The W Istanbul is at the heart of the historic Akaretler Row Houses, a prime location in the authentic neighborhood of Beşiktaş filled with a variety of restaurants, cafes, design & art galleries. Nestled in a section of 19th-century row houses, W Istanbul offers contemporary spaces re-purposed for a globe-trotting young clientele who would like to explore Istanbul’s vibrant social scene. And the location helps that. Make sure to choose one of the rooms featuring private balconies or garden terraces with cabanas to enjoy your little oasis amid a bustling neighborhood. The rooms come with sleek modern furniture in bold colors, velvet seatings and playful details. W Lounge is a little restaurant bar to mix and mingle with cocktails and DJ music. A small spa with pilates classes and a Turkish bath, as well as a small but functional gym are also at service for your relaxation and daily workout schedule.
Akaretler Row Houses were commissioned as the first example of “collective housing” by Sultan Abdülaziz in 1875. These 138 brick and mortar townhouses were built at a privileged location just next to Dolmabahçe Palace in a way to form a fire shield for the palace. Fires were frequent in Ottoman Istanbul, as small wooden houses formed the majority of the housing stock back then. The row houses were rented out to the local elite and servants working at the palace to finance the grand mosque Sultan Abdülaziz dreamt of building on a hill overlooking the Dolmabahçe Palace and the Bosphorus. Due to the Sultan’s unexpected tragic death, this monumental mosque was never finished.
Mustafa Kemal Atatürk -the founding father of the Republic of Turkey- also lived in one of these houses with her mother. During Istanbul’s occupation by the allied forces in the First World War, he departed from this house -which is at the display as a museum today- and secretly passed into the Anatolian heartland to flame the campaign for Turkey’s independence.
Beşiktaş is a residential neighborhood popular among students due to its proximity to several leading universities of Istanbul (namely, Istanbul Technical University, Yıldız University, Galatasaray University, Mimar Sinan University, and Bahçeşehir University). So, expect to see many young faces during your strolls around. The best time to feel the vibe of the hood is on match day of Beşiktaş Jimnastik Kulübü football team when the Beşiktaş Fish Market turns into a festive ground with a cheerful crowd toasting beers in the local pubs. Other places not to miss in the vicinity are Dolmabahçe Palace Museum, Deniz Müzesi (Naval Museum), and Ortaköy neighborhood.