Staying Like a Local at the Witt Istanbul Hotel

Just ten minutes by tram from the bustle of the Sultanahment neighborhood of Istanbul, the Cihangir area feels far removed from the touts and tourists that crowd the city’s famous monuments and museums. The bohemian enclave is home to some of the city’s best restaurants, a thriving antiques district, and the luxurious yet unpretentious Witt Istanbul Hotel.

The 18 suites at the Witt are large, at a minimum of 323 square feet (30 meters), with king beds, leather couches and modern rocking chairs, large wooden wardrobes, and chrome and marble wetbars with mini-fridges, bar utensils, well-stocked mini-bars, and Nespresso machines.

Room at the Witt Istanbul

Room at the Witt Istanbul

The rooms are accented with blonde wood, light brown leather, black tile, marble, and chrome accents. There’s a definitely wow factor in the room’s large, open space and sleek, sexy furnishings, and that wow factor extends to the views. The hotel is a corner building up a hill, so every room has views of the city.

Sitting room at the Witt Istanbul Hotel

Sitting room at the Witt Istanbul Hotel

The Grand King Panoramic and the Queen Panoramic with Terrace glass-walled penthouse rooms have full terraces and prime views, but even from my room on the third floor,  I could see all the way to the Sultanahment area, across the Golden Horn.

The view from my room

The view from my room

The marble bathroom was equally inviting, with Molton Brown toiletries, and a shower big enough for two, complete with six heavenly showerheads. Each room has individually controlled A/C and heat, free Wi-Fi, an iPod dock, flat screen satellite TV, cordless phone and a laptop-sized safe. I was particularly impressed with added touches like soundproof walls and light-proof curtains that made my room feel like my own private sanctuary amidst the chaotic streets of Istanbul.

Upon arrival, all guests are offered a complimentary welcome drink, as well as a map and brief overview of the city, in the hotel’s lobby lounge. As we sipped our drinks, my husband and I chatted with the concierge, who gave us tips on where to eat, where to shop, and how to have a more authentic experience of the city (such as taking a commuter ferry instead of a touristy Bosphorus cruise). Between the staff’s tips and the hotel’s location away from the tourist sites, we felt as though we were able to see the locals’ side of Istanbul much more easily than we would have otherwise. Come nightfall, a short walk took us to block after block of eclectic cafes, restaurants, and lounges filled with trendy young Turks.

The lobby of the Witt

The lobby of the Witt

The lobby bar serves coffee and drinks all day, as well as the complimentary breakfast each morning from 7:30 to 11am. Those who want to eat in their room can do so at no extra change, but I enjoyed selecting from the massive spread myself. Each morning I could choose from a range of coffee drinks, teas, and juices; several locally-made cheeses,jams, and yogurts; a selection of organic fruits and vegetables; bowls of cereal; platters of pastries and breads; locally-raised meats; and cooked-to-order egg dishes.

Part of the breakfast spread at the Witt

Part of the breakfast spread at the Witt

The hotel also offers a lot of free perks and extra services: wifi is free, an English-language newspaper is delivered each morning, guests can order in from local restaurants, baby cots are available at no extra change, and the hotel, which doesn’t have its own parking, will park guest cars in a local lot free of charge.

Umbrellas are available for complimentary guest use, unlimited bottled water is available at no cost, and there’s a lobby iMac with Skype headset for guest use. Staff will also make tour and restaurant reservations, call taxis or arrange transportation, and print boarding passes. During my stay, there was no request that went unanswered, usually with staff going above and beyond to ensure my happiness. Staying at the Witt Istanbul let me feel like a local and stay in one of the best areas of Istanbul without sacrificing luxury, comfort, and superior service.

If you go: Room rates start at €189 (around $250) per night and go up to €259 ($350) per night. Book online at the hotel website or compare rates with agoda.com or Priceline.

I was a guest of the Witt Istanbul Hotel but all opinions are my own. 

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  1. Tim

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