Story and photos by Manos Angelakis
Spa photos by Barbara Angelakis
MGallery Galata Istanbul Hotel
Bankalar Caddesi No 21
Beyoğlu, Istanbul, Turkey34420
Fax: +90 212 417 34 34
Mesai Restaurant Reservations: +90 532 056 37 24
In the heart of Istanbul’s Beyoğlu district is the MGallery Galata Istanbul Hotel, a Sofitel property that can be a base for starting a special vacation in Turkey’s largest and most intriguing city.
Istanbul, straddles Europe and Asia and has been home to different cultures, civilizations and empires for over a thousand years.
The MGallery building, in the European Side, was originally constructed as a Turkish bathhouse (hammam) in 1720, before becoming the Italian Bank and the German Bank nearly a century later. In 2017, the entire structure underwent a major renovation that transformed it into the luxurious boutique hotel that it is today. Situated with a view of the Galata Tower and the Golden Horn, the Blue Mosque, the Grand Bazaar, and the Hagia Sophia, it is in a neighborhood of the ancient city steeped in history.
The location is great and the staff is very welcoming. MGallery is a smoke-free property.
The good sized rooms have either street views or a view of an interior garden facing what were the walls and dome of the original hammam. Free of charge WiFi is available in all areas, just ask the front desk for the code. The beds are comfortable and a choice of pillows is offered.
The hotel’s Qualia Signature, is a full-service spa in the historic Çeşme hammam space. The hammam is a timeless indulgence enjoyed by both men and women, locals and foreigners, and a not-to-be-missed experience. It is a cultural experience comperable to a gondola ride in Venice or a climb up the Eiffel Tower in Paris or embarking on a camel ride in Morocco, Egypt or the Sahara; you will love this traditional Ottoman treat.
Mesai Karaköy, the hotel’s restaurant has award-winning chefs; it is located on the terrace of the historic building and offers a stone oven, mouthwatering meze which should be shared so that many dishes can be tasted, outstanding seafood, very good kebabs and a view second to none. Ask to be seated by a window, if you reserve early and are seated well, you’ll have a magnificent view of the sunset across the Golden Horn. It combines Ottoman specialties and modern gastronomy. Prior reservation is required, as the restaurant is very popular and usually there are many locals dinning there.
The impressive breakfast is buffet style with a very good variety of dishes to pick from, but also has a manned egg station that offers omelets, fried eggs etc. I was perfectly happy to have a breakfast of tangy, thick yoghurt laced with aromatic honey from the nectar of chestnut trees from the forests of deep Anatolia.
A bar/lounge is by the reception, where you can unwind with a drink. There is a business center on site and 2 meeting rooms are available.
Above are all the desserved kudos; however there are also brickbats I should mention.
One, not the fault of the hotel, is the horrendous traffic plaguing the area. It seems that the hotel is located in the middle of Istanbul’s “lighting district”. Trucks and vans loading and unloading merchandise for these businesses double and triple park, clogging the streets. The small van that drove our group of journalists to the city locations we needed to reach, would take as long as 20 minutes to navigate the few blocks from the main artery to the hotel. This problem might correct itself as the congestion was also created by construction and modernizing of area buildings.
The other problem, that the hotel’s management can certainly address, is that on the weekend if you are on a floor near the restaurant, the music is too loud, too late into the night!
But I quibble! Over all, our experience in this hotel was very positive.
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