Conceived in 2008, Witt Istanbul Suites is a genuine design haven. Once the Turkish headquarters of Ogilvy and Mather, it’s been nipped, tucked and stylishly reshaped into one of the city’s most smart and spacious stays, thanks to Wallpaper*-endorsed designer darlings, Autoban. Huge rooms, marble kitchenettes, Ross Lovegrove bathrooms and sassy modern furniture all make for the perfect pied-à-terre.
Huge apartment-style suites to spread out in
Staggering city views
Warm and stylish Autoban interiors and Ross Lovegrove modern marble bathrooms
A welcome drink and basket of fresh fruit on arrival
In the know
Also need to know:
Open from 8am to 11pm, the rooftop permaculture garden is an urban haven with striking views over the Bosphorus, Topkapi Palace and Galata Tower. It’s the perfect spot for a sundowner – but you’re welcome to don some gardening gloves and get involved, too.
Bring your swimsuit – although the Witt Suites doesn’t have a pool, you can soak up the sun in secrecy on your balcony, if you have one.
Relaxing diplomat – slinky suits and cocktail dresses.
Mr and Mrs Smith reviews
No one told me there was a Grand Prix for taxi drivers, and that it was being held in Istanbul on the weekend Mr Smith and I arrive in the city. By the time we’re dropped off, dizzy and disorientated, at the cool stone steps of the Witt Istanbul Suites, I seriously wonder if I’ll ever regain my balance again. Ten wobbly paces later, though, we’re in the soothing sanctuary of a sombrely lit lobby and all traffic woes are forgotten. The welcome we receive as we check in is warm and genuine, which, considering it’s 1am, is no mean feat.
I’m tired and still feeling slightly irked by the fact that one of our bags has decided to go somewhere else for the weekend, but all negativity disappears when we’re shown into our fifth-floor corner suite. It’s beautiful and my eyes are immediately drawn to the huge bed in which I hope to be imminently snoozing. Then I see the windows. I can vaguely hear someone trying to explain to Mr Smith how to make the fancy flatscreen TV work, but all my senses are now fully engaged on the view. The Bosphorus spreads out beneath us like a velvet blanket and the mosques of the Golden Horn are lit up like jewels beside a flame. ‘It’s OK,’ I say to the hotel manager. ‘We won’t be watching the TV.’ He looks mystified, as though I’ve said we won’t be sleeping in the bed.
The next morning, we wake in a dark and silent room after the best night’s sleep in ages. We pull up the blinds with the excitement of children on Christmas morning – and we’re not disappointed. The French doors next to the bed yield a view down to the turquoise Bosphorus across the manicured courtyard of the old Italian Hospital, and across to the Topkapi Palace. Thousands of higgledy-piggledy roofs sit in between, adding to the sense of chaotic beauty. We pop our iPod into the Bose dock, make ourselves some espresso and take our Turkish breakfast back to bed.
Being in our suite feels as though we’ve been given the keys to our coolest friends’ tip-top apartment for the weekend. There’s a kitchen for starters – how often do you see that in a hotel room? – and a bathroom that’s an intriguing mix of traditional and modern. Built with grey-veined marble, as found in many of the city’s hammams, it also features bobbly Ross Lovegrove fittings and a glass-walled shower – oh, and large bottles of Molton Brown products. The living area, which has its own Bosphorus-view balcony, comes with a leather-and-wood sofa, a marble coffee table, and a flatscreen TV and DVD player. The whole tone of the place is cosy and modern, with a simple natural palette of black, taupe, grey and white. A quirky, feminine touch can be seen in the floral patterns on the wardrobes and the white panel above the bed. Designed by Wallpaper*-friendly local architects Autoban, the end result is domestic luxury rather than hotel swank. I’d happily move in tomorrow.
When we finally bring ourselves to leave the room, we head over to Ni?anta?i for a session of what Mr Smith calls ‘nuclear shopping’. He’s got business meetings in the city tomorrow and all of his work outfits are in that missing bag. It takes him just an hour to find himself outfits for both work and play – about the same time it takes me to try on a swimsuit and then have a cappuccino to get over it. We eat close to the hotel, at Meyra on Akarsu Caddesi, where we enjoy the best aglio et olio this side of Rome and get delightfully sozzled in the warm afternoon sun.
The area of Cihangir, in which the Witt Istanbul Suites sits, is the sort of bustling quarter that only insiders know about. Its streets are a jumble of trendy cafés and creative start-ups, mixed in with traditional kebabçi, barbershops, mosques, hammams and crumbling family apartments. Just uphill from the hotel, at the junction with Akarsu Caddesi, is a 24/7 hub of taxi drivers, all-night terraced cafés and little eateries, whilst around another corner Anatolian women in traditional dress sit crocheting in the street and children with limpid eyes watch you from dark doorways. Just downhill from the Witt, on the shores of the Bosphorus, is the stylish Museum of Modern Art. In a city that, for thousands of years, has been at the crossroads of two cultures, perhaps it is natural to find such differences within a few square metres.
On Sunday morning, while Mr Smith goes off to talk business in his new clothes. When he returns, we head downstairs to check out, only to decide that we’ll stay here for a couple more days. ‘Welcome back,’ says the manager, smiling. ‘And the other good news is that your missing bag has arrived.’
I know exactly where it’s going to go. And, now that we’ve discovered the Witt, so do we. We genuinely don’t want to go home – unless, of course, someone in London is willing to lend us their beautiful, design-conscious apartment for the weekend.
Defterdar Yokusu No:26, Cihangir, Beyoglu, Istanbul, Turkey, 34433
1.5 mi / 2.4 km from city centre
- Internet services
- On-Site parking
- Complimentary in-room coffee or tea
- Onsite laundry
The hotel serves a Turkish breakfast buffet every morning, but you’ll have to take advantage of the numerous excellent eateries in the nearby area for lunch and dinner.
Grab a steaming mug of the hotel’s divine hot chocolate and curl up on a sofa in the lobby beside the bookshelves.
Breakfast is served between 7.30am and 11am, but drinks (tea, coffee, wine and spirits) are available from the lobby 24 hours a day.
You can order breakfast in your room, and the drinks menu is available at any time.
A soft jazz soundtrack permeates the lobby area, a relaxing, informal space decorated with wood laser-cut into floral patterns, low lime-green armchairs and cosy sofas.
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