Old vs new. The city of Istanbul does this contrast so well. A place that’s been built and sculpted over millennia, but that is as modern and first world as any. And thanks to Hanchi hostel, I got to experience both sides of Turkey’s amazing capital.
Hanchi finds itself in Istanbul’s old town – an area known for the grand mosques, buzzing bazaars and centuries-old palaces that make Istanbul famous. In areas like Sultanahmet it’s all ancient marble, weathered walls and the heavy scent of history. It’s stunningly beautiful, but it’s called the old town for a reason.
The hostel beautifully juxtaposes that old world vibe. Hanchi’s owners have created a sleek, funky and modern hostel in one of the best locations in Istanbul. You’re no more than a 15 minute walk away from the Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque, in an area that is choccas with dining and drinking options. When I asked the dude at the bar where to head for a good feed, he slyly tapped his nose and pointed me to a local haunt just around the corner which offered a stupid amount of awesome quality food at around half the normal Sultanahmet price.
The hostel itself is but a baby, having opened up just a few short months before I stayed. The freshness is, as you’d expect, refreshing. The team have gone out of their way to make Hanchi the coolest place in town. The bottom floor is a massive bar/dining/entertainment space – the perfect communal area to meet fellow travellers. There are pub games like pool and darts, a stage for live performers, and even a projected Xbox system.
The 3 floors above house the dorms and private rooms, and they are all fresh, functional and gorgeous. Dorm beds come with your own power socket, light and safe locker, and honest to God, the mattress and quilt combination was the single most comfortable dorm bed I’ve ever slept in. I don’t toss around those sort of statements willy-nilly. It was amazing. It probably helped that every room is fitted with an air conditioner, which during the Istanbul summer is generally set to ‘frosty’.
There are a tonne of other cool bits and bobs around the place. A black and white colour theme runs through the whole place, and the checked floor pattern is put to full use with an oversized chess set in the courtyard. There are cool little decorations and fitting everywhere – I particularly like the wall lamps the lads made out of spare engineering parts.
On top of all the fun, Hanchi just does the basics of a good hostel well. The place would have to be up there with the cleanest I’ve ever been in, the breakfast is free and generous, and the staff all make you feel at home.
Hanchi is a new hostel that, if it keeps doing what it’s doing, will get very popular very fast. If I were you I’d be heading there right now.