I discovered a recently opened hotel while walking on İstiklal Avenue last week: the Ravouna 1906. One of the newly renovated buildings in Beyoğlu, Ravouna is also one of the best-protected buildings on İstiklal Street. It is just next to the beautiful building housing the Consulate General of the Netherlands. It makes you feel all the history, spirit and sensitivity of Beyoğlu at once. The building bought by İsmail and Canan Turfanda in 2011 has undergone an intensive restoration. Greeting you at its entrance are the building's original wooden cabinets and its café, which revives Pera with its special coffee smell. It is full of European and American tourists at every hour of the day. The mezzanine, where wooden cabinets continue to invite you, serves as a display area. This mezzanine, I believe, has no comparison to any hotel in Turkey. Moreover, this mezzanine, which is as old as the building, will serve as a gallery for artists from around the world and host art workshops in the upcoming months. In other words, Ravouna is not only a hotel but also an establishment that supports the arts.
On the next floor is a larger hall of the cafe, where you find an old coffee machine and comfortable sofas. I advise you to pay attention to the originality of the flooring in the whole building but especially on this floor. While the middle floors were maintained as an eight-room boutique hotel, there is a wonderful terrace on the top floor.To reach the terrace of Ravouna 1906, you need to climb up to the seventh floor of the building. The moment you step on the terrace, the historical peninsula, Hagia Sophia, Topkapı Palace and a mesmerizing Bosporus view welcome you. The decoration of this new terrace in Pera is reminiscent of the cozy atmosphere of home. Thanks to its large, comfortable sofas, household lampshades and coffee tables, you can have huge dinners in a lounge environment rather than a restaurant. While you can gaze over the Bosporus from the back of the hotel, you can also have a bird's-eye view of İstiklal Avenue from the front side of the terrace. Congratulations to the architects of the hotel, Mustafa and Handan Öney, for the warm atmosphere that they have created.
You can sip the cocktails Ravouna has prepared specially for fall in its bar or taste its luscious meals in the company of a spectacular Bosporus view. The menu includes outstanding tastes such as gyoza ravioli with fowl, salmon tartar and octopus as well as pompom jumbo shrimps. Likewise, the eggplant risotto and pink quinoa salad are delicious. The restaurant's head chef is a long-time acquaintance of mine, Hüseyin Vural, and a very experienced culinarian. I especially loved the do-it-yourself bruschetta he prepared. The toast and the toppings are served, and you create your own bruschetta yourself. In addition, I loved the orange olive oil that I tried for the first time at this place. Likewise, you must try the sorbet with hard candies. The floral plates and the service reflect the old spirit of Beyoğlu. Additionally, on Friday and Saturday nights, jazz music and live DJ performances fill the place with music as you pleasurably watch the gorgeous Istanbul sunset. They will also be serving brunch on Sundays starting in October.
The hotel rooms are very lovely as well. There are eight rooms, each designed in a different design but similar concept. The rooms have a common theme: Istanbul. You can see the modern factors and details reflecting Beyoğlu and old Istanbul together. I especially loved the cast antique heater cores in the rooms. Likewise, the paintings in every room depicting Istanbul bring the hotel together with art. The furniture, mostly in grays, yellows and browns, intensifies the spirit. The old taps and sinks in the bathrooms and the pillows in front of the windows take you to an old Istanbul apartment.
If you are seeking a nostalgic Beyoğlu journey, I encourage you to visit Ravouna. Stay at its hotel, taste its meals or at least sit down and enjoy a fresh Brazilian coffee. Congratulations to İsmail and Canan Turfanda for giving such a historic building to Istanbul's tourism and Turkish culture.
While in Beyoğlu, I also recommend you listen to Elif Kaya who performs at Çiçek Bar, perhaps after a dinner at Ravouna. Elif performs on Saturday evenings with her strong voice, talent and impressive beauty. Her stage performance is as enjoyable as her new album.
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