The exclusive House hotel and restaurant chain have pulled off another coup in the acquisition and renovation of this superb stone edifice, built in 1863 as the headquarters of the Credit General Ottoman Bank. As much as possible of the former bank's grandiose interior has been left intact by noted designer Sinan Kafardar, not least the polished marble and granite flooring, high corniced ceilings, neoclassical columns, and arched windows. More fun are the original vaults, with steel doors made by the Berlin-based Arnhem company, from which diners at the in-house restaurant can pick their own bottle.

There are several categories of rooms, with those overlooking the Golden Horn and Old City commanding the highest prices, but all have luxurious bathrooms clad with vibrantly-hued Carrera marble and soothing rain showers, while bedrooms have proper desks, LCD televisions, coffeemakers, and iPod docks—plus the usual features such as safe boxes. One of the best things about a stay in the Vault is its brilliant location. Great views across the Golden Horn to the   Old City apart, a few minutes' walk will take you up into trendy Galata and its tower, while even nearer you can sit down with the locals and enjoy a bargain fish meal in the waterfront fish market—or stroll across the bridge to the famous Spice Bazaar. Oh, and the hotel even has its own art curator, so expect a great introduction to the area's vibrant contemporary arts scene.