Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Readers of my Istanbul book may remember that one of my favorite restaurants in the city is The House Cafe. There are several branches of this mini-chain, but the one I enjoyed a meal at with my good friend Maha is in Tesvikiye/Nisantasi (I haven't figured out yet how to add Turkish pronunciation symbols here, but there is a squiggly line under each 's' in both names and the second is pronounced nuh-SHAN-tuh-shuh). So I am really happy to learn that there is now The House/Hotel and The House/Apart, and the photos here are of both the hotel in the Galata neighborhood and the apartment in Nisantasi. Aren't they appealing?
The Galatasaray hotel opened in April and has twenty suites. Another hotel in Nisantasi has just opened and has 45 rooms on 5 floors. A third will open in the Ortakoy neighborhood. The House/Apart is a collection of self-catering flats with kitchen and laundry facilities, LCD widescreen television, DVD player, air conditioning, and free wi-fi. The flats have from one to three bedrooms, and are located currently in Tunel, Nisantasi, Cihangir, and Galata.
Just like The House Cafe, the House hotels and apartments are designed by the renowned design firm Autoban (http://www.autoban212.com/), founded by Seyhan Ozdemir and Sefer Caglar. Autoban is derived from the "life-as-highway" metaphor, as in "driving fast and making all the right moves." Among more than 50 interiors and a line of furniture, Autoban also designed the Witt Istanbul Suites (http://www.wittistanbul.com/) and Vakko (http://www.vakko.com/), Turkey's major fashion chain.
Rates are from about $150, which is noteworthy not only because that's very reasonable in Istanbul but also because within this price range other places tend not to be as contemporary-stylish. There are places (that I also love) that are more Ottoman inspired, and there are gorgeous palace hotels that are very expensive. The House mini-empire has tried to offer something different, and it is refreshing and welcome. Learn more at http://www.thehouse-hotels.com/).

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