As we landed into Istanbul the comment was passed that more and more I am falling in love with Turkey as a country & travel destination !! With only two days in the city, looking back I’m not sure how we managed to fit so much adventure / culture / cuisine & discovery into such a short time – but manage we did.
Staying at the centre of the action which is Taksim Square in one of the most prominent hotels on the square – The Marmara Taxsim offered us all the delights of the bustling area right on our marble doorstep giving you is a sense that Istanbul is a city overflowing with a wonderful energy & locals that it would seem are always up for a party.
There is an incredible history & culture that is embedded in Istanbul & it’s people – with visits to the Blue Mosque and the famous Grand Bazaar giving a real feeling that you are walking amongst something steeped in tradition and if you look past the bartering and tourists, you begin to appreciated the local trades past down through generations such as the intricate glass blowing, silk rugs and ceramics with detail incomparable to anything I have personally seen before.
It would seem that when it comes to cuisine & nightlife, Istanbul is right up there in the same playing field as London, New York or St Tropez – as we took lunch at Topaz Restaurant overlooking the Bosphorus River it was a dining experience that ignites the senses in everyway from the service, to the fusion of international flavours all complimented by wine recommend by their in-house sommelier.
The other dining experience that truly cannot be missed is at ‘Sunset’– as you arrive outside to an entrance that is lined with the latest Maseratis, Range Rovers & Aston Martins you get the feeling you are walking through the doors into a world that is truly exceptional.
Escorted through the outdoor terrace, the music lifts you as if walking on air and floating right into your first apple martini - your breath is instantly taken away as you look out to Istanbul twinkling like a Christmas tree !! You are then seated at your table & wrapped in pure cashmere blankets by a staff whom seemingly have been handpicked from the local modelling agencies, the champagne is poured and you have the option of everything from sautéed foie gras to eye fillet steaks that literally melt in your mouth.
When your driver finally whisks you off to enjoy the rest of the evening, the only place to head onto would be ‘LOVE’ , a club that seems to have no particular genre or boundaries as to it’s clientele or what they might be in the mood for on any given evening – served cocktails by beautiful boys & glamorous woman all whipped into a frenzy by a mish-mash of musical influence.
To round off the trip in the only way I know how, we headed to The Kempinski Istanbul for brunch & were treated to a tour through the old Ottoman Imperial Palace, which is now home to the hotels private suites – sitting on the terrace overlooking the pool it was with a little sadness to be having to head home, but with a fabulous feeling of having discovered yet another destination that will certainly be revisited !!