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Chambers of the Boheme

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Hostelz.com's Review
The Chambers of the Boheme is a different kind of hostel. The building, the rooms, and the layout all feel more like a small, elegant boutique hotel rather than a hostel, and the atmosphere is also different than most -- more like staying in someone's beautiful home (with other cool guests from all over) than a hostel. If you are tired of the same old same old of the hostel world, Chambers of the Boheme makes a refreshing change.

The Location

Located in Beyoglu and just a very short walk from Taksim Square, the very heart of Istanbul's shopping, dining, nightlife, and entertainment district, you are spoilt for choice when it comes to things to do in the area. The neighborhood is lively pretty much twenty-four/seven, and on weekend nights it is an absolute circus.

With that in mind, the normally straightforward process of finding this hostel can be quite difficult on a Saturday night, as the streets and small lanes and alleys branching off from the main pedestrian drag (Istiklal Cadessi) are so packed with revelers that it's difficult to even make your way close enough to the buildings to see the small Chambers of the Boheme sign in the doorway. Your best bet is to look for the Cafe Boheme next door, with its menu specials written on an old antique-looking mirror, and then look to the doorway just beyond, where the hostel entrance can be found. Taksim Square is the main hub for transportation in Istanbul, so pretty much all buses, subways, and trams come here, as well as it being the main departure point for airport shuttles and other forms of transport.

The neighborhood is basically the center of everything in Istanbul. Here you will find hundreds and hundreds of restaurants, cafes, bars, nargile (water pipe) spots, clubs of all types, from international chains (plenty of Starbucks) to little indie hole in the walls. It's a bit of a hike (or a tram or bus ride) to Sultanahmet, the main tourist area, but this is easily done in the daytime, whereas being in the Beyoglu area at night is invaluable if you want to go out, as (in contrast to the sleepy and touristy Sultanahmet area) the party never stops here.

Rooms and Bathrooms

The rooms are beautifully decorated with antique style furniture, including classy velvet chaises longues in place of beds in some rooms (they are remarkably comfortable), little bedside tables, and large wardrobes with hangers. There are no more than four beds to a dorm, and private rooms are also available. There are two rooms per floor, with a separate shower and toilet/sink on each floor. The bathrooms are small but modern and clean.

Common Spaces

The common space for the hostel is technically next door in the cafe, where you are allowed to spend time without buying anything (though hostel guests do get a discount if you decide to order something), and also where you take your free breakfast in the morning (the classic Turkish breakfast of egg, olives, cheese, tomato, cucumber, bread, and jam). However, most socializing seems to happen in the lobby area of the hostel, where there are a few chairs and couches grouped around a table near the front desk. Ahmet, who runs the place, truly cares about his hostel and his guests, and loves to get to know them. What starts out as an impromptu chat between travelers in the lobby often turns into an all night affair with others joining the fun as they attempt to enter or leave the hostel.

With the limited common areas (there is also no kitchen as per usual with Istanbul hostels) you wouldn't think this would be a particularly social hostel, but somehow it is, and it is common to know every single person staying in the hostel whether it's from passing or hanging out in the lobby, breakfast in the cafe, or meeting in the rooms.

Summary

The main complaint is that the checkout time of 10 a.m. can be a bit brutal, especially after the late nights that both the hostel and the neighborhood are likely to provide. But overall, this hostel is a great counterpoint to the big, anonymous, institutional hostels. If you're ready for a unique hostel experience in Istanbul, this intimate, charming place is just the ticket!

by Cam
Hostelz.com Staff Reviewer
July 2009

Photos taken by the Hostelz.com reviewer — Genuine photos you can trust.
Map
Location/Contact
How is Chambers of the Boheme rated on other websites?
 OverallCleanlinessStaffLocationAtmosphereSecurity
Hostelworld  
92%
86%
96%
97%
90%
92%
Hostels.com  
95%
91%
97%
97%
97%
95%
HostelBookers  
95%
90%
99%
100%
93%
95%
HostelsClub  
Not listed on HostelsClub.
Average  
94%
89%
97%
98%
93%
94%
Chambers of the Boheme Reviews from the Web
Hostelz.com Guest Reviews
5   Amazing hostel and perfect location! Thıs ıs the best hostel I have ever stayed at. It was extremely clean and ın an amazing location very close to Taksim Square ın a really fun area wıth vıbrant nightlife. There are a lot of dıscos and clubs nearby so you do not have to take a taxı anywhere to go out. It ıs a small hostel but we met some great people and everyone there ıncludıng the staff was very nıce. The hostel owner was super accommodating and turned the heat on when we were cold and was always on the lookout to make sure there were no ıssues. We had orıgınally only planned to stay for 3 days at that hostel but ended up staying 6 because we found ıt to be so comfortable. Stay here!!!!  , United States ()
5   100% Fantastic hostel, especially the location is excellent, at Taksim square, transportation very convenient here, bus to all parts of turkey, bus to airport, Subway.The room is very clean and warm. BTW there are lots of bar/ restaurant/shops in surrounding.  , Kazakstan ()
5   Great hostel in a great location This is a great hostel, in a perfect location. There is tons of nightlife within walking distance, and also public transportation if you want to go to a different part of the city. The Havas airport bus is a 10 minute walk away. The hostel was clean and comfortable, and the owner was very helpful. I would definitely stay here again.  , USA ()
5   Like in the pictures Everything is great over there -- beautiful rooms, good place, and good price, helpful owner.  , Lithuanian ()

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