Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large

W Hotel, Istanbul

Hotel insider Cosmopolitan, hip and hassle-free. All the conveniences you expect from a high-end international chain.

Eye-catching: the car door is opened by a smiling doorman who, in his fitted white T-shirt and "W" belt, has clearly been employed because his strapping good looks complement the pretty Ottoman building that houses the hotel. Out of the sun's glare, the lobby is dark and cocooning, with floating grey silk curtains, glowing purple crystals and mirrored cubes. Check-in is quick, easy and informative and within minutes we are whisked off down a ground-floor corridor to our room.

Just a kilometre or so from the Taksim area, home to some of Istanbul's most lively nightlife, the hotel is the centrepiece of the Akaretler Row houses, which were originally built in the 1870s to house high-ranking workers from the nearby Dolmabahce Palace. The Row has been redeveloped recently into upmarket shops and offices, which makes it an easy temptation for rampant consumerists. Just a step away, the shops include Jimmy Choo, Catherine Malandrino, Sergio Rossi, Marni, Lanvin, Marc Jacobs and more. Behind the Row, a warren of busy little streets packed with bakers, cafes and clothes shops gives an insight into the life of the locals, while further along the banks of the Bosphorus is Ortakoy, a fashionable little square where a waterside Rococo mosque and the popular House Cafe preside over the cool locals, intrepid tourists and teenage boys diving into the water.

Couldn't be bettered: intimate, friendly, cheerful and unperturbable. Within minutes of arriving in the room, the W's "Insider" called to place herself at our service. "I'm the Insider," she said, which dispensed with any awkwardness over remembering names. She's the person to call if you need any help with anything at all within the hotel.

Compact but beautifully decorated in dark woods and white linens. The washbasins are in the main room but hidden behind a folding door, while the shower room is separate (with a super-powerful shower). There was an iPod dock, TV, DVD player and Wi-Fi, and a back door leading out to a pretty little private back yard, with a wicker sofa and table - perfect for a spot of breakfast or a light lunch when the weather's good. The first-floor rooms have little bridges leading to their own private terraces one tier higher. Best of all, though, are the beds, which gave us the best night's sleep we'd had in years. Literally. The W Signature bed is made especially for the hotel, and the sheets, at 410 thread count, are just as good.

Where to go to see the real Istanbul, the best local city walks, which are the new restaurants and which are the overrated tourist traps.

The hotel's ultra-cool restaurant Spice Market plays host to the suave hipsters of Istanbul. Many a well-tailored suit, a chic designer dress and a cigar are to be seen here, understandably: the Asian-fusion food is exceptional, the mood is intimate and the carved-wood design details are fabulous. The lobby and the Living Room lounge area also attract go-getting media and design types.

They spotted on my passport that it was my birthday and delivered a huge, delicious chocolate cake to the room, together with a glass amulet (against the evil eye, of course) and a card signed by all the staff. Now that's service.

Scraping the barrel here, the only quibble was that the room was a tad dark, even with the terrace door open.

Cosmopolitan, hip, hassle-free and comfortable, and all the conveniences you expect from a high-end international chain, but with enough charm and design details to make it definitively a Turkish hotel. Superb.
W Hotel, Suleyman Seba Cad No 22, Akaretler, Besiktas, Istanbul 34357, Turkey, +90 212 381 2121. @email:www.whotels.com Doubles from Dh1,160 per night (excluding breakfast and VAT).

Back to the top

More articles


Editor's Picks

 Styled with bleached bobs and pale skin, the models wore clean and sporty separates reminiscent of the chic workwear of The Hunger Games. Courtesy Getty Images

Fashion Forward: Thoughtful tailoring at Asudari

The womenswear label Asudari showcased a collection that featured sharp masculine tailoring, but with feminine silhouettes.

Styled with bleached bobs and pale skin, the models wore clean and sporty separates reminiscent of the chic workwear of The Hunger Games.

Designer Lamia Asudari says she was influenced by Delftware ceramics from the 16th century, as well as the imagery of weaponry and artillery. Indeed, pistols, grenades and guns were emblazoned over jackets and dresses.

 Several of Jo Baaklini's pieces featured fruit prints. Courtesy Getty Images

Fashion Forward: At Starch, watermelon shirts, anyone?

“We need to cultivate our own fashion heroes — our own regional brands,” stressed Fashion Forward’s honcho Bong Guerrero in a press con two weeks ago.

Aptly, the slot for this season’s opening runway show was given to two newbies: Jo Baaklini and Timi Hayek, whose talents were scouted by Starch, a group dedicated to launching emerging Lebanese designers.

Between the two, Mr Baaklini had a stronger showing.

 Jean Louis Sabaji’s collection was very good when the tricks were toned down — like the simple white jumpsuit with a sculptural neckpiece. Stuart C. Wilson / Getty Images

Fashion Forward: Jean Louis Sabaji’s debatable debut

Jean Louis Sabaji’s collection was very good when the tricks were toned down — like the simple white jumpsuit with a sculptural neckpiece, the floral crop top, and the radiant yellow pleated skirt.

But most of the time he went too far. There were bell-bottoms, separates that looked like costumes from The Jetsons, and a yellow dress reminiscent of Bjork’s infamous Oscars swan dress — several disparate elements in one multicoloured, multilayered show.

 Launched in 2009 by childhood friends Arwa Abdelhadi and Basma Abu Ghazaleh, Kage bills itself as a label whose “ultimate goal is to design a collection appealing to all.” Courtesy Getty Images

Fashion Forward: Kage pleases all palates

Did the designers of Kage aim to showcase every type of basic clothing on their latest show?

Because there were skirts, shorts, trousers, off-shoulder tops, short dresses, cocktail dresses, long flowy dresses, spaghetti straps, jackets, hoods — and even pyjamas, which with the incoming summer heat, looked especially appealing.

Launched in 2009 by childhood friends Arwa Abdelhadi and Basma Abu Ghazaleh, Kage bills itself as a label whose “ultimate goal is to design a collection appealing to all”, they said in their statement.

 The standout was a grey hooded cape that created a tension between edge and elegance. Courtesy Getty Images

Fashion Forward: Polish, craft (and fur!) at The Emperor 1688

The best show of Day 1 at Fashion Forward was delivered by the three Golkar brothers behind The Emperor 1688.

The coats and capes were the clear winners: they came in all sorts of interesting colours and sizes — and featured exceptionally tailored proportions. There was a lot of volume, but also stiffness.

And whimsy: two favourites were a green double-breasted suit and a blue overcoat with a red clover pattern and gold buttons.

 Midway through Ezra's show, snow started falling from the ceiling. Ian Gavan / Getty Images for Fashion Forward

Fashion Forward: Ezra stuns in snow-covered show

Turns out the Filipino designer Ezra, known for his dreamy couture, still had a few surprises up his sleeve.

Midway through his show, snow started falling from the ceiling.

It created a starkly beautiful atmosphere for his intricately constructed gowns that seemed to be designed for an Ice Queen transported back to the 1950s.

He showed a collection that had a lot of technical firepower behind it: glittering iridescent fabrics paired with head and neckpieces that were moulded and stiffened to stand out in odd angles.

Events

To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National