24-hour room service: House Hotel Bosphorus, Istanbul

A modern view in an ancient landscape

Arriving at night, I flung open the French windows in my room at the House Hotel Bosphorus and stepped out on to the balcony for a stunning view of two continents: European Ortakoy's bustling harbour, the neon-lit Bosphorus Bridge and, across the shimmering water, the twinkling lights of Uskudar in Asia.

The third venture from Istanbul's dynamic House mini-chain has transformed a 19th-century waterfront mansion into a contemporary boutique hotel. The elegant Simon Kalfa building – he was part of the Balyan dynasty that left Istanbul with an impressive Ottoman-era architectural legacy, including Dolmabahce Palace – had fallen into disrepair but now, like the city itself, it's a well-thought-out combination of old and new.

As in the other House hotels – House Hotel Galatasary in a 19th-century Ottoman mansion in the up-and-coming antiques district of Cukurcuma, and the Art Deco House Hotel Nisantasi, perched above Prada in the city's most upmarket shopping district – the renovation has been sympathetic to the building's origins. The original lofty ceilings, ornate plasterwork and parquet floors are complemented by luxurious interiors from the award-winning Turkish design duo du jour, Autoban, making good use of their signature materials of marble, brass and oak.

The hotel has five floors topped by the enormous Penthouse Bosphorus Suite, with 180-degree views. On the ground floor, the trendy House Café serves traditional Turkish and international dishes, along with potent cocktails. It spills out onto a patio overlooking the Bosphorus, the bridge and Buyuk Mecidiye Camii, a magnificent neo-Baroque mosque. One floor up, the open-plan Lounge houses a formal restaurant, lounge, library and bar and is decorated with muted tones, a marble fireplace and sleek, low-slung cream leather sofas. Turkish dishes are presented with a contemporary twist, served with good local wines such as Sarafin, Corvus and Sevilen 900. This is also the place to sip raki, a potent anise-flavoured spirit while you people-watch – Kevin Spacey and Monica Bellucci are recent guests.

A leisurely breakfast is also served in the Lounge – a top pick is menimen, scrambled eggs, with feta, tomatoes and parsley.

Location

Cosmopolitan Ortakoy, "Middle Village" in Turkish, is one of Istanbul's coolest districts. The Buyuk Mecidiye Camii sits on a platform next to the iconic bridge; fishing boats bob in the harbour and the muezzin vies with beats from the city's glitziest super-clubs, including Reina and Anjelique.

Ortakoy's cobbled alleyways and squares heave with people at weekends, drawn by its street market, chic boutiques and waterfront bars and restaurants. The café culture of Bebek, one of the Bosphorus villages, is a stroll away, and you're only a short taxi or tram ride from historic Sultanahmet and the nightlife of Beyoglu. The coast road can get gridlocked in rush hour, but it's about 45 minutes from the main Ataturk airport and 60 minutes from the no-frills Sabiha Gokcen Airport.

Comfort

There are 23 rooms divided into six categories, ranging from superior to the penthouse. Almost all have river views – four suites and four rooms have full waterfront views, other rooms overlook Ortakoy Square with side views of the strait – with small balconies perfect for a post-sightseeing wind-down while you watch boats ply the water. The interiors are cool and calm, mingling the traditional with the hi-tech – king-sized beds with crisp white linen, gleaming white walls, polished parquet, original mouldings offset by Autoban's signature funky light fittings, remote-controlled curtains and a large flatscreen TV.

My deluxe suite's separate living area came with a streamlined sofa and dark-wood furniture, as well as a second TV and Nespresso machine. The marbled-tiled bathrooms have powerful rain showers and L'Occitane toiletries, while the penthouse suites have large Jacuzzi tubs, and wraparound balconies. There's free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel and a small gym.

House Hotel Bosphorus, Salhane Sokak 1, Ortakoy, Istanbul, Turkey (00 90 212 244 3400; thehousehotel.com).

Rooms *****
Value ****
Service ****

Double rooms start at €159, including breakfast.

The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Extras
indybest
Travel
Flocking round: Beyoncé, Madame Tussauds' latest waxwork, looking fierce in the park
travelIn a digital age when we have more access than ever to the stars, why are waxworks still pulling in crowds?
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench appeared at the Hay Festival to perform excerpts from Shakespearean plays
tvJudi Dench and Hugh Bonneville join Benedict Cumberbatch in BBC Shakespeare adaptations
Sport
Is this how Mario Balotelli will cruise into Liverpool?
football
News
Ronahi Serhat, a PKK fighter, in the Qandil Mountains in Iraqi Kurdistan
i100
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Arts and Entertainment
Poet’s corner: Philip Larkin at the venetian window of his home in 1958
booksOr caring, playful man who lived for others? A new book has the answer
Arts and Entertainment
Exhibition at the Centre Pompidou in Metz - 23 May 2012
art
News
Matthew McConaughey and his son Levi at the game between the Boston Red Sox and the Houston Astros at Fenway Park on August 17, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts.
advertisingOscar-winner’s Lincoln deal is latest in a lucrative ad production line
Life and Style
Pick of the bunch: Sudi Pigott puts together roasted tomatoes with peppers, aubergines and Labneh cheese for a tomato-inspired vegetarian main dish
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Alfred Molina, left, and John Lithgow in a scene from 'Love Is Strange'
film
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
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
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

    Oracle 11g SQL 2008 DBA (Unix, Oracle RAC, Mirroring, Replicati

    £6000 - £50000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: Oracle 11...

    Recruitment Consultant (Graduate Trainee), Finchley Central

    £17K OTE £30K: Charter Selection: Highly successful and innovative specialist...

    SQL DBA/ C# Developer - T-SQL, C#.Net

    £45000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Working with an exciting ...

    Sales and Office Administrator – Sports Media

    £23,000: Sauce Recruitment: A global leader in sports and entertainment is now...

    Day In a Page

    Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

    Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

    The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
    Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

    Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

    A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
    Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

    Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

    Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
    Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

    Nick Clegg the movie

    Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
    Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

    Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

    Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
    Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

    Waxing lyrical

    Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
    Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

    Revealed (to the minute)

    The precise time when impressionism was born
    From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

    Make the most of British tomatoes

    The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
    10 best men's skincare products

    Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

    Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
    Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

    Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

    The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
    La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

    Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

    Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
    Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

    We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

    Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
    Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

    Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

    Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
    Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

    The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

    Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
    Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

    Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

    Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape