (00 90 212 334 7300; in nearby Karakoy Port is an absorbing way to spend the afternoon. Browse through the Burhan Dogancay urban art retrospective (50 Years of Urban Walls), and an exhibition of Turkish photography from the Ottoman era to the present day (After Yesterday); from its outdoor café-restaurant you can see the Asian side of the city glittering across the water.

Sultanahmet, the historic centre of Istanbul – home to the Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace and Hagia Sophia – is about 25 minutes' walk from pasha!place, on the south side of the Golden Horn estuary. This is also the location of the magnificently-domed Turkish baths, Cemberlitas Hamam ( – prepare to be taken in hand by women brandishing a flannel and olive soap for a very memorable spa experience.


Food and Drink

Istiklal Street is a hotch-potch of high-class eateries and average kebab restaurants. Among the most impressive is a glass-encased sixth-floor restaurant, Leb-i-Derya (0090 212 243 4375;, whose Michelin-star quality dishes include parmesan-encrusted sea bass, spiced steak and scallop ravioli. Opposite, Markiz Patisserie (0090 212 244 9039) serves anything from cheesecake to grilled meat and borek (sweet or savoury stuffed pastries), and is worth a visit for its exquisite, tiled interior. For baklava, head to the Galata Tower, where Galata Kiva (00 90 212 292 9898; serves the sticky-sweet pastries in a cavernous, exposed brick interior.

If pasha!place's views really do keep you inside the apartment, there's a grocery van that comes tooting along the side-streets of Beyoglu most mornings, selling seasonal fruits and vegetables and a great fish market – Balik Pazari – off Istiklal Street.


The Essentials

pasha!place, Serdar-i Ekrem Caddesi 20, Galata–Beyoglu, Istanbul, Turkey (01905 570877; One night's rental starts at €234 (£188) for up to four people. Children welcome.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Arts and Entertainment
tvGame of Thrones season 5 ep 4, review - WARNING: contains major spoiliers!
Tottenham legend Jimmy Greaves has defended fans use of the word 'Yid'
Arts and Entertainment
Kanye West, performing in New York last week, has been the subject of controversy as rock's traditional headline slot at Glastonbury is lost once again
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
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
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Technical Supervisor

    £24800 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As one of London's leading Muse...

    Recruitment Genius: Centre Manager

    £14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

    Guru Careers: Accountant

    £28 - 45k (DOE): Guru Careers: An Accountant is needed to take control of the ...

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel Assistant Manager

    £18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This hotel in Chadderton is a p...

    Day In a Page

    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

    Everyone is talking about The Trews

    Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living