“I’zaz” ~ A modern loft space in Istanbul, Turkey

We are being hosted for our last two nights in Istanbul, at the unique loft spaces, “I’zaz”in the Taksim neighborhood of Istanbul. Izaz appeals to and attracts the more independent savvy travel or those that frequent Istanbul often and come to call it  a “home away from home.”
A novel concept for hotels, which is more of a rented loft apartment than a traditional hotel.
One cheerfully bright yellow door leads the way from the small alley into a beautifully renovated 5 story building.  The architects’ aim was to give each guest the feel of having their own apartment.
There is no central reception.  No lobby area, no check in, and therefore, no hassle. Just a code to get in, our name written on a small chalkboard outside our loft room and voila we are inside our loft space.
Izaz loft space apartment “hotel” in Taksim.
Our loft space is on the ground floor. The room has a modern minimalist design with exposed brick surfaces and a large photograph of Istanbul over the bed. It is a very cosy space and being on the bottom floor, we can open the window and invite a very friendly cat to come in for a few hours of warmth with us.
The building is built around a vertical staircase.  On the top floor, is a beautiful fully equipped kitchen for use by the guests of Izaz. It is a classy design, where the kitchen flows into an open patio area which has views over the neighbouring roof tops.
At night, the stars and bits of the Turkish skyline become flickering lights seen through the glass-encased veranda.

The Izaz lofts are located in a neighborhood that is vibrant both during the day and evening.  By day, we stroll through the cobble stone streets and shop at vegetable stands and local bakeries.
The neighbourhood is full of enticing store fronts…  one slow and yummy neighbourhood stroll turns up an aromatic tea shop, a cheese shop, a classic pickled vegetables shop and of course more than one serious baklava store and bakeries with hot simit (Turkish version of a chewy bagel) coming straight out of the oven.
Pickled everything…
Tea shop full of dried flowers and fruity tea mixes such as pomegranate, lavender and apple.
The infamous “limit” ~ Turkey version of a bagel.
Hot borek, phyllo dough pastry being cut into pieces. A very popular component of Turkish breakfasts with tea.
 By night, the nearby streets turn festive and there is a constant buzz of people.  All the restaurants on the small streets are packed full of people enjoying Turkish gastronomy. The specialty in many of them is a varied assortment fish and “mezzo” (small dishes of assorted Turkish treats such as eggplant in yogurt, anchovies, grilled red pepper and assorted pickles. Of course lamb kebab is pretty popular too.
Fried “hamsi” ~ anchovies. Available only in the Fall.
The neighbourhood is also a short walk away from the hyper trendy commercial Taksim street. (Reminiscent of Amsterdam due to the central tram way, pedestrian only and lined with sleek boutiques.) The streets are often jam packed with people… it is worth a few walks to experience the buzzing scene around this modern, shopping district.

We exit the larger walking street, in favor of smaller side streets.  Soon, we find a solid breakfast stop…

Fresh pomegranate or orange juice is a constant on the streets of Istanbul.
Hot rice pudding awaits the morning customers.
Fresh borek and pastry shop.
Turkish breakfast. Biggest and most drawn out meal of the day… Eggs, bread, fresh honey and cream, jams, cheese, olives, tomatoes and cucumber and of course Turkish coffee.

What better to do than to take a walk through town, aiming to  make our way across the Bosphorus toward the Topkapi Palace or its nearby rose garden…

Cats are everywhere in Istanbul and most of them are fed by store owners and residents.

Topkapi Palace.
Ikarus flies over Istanbul on a mural in the street.

Farewell Istanbul. It was short and sweet, and we will be back. Thank you to I’zaz for hosting us.

For more information on Izaz – see: http://www.izaz.com

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