Reviewed by: Matt Glazebrook & Phebe Hunnicutt
The rooftop of the Member's Club
PRICE: from £170, room only
HOTEL LOCATION: Istanbul
ADDRESS: Evliya Çelebi Mahallesi Meşrutiyet Cad. No:56, 34430, Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey
TYPE OF HOTEL: Luxury, Private Member's Club
TYPE OF BREAK: City Break, Spa Break
HOTEL STYLE: Modern Luxury
Left, the Member's club. Centre and Right, the hotel buildings
The 13th addition to the Soho House empire is the furthest from the chain's central London birthplace, or at least it feels like it. It sits atop a hill in the Beyoğlu district of Istanbul, overlooking the Golden Horn and the warren-like streets one of the Turkish city's most ancient quarters, and a world away from the Greek Street media set. It makes for an intriguing cultural balancing act, as a burgeoning local creative class relaxes and spends amid old-world Ottoman glamour, while the calls to prayer and raucous street life of modern Istanbul echoes in the background.
A bar in the Member's Club building
The members’ club is housed in a sumptuous 19th century mansion, built for a Genoese merchant before serving as the US embassy and consulate general for most of the 20th century. Restored to just the right level of faded glory‚ this is the Soho House group's signature Instagrammable shabby chic on its grandest canvas yet (don't expect to actually snap any Instagram pics though – as with the other houses there is a strict 'no camera' rule, which makes this one of the world's last no selfie zones). Next to the magical main house, the hotel part of the complex feels more functional – all stylishly understated luxury, bathed in a sleepy, coffee-coloured half-light.
A guest room in the hotel at the Soho House, Istanbul
The two buildings are connected by a leafy terrace frequented by lunching businessfolk and coffee-sipping freelancers, and overnight guests have access to both house and hotel facilities. The former includes a rooftop bar with spectacular night-time views of the twinkling harbour lights and glowing minarets of the city centre, as well as the various other rooftop bars nearby – panoramic alfresco drinking being a favoured pursuit of bourgeois Beyoğlu. Sipping cocktails as the city spills down to the water below you, it’s not hard to see why.
–Sitting in the garden enjoying bar snacks with local flair and a glass of wine while people-watching.
–Sprawling on soft sheets while your roomie soaks in a vintage-style bathtub at the foot of the bed. Decadent!
–A large number of the rooms overlook the ring road. Noise wasn’t a problem during our stay but other guests have not been as lucky.
Need to Know: Soho House Istanbul
Number of rooms: 87 ranging from small to a full apartment than can be booked for long-term stays
Check-in/check-out times: 15:00 check-in, 12:00 check-out
Swimming pool: Two small pools. One on the roof of the hotel and another, designed more for posing than swimming, on the roof of the club.
Spa: The traditional hammam is on most Istanbul tourist itineraries, and a regular haunt for locals too. The Cowshed Spa in the hotel’s basement offers the Soho House’s indulgent interpretation of the famous Turkish bath experience, as well as standard treatments like relaxing oil massages.
The rooftop at Cecconi’s
Eating and drinking: Fans of the Soho House and the many restaurants in its group will find a lot of familiar items on the menus. At the Allis in the hotel, the much-loved poached egg on avocado toast remains a winner, but if you are looking for a more local flavour, give the menemen (eggs with peppers and feta) a go. For a more glamour-filled evening, Cecconi’s has an impressive rooftop location in its latest home.
Near to: The striking Galata Tower offers both a impressive vista from its top, and a useful nearby landmark if you lose yourself in Beyoğlu’s winding streets. Wander down to the Karaköy waterfront for a fresh fish sandwich in the bustling fish market, or east to fashionable café-bars of Galatasary.
Getting there: Istanbul’s efficient Metro runs from Ataturk Airport to the nearby Şişhane stop (with a transfer at Yenikapi). The tram from the old city stops at Karaköy, close as the crow flies, but in reality a steep climb away from the hotel (transferring to the funicular railway will save the uphill slog).