La Casa: Istanbul, Turkey (Home Point Property Management)

Where: The White House Apartment building, Beyoglu – Istanbul, Turkey

When: December 2012 – January 2013

Why: When our tourists visas for the European Union (actually, the Schengen zone) expired, we weren’t ready to go to Africa yet because the holidays were making housing difficult. Flights were very inexpensive to Istanbul, and KC has always wanted to visit Turkey, so why not?

Where within Istanbul: we selected an apartment in Beyoglu, an area on a hill overlooking the Bosphorus Straits well-known for its shopping and trendy neighborhoods, and home to Galat Tower, Istiklal Street (a 1.5 mile long pedestrian street with shops, restaurants and nightclubs), and Taksim Square, the heart of Istanbul (public transport routes start/end, demonstrations break out, and public ceremonies are held here).

Street address: Emin Cami Sk No:41, Beyoğlu, Istanbul Turkey


How we found it: This apartment took some work. Furnished 1-bedroom short-term rentals in Istanbul were plentiful in the $1,300 range but we need to stay below $1,000 and were beginning to despair that maybe Istanbul would be too expensive. I kept varying my Google searches and clicking further and further down the result list. Eventually I had success with a “student housing” search when I found http://www.homepoint.com.tr. Nevim and Julia, an architect and interior designer, have a business which includes several properties in Beyoglu which they have renovated (check their Facebook page for some astounding photos of the projects they have undertaken). Julia lived in Germany so through her contacts they rent primarily to study-abroad students from Germany


How much: 850 Euros/month with 100 euro security deposit. Utilities are separate and we will pay them on our final day since we’re only staying for 6 weeks. The price includes weekly cleaning and fresh bedding.

Pros:

  • Quiet, transitional neighborhood (our building is the nicest on the block) with neighbors going about their daily business and 2 churches across the street for even quieter neighbors.
  • Easy access to small local markets and one bigger “Dia” grocery store. 15-minute walk to metro. Plenty of non-tourist cafes in the neighborhood but if you want to hear your options in English it’s only a short walk to Istiklal.
  • The apartment has decent wifi (4Mbps, and their other buildings have up to 12) which has been 100% reliable, if a little slow in the evenings when everyone is online. Most of the time we can Skype if we choose weekday evenings and experiment with the best location in the apartment.
  • The apartment has 4 heaters so we can stay as warm as we like. The water pressure in the shower is very strong. The kitchen is fairly well-equipped (a bread knife and a grater would be nice).
  • The renovation was top-notch. Although we can hear the upstairs neighbors when they throw dinner parties, if we go to bed and close the (solid wood) door we no longer hear a thing. Drawers are self-closing, a nice touch. Nothing sparks when we plug it in like in our Florence apartment. The furnishings (Ikea) are modern, new and attractive, even if the walls are a bit…white.

Cons:

  • The bed has some unfortunate springs which occasionally find a rib.
  • No dining table. Even after asking about a table, none has materialized, making prepping/eating dinner on the coffee table a frustrating throwback to college days.
  • Bed linens are provided only for the number of people living there; if we had guests we would need to find bedding for the pullout couch.
  • We have a lot of water outages but I’m fairly certain it’s related to some serious-looking water line replacements happening nearby. They always wait until after most people would be at work and it comes back on sometime between 10 pm and 4 am. (Poor bastards out there working all night in January…) We’ve learned to keep a 2-gallon jug filled with water, but hopefully this is a temporary situation. The electricity has never flickered.
Advertisements

13 comments

  1. Nice place. But what exactly are “self-closing drawers”???

    1. I know – it’s like magic. You push them closed and then something takes over and they gently close on their own. Hard to explain but it seems to keep them from slamming shut loudly. :o)

  2. It does look nice! I like the park too!

    1. I know – it’s really nice, huh? This is the park where KC gets mobbed by the kids when he tries to exercise.

  3. BTW, Homepoint takes you to a spam website.

    1. Thanks – I forgot to add the turkey identifier at the end. Fixed now!

      1. Actually I should have asked…”what are self-closing drawers and why have I never seen them in the US???”. I’m sure you’ve experienced this during your travels…seeing some sort of gadget or gizmo that you’ve never seen in the US. For example, the airport in Zurich has escalators that don’t move till you step on them. And in Bogota they have escalators that move really slowly until you step on them.

  4. I know! We saw those escalators in Istanbul’s airport last week. These don’t move at all (I thought they weren’t working) until you step on them and I turned to KC and said, “Now WHY aren’t these used in the U.S.!!” Another one I love: electric kettles. My water for tea is ready in something like 60 seconds. Danielle had one in Chile, too. I think they can be found in the US but they’re not common like everywhere else in the world.

    1. And the hot water heaters that light when you open the hot water tap and only heat what you’ll use right away. I know you had one of those once but I’ve always wondered why they’re not used more in the US, they’re great!

  5. Ah, you have one of those super cool electric kettles! We fell in love with those in Japan and thought we could buy one here – looked at the “Everything Store” we sent you guys to, but no luck. Guessing since it’s a coffee drinking culture, not really a thing here. Fun to see your “new” (soon to be old) apartment!

    1. No, we had one in Florence, too. I’ll send you a photo; maybe after school one day stop by the building and ask Pietro where you might find one? He’s a Florentine native and knows all except how to ride the trains (!!!!). I had no idea we were just lucky – I assumed they were everywhere.

      1. Oh, thanks – I didn’t realize – now I have a quest! Was trying to remeber where else on our travels other than Japan and England we had them…

  6. Speaking of escalators…
    2 weeks before Bobbi was born, I flew from Yuma, Arizona to Canton, Ohio to await her impending birth. Had to ride an escalator to baggage claim. I stepped on the escalator with my belly-full of Bobbi, and the whole system broke down, for hours! My mother, who came to transport me home from the airport, laughed so hard, she cried.

    And speaking of coffee tables…Did I ever tell you the one about Bobbi and her sister having a knock-down, drag-out junior high style sister fight? One pushed the other onto the coffee table and promptly, a table leg broke. Two frightened sisters glued it together, hoping it would not be noticed. It wasn’t…at least not until the following day when the same 2 sisters came in from school, and in front of their mother, one younger sister dropped a heavy pile of schoolbooks onto that same besieged coffee table. Crack went the table leg.
    Years later, when fear was a long forgotten thing, 2 sisters finally confessed to their mother that the table leg actually broke the day before and rebroke from the weight of the books. Thanks to the fine craftsmanship of a highly skilled Amish woodworker, the table leg finally healed well.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: