SuB Karaköy manages to be both chic and incredibly friendly, both interesting and dedicated to certain creature comforts that will warm the heart of a Cornucopia reader, such as a really good breakfast with superb olives and really good white (feta) cheese (a rarity even in good hotels) – the secret is that owners are completely hands-on without being in anyway intrusive, and being lovely people they attract lovely, friendly staff.
The SuB is on the Tophane edge of Karaköy, the old European port district that is unquestionably the buzziest epicentre of Istanbul gallery life. Rooms are bold and contemporary to match.
In terms of getting around, it is also amazingly well situated, a minute’s walk from a tram stop that whisks you into the Old City in under ten minutes, three minutes the Karaköy ferry (for boats to Üsküdar on the Asian shore and up the Golden Horn), and five minutes from the Tünel station that pitches you up in Beyoğlu, Istanbul’s Latin quarter. It is also in a neighbourhood with some of the best restaurants in town, and a stone’s throw from the newly restored and very comfortable, rather chic Kılıç Ali Pasha Hamam.
SuB Karaköy offers all the usual modern amenities. Rooms are light and spacious, decorated with sleek, natural materials, accented with paintings from local artists. The downside? Well it is a bit like Dr Who’s Tardis. In cool grey black, it is wonderfully invisible on the outside and easy to drive past on the busy main road in front of it. And no, it is not an old-fashioned boutique hotel.