First impressions count, and the Vault makes a very good one. A plush lobby complete with soaring ceilings and a grand piano detract from the unkempt cool of up-and-coming Karakoy that sits just beyond its imposing front doors. As its name suggests, the newest property of the boutique House Hotels collection was once a bank. Today’s manifestation is in keeping with the monied theme, and the Vault does a decent job of fusing old and new, much like the city it calls home. They’ve even hired an in-house curator to keep up to speed with the local contemporary art scene.
My room was small but perfectly formed, with hardwood fittings and a long, skinny balcony. Faultlessly tasteful, the sophistication of the decor was dampened slightly by the complicated lighting controls, which I still hadn’t mastered after three days. Similarly, the bathroom was beautiful, but the shower impossible to fathom (and believe me I’m used to such challenges), to the point where I had to phone and attempt to explain my embarrassing predicament to a well-meaning receptionist. Plus, up there on the 5th floor, the walls are, ironically, pretty thin; I could hear my neighbour’s (painfully long and dull) phone conversations all too clearly.
That kind of sums up my experience of the hotel: a glossy front with a few loose ends to tie up when it comes to the details that really matter. But, these are easily fixed, and with a few tweaks and a bit of experience, the Vault can more than manage the all-important leap from good to exceptional.
And actually, I’d stay there again — or perhaps at one of the other three spectacular looking hotels in the collection. Because you can just tell that once this hotel finds its feet it’ll go from strength to strength; the staff is wonderfully friendly and down-to-earth, and offset the loftiness of the ambiance. And downstairs in the spa, the hammam treatment was nothing short of heavenly.