Istanbul City Guide

            Click on the names on bold for further details, location and prices.

            United cultures city

            Long gone are the days when Istanbul was a one culture city, Ottoman Empire capital. The Turkish economical center is nowadays one of the largest cities in the world and one of most exciting too. 13.5 million People inhabit Istanbul and the city’s 5.000+ square kilometers hide a lot of touristic potential. Its history, location, architecture and cultural melting pot, all combined, make up for one of those places you should visit the sooner the better.

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Istanbul is the perfect intersection between western and oriental culture

 

            Accommodation & eating

            The accommodation options in Istanbul are out-of-this-world. When searching for hotels you can consider, beside the usual aspects, whether if you want to stay on the European or Asian side of the town, in the inland or seaside, on an old palace or a futuristic building. Those are our main recommendations: on the A’jiayou will stay on one of the arguably best hotels in Europe. An old astonishing mansion with 16 rooms facing the Bosphorus sea, each one with an outstanding balcony where you can have dinner and a free boat at your disposal to take you to any desired location accessible by sea. Çıraĸan Palace Hotel Kempinskiis an all-in-one hotel – located in Besiktas, Çirakan Palace has an art gallery, cultural programs, a natural pool going to the Boshporus and a restaurant menu with the best from the Ottoman food tradition. Business costumers shall try Mövenpick, not only for its downtown location near the commercial center of Istanbul but also for the wellness center, perfect for any client that wants to stay fit and relaxed while negotiating. For those who want to stay out of the normative pre-determined routes, the Sumahanis what you’re looking for. Located just outside Instabul in a lovely fisherman’s village, this hotel offers a wide variety of fish-based dishes and boat trips besides the eccentric marble decoration and the beds facing the sea.

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Waterfront hotels are only the beginning in what Istanbul has to offer

            Oriental Istanbul is worldly-known for its Spas experience. Ciragan Spa & Hammamis right at the top of the list for its water therapies and 24-hour amenities that will relax you like never before in a luxurious palace on the outskirts of the town. Another 5-star Spa is the Motuswith both open air and interior facilities where you can try thermal water, Jacuzzi and lap pools. Çemberlitas Hamami is all about tradition: costumers wear a traditional cotton vest and immerse themselves in rare treatments like the hot marble or basin baths.  

Time-travel is possible when eating at the Asitane. This exquisite revival restaurant serves Ottoman food just like it was served in the 16th century, no changes made. Beşinci Katis located downtown and serves world food in a 5th floor terrace with a lovely view and live jazz music giving a unique feel to your meal. Head to the Mimolettand try out something on this Michelin-starred waterfront restaurant known for its sunset dinner at the terrace. When it comes to terraces, though, no other restaurant beats the 360 with its 360º view from a fully glassed terrace where traditional Turkish food is served – don’t forget to make your reservation, otherwise you will not find a table.

Being a Turkey eastern city, Istanbul has some of the finest wines of both Europe and Asia. Solera Wineryhas a rather extensive Turkish wine list on a tavern-like interior. Sensusis a cellar/bar/shop on Galata where wine and cheese are served for an optimal experience. Rougeis owned by a wine magazine founder and will please even the pickiest costumer with its wine cart and cozy decoration. The new Corvus Wine & Bite,both a winery and a wine museum, is probably the most successful winery in urban Turkey – find out why if you’re on Besiktas area.

IstARTbul

            One of Istanbul major art venues is the Museum of Turkish & Islamic Art; this state-museum shows Ottoman artifacts and modern Turkish art blending the Islamic ancient and contemporary artistic displays. Close to the Islamic Art museum is the Jewish Museum, located in a 4 centuries old synagogue and showcasing the Turkish Jews history, a rather important part of Istanbul history itself. Sakıp Sabancıis a cosmopolitan museum next to the Bosphorus Sea and one of the most visited in Istanbul given the participation on major exhibition routes.

For gallery lovers, the Akbank Kultur Sanat Merkeziis obligatory. International artists frequently display their production here and the building itself is an architecture landmark. Don’t be fooled by the Cartoon Museumname – it’s everything but childish with pieces dating back to mid-19th century. And if you love Zaha Hadid’s work then don’t miss out the Garanti Galeri  for design and architecture prodigious exhibitions.

As the city itself, Istanbul’s design shops are astonishing in the art of blending all sorts of cultural traditions and patterns. Hall Istanbul is likely the visitor’s first choice for its vintage chic collection. Modern Tarihhas an impressive oriental feeling embedded in its multicolored, Indian influenced pieces. Yastikis known as the pillow-heaven and stays up to the hype with its million different patterns and colored pillows, often part of limited collections you won’t find anywhere else at any time of your life.

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Yastik is known as the pillow-heaven. You can see why.

            Countryside and properties

            Though it’s a western tradition, Istanbul countryclub living is as good as anywhere else. Polonezköy Country Clubis a wonderful club where you can relax with your family surrounded by animals and beautiful green spaces. For golf-lovers the Klassis Golf & Country Clubis the main option whenever you are in Istanbul – not only has a huge golf course as it does have a business center and hotel to accommodate you and your potential clients. Kemer Golg & Country Clubhas a living area, a kids club and an arts center serving the most demanding clients.

And if you fall for celebrities don’t forget to check if Turkish-American actor Tolga Cevik or NBA-Superstar Hedo Turkogluare in the town.

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