Hotel Review: Soho House Istanbul
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Being an SPG member, I usually prefer to stay at a St. Regis property in any city. However, since my latest trip was an actual vacation with friends who were all staying at the well-situated Soho House Istanbul, I decided to leave The Points Guy at the door for a bit and stay with them. After all, everyone deserves a break from their routine once in a while, right?
I’m a Soho House member and previously enjoyed a stay at Soho House Berlin, so I was eager to experience another Soho House property — and I’m reviewing my stay because I know that other travelers to Istanbul will be curious about it, as well. (Also: I just can’t help myself!)
Opened earlier this year, the Soho House Istanbul is located in the historic Palazzo Corpi in the Beyoglu neighborhood. The club has a courtyard garden, two rooftop pools, a fitness center, a private screening room, several events spaces and a signature Cowshed Relax Spa.
The property itself is a compound of three buildings, and the new hotel component has 87 bedrooms. It’s a unique building, and from what I saw none of the rooms were exactly the same. One of my friends had a fun attic-type room, and even though it was a Small (the room categories are called Tiny, Small, Medium, etc.), it was super chic.
The property is only a few stories high, and I certainly didn’t have a view from my room. However, I did like the fact that it’s boutique-y, hip and young, all without being snobby in that W way.
I booked a Large Mezzanine room in the Annex building. Large Mezzanine rooms have king-size beds, walk-in rainforest showers and a freestanding bathtub on the mezzanine level, with a living room downstairs. All rooms include complimentary Wi-Fi, at least one TV, a mini-bar, tea and coffee, homemade biscuits and Cowshed toiletry/bath products.
If you’re a member, you can book immediately online and get discounted room rates. My member’s rate for the Large Mezzanine room was €367 ($423) per night including taxes. It was noted on my confirmation that this rate didn’t include club activities and amenities, and that an “existing Soho House member must be present in the room.”
If you’re not a Soho House member, once you enquire about a booking online you’ll receive the following message: “Thank you for your enquiry. Our reservations team will be in touch with you shortly.” Waiting to be contacted by email can take 24 hours or more, but note that you’ll receive somewhat faster service if you call the hotel directly.
When I called to request non-member rates, a cheerful staff member at the front desk quoted me the following rates per night: Tiny, €225 ($257); Small, €270 ($308); Medium Mezzanine, €800 ($914) on weekends) / €615 ($702) on weekdays; Large Mezzanine, €900 ($1,028) on weekends / €715 ($817) on weekdays. (Note that these rates don’t include 8% VAT per night.) Be aware that service given to non-members on the phone can be spotty — some staff members may be helpful and communicative, while others may be less so.
My membership offered additional booking perks. Even before we arrived, the concierge and hotel staff were super helpful in arranging all of our car transfers, a fantastic tour guide, and out-of-the-box ideas like a sunset boat ride under the Bosphorus bridges, as well as taking care of all of our dinner reservations.
You’re not allowed to take pictures in the club, which includes the public spaces like the lounge and the rooftop club, and I didn’t want to break that rule and lose my membership. (Hilariously, corporate attire is frowned upon as well, and I found it pretty easy to stick to this rule, too.) Fortunately for this review, though, I took lots of pictures of my room.
And wow, was my room gorgeous. The clever design included a dramatic staircase as well as a massive chandelier that accentuated the open-loft mezzanine, and there was an exciting mix of original details (like the floor and the fireplace) and classic-to-modern touches.
My velvet-upholstered bed was super-plush, laid with Egyptian cotton sheets and a soft throw. And though I didn’t even realize it until after turndown service one night, a TV comes right out of the foot of the bed.
There was a big bathtub right next to the bed (in case you’re into that), and the walk-in shower was roomy and stocked full of Cowshed products.
In fact, everywhere I looked on the mezzanine there were Cowshed products. You aren’t allowed to take these full-sized products with you, but you may use as much as you’d like while you’re there. And of course, they’re for sale: A 10.14-oz. bottle of Knackered Cow Relaxing Bath & Shower Gel costs $25 on the Cowshed website.
In addition, the hotel had a dental kit and lots of other amenities; it even gives out free condoms — unlike the W, which sells its intimacy kits for near-extortionate prices. There was a small library in the mini-lobby area on my floor, as well as various cafes and meeting areas on the property, and a lot of different nooks and crannies to explore.
Even though Istanbul is known for its hamams, I opted to sleep in on the day my friends went out into the city in search of a scrub-down. When I woke up, though, I was hankering for a massage, so I went to the Cowshed Relax Spa on the Soho House’s lower level. And let me just tell you, it was one of the best deep-tissue massages of my life.
I was unable to pronounce my masseur’s name, but I was told that it equates to the Turkish word for sunshine (güneş). He was amazing, and the facilities were beautiful. They include a barber shop-type salon for men, high-end hamam treatments and a full spa menu.
The rooftop pool in the club building is basically a plunge pool, while the pool inside the hotel building is more of a lap pool. At the latter, no liquor or food is served.
Speaking of food: When we arrived, our rooms weren’t quite ready, so we chose to wait over a meal at the on-site Greek restaurant, called Mandolin Terrace. There’s another Mandolin at the Soho Beach House in Miami, and happily, this one has the same menu. The food was delicious, and the place itself has gorgeous views.
The only issue I had were small, service-oriented things that I thought were a little bit weird. For example, there’s no 24-hour room service, so don’t come home late at night thinking that you’re going to get a snack (which I sometimes like to do). And when I did order room service one day, they didn’t bring napkins, condiments or even a glass for the bottle of water I ordered.
Being a hotel guest gets you access to the rooftop club, which is absolutely stunning. All the glitterati in Istanbul go there, and late at night it’s a real hotspot.
My Visit to the St. Regis Istanbul
I actually visited the St. Regis Istanbul while I was in the city; it’s a stunning property with an amazing rooftop lounge. In theory, it should only take 20 minutes in a cab between the two properties, but Istanbul traffic can often be horrendous, and the trip would more likely than not take upwards of an hour each way. Nobody’s got that kind of time while on vacation.
The St. Regis is set in a posh, upscale neighborhood right near the Park Hyatt, where I stayed last time I was in Istanbul; this area’s not unlike the Upper East Side of Manhattan, and if this sounds like your vibe, I’d definitely recommend the St. Regis for your stay in Istanbul. For me, though, the Soho House’s location in the Beyoglu neighborhood — which feels more like Chelsea or the Meatpacking District and is closer to Taksim square — was more my cup of tea.
In general, the Soho House Istanbul is chic, cool and at a decent price point. If you like to be around pretty people and pretty hotel rooms, this property is for you.