I knocked on the door that read ‘Asli Tunca’, and was led through a dark entry hallway opening into the most enchanting space one couldn’t have imagined existed from the modest cobblestone street. Beautifully lit by a long wall of glass doors leading to a secret garden hidden inside the concrete walls – we had reached an oasis in the heart of Istanbul.
Fresh strawberries dipped in chocolate rested on a bespoke mirrored table as the charming Belgian painter and sculptor, Carl Vercauteren, greeted us with champagne in vintage Belgian crystal glasses I’m forever trying to locate to this day. While admiring each beautifully curated detail, I glanced up to see Asli glide elegantly down the grandest of staircases in a flowing white to-the-floor dress, gracefully smoking a cigarette like a 1940s star destined for the screen – It was a scene straight from the pages of Vogue.
5 years have passed since that first meeting and I have grown to know Asli and Carl well, seeing their home and showroom continue to develop into something even more interesting and mesmerising than the transformation before. Their latest evolution is Hazz – a boutique hotel in the centre of Istanbul’s liveliest quarter, with such a fitting name considering ‘Hazz’ is Turkish for ‘enchantment’. Yes, their truly one-of-a-kind [for lack of a better word] 19th century mansion is now open to the public with 4 completely unique rooms; where every detail has been thoughtfully analysed, designed and created by the dream design duo themselves.
During a visit to Hazz you may stumble upon a private dinner among close friends in the main reception room, followed by late night dancing to French techno that you are more than welcome to join; meet a famous fashion designer smoking in the secret garden; or wake in the morning to find Carl and the cats sipping Turkish coffee and eating the most divine homemade Turkish treats. Always expect the unexpected. This is why Hazz is beyond extraordinary and special; and to me, will always be the ultimate home away from home.
For more information and to make a reservation visit hazzistanbul.com.