With half the city in Europe and the other half in Asia, Istanbul literally straddles East and West, with the Bosphorus Strait shining in the middle. Split your time between the sights of the bustling city and a relaxing beachside respite in Bodrum. Here’s where to stay and how to get there.
How to get there
Traveling to Istanbul has never been so simple and luxurious. Turkish Airlines, which serves more countries than any other airline in the world, currently operates from 17 gateway cities in North America, including its first-ever Pacific Northwest route, from Seattle, Washington, which launched earlier this year. Business Class benefits include seasonal gourmet meals (served by candlelight, upon request), new designer amenity kits from Coccinelle and Hackett, and access to state-of-the-art Business Class Lounges. Beyond the world-class food and hospitality, one of the best parts of flying with Turkish Airlines is traveling on the airline’s 787-Dreamliner aircraft, which flies to and from the United States. -United.
Where to stay
On the shores of the Bosphorus, the Ciragan Kempinski Palace offers breathtaking views of Asia and the ancient city, with sumptuous suites, Turkish gardens and numerous dining options (Tuğra Restaurant, Bellini Pasta & More, the waterfront Gazebo Lounge and the Bosphorus Grill) . The property is the only Ottoman imperial palace and hotel on the Bosphorus where sultans once lived, so the views from rooms and suites are legendary. A dip in the waterfront heated infinity pool is also a must, as you can take in sweeping views of passing boats and the colorful lights and buildings of the Asian shore. Simply put, no matter where you turn, you will experience luxury in a beautiful setting. Don’t miss their authentic Turkish hammam experience at Sanitas Spa.
Four Seasons Istanbul Hotel Sultanahmet, in the old city, is the perfect base camp to explore Istanbul’s deep heritage, with breathtaking views of Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque and the Sea of Marmara. Although close to Istanbul’s historic sites, the property has a fascinating history itself, as it was once a former prison with a landscaped courtyard surrounded by stone walls, a working masjid (mosque) and towers on guard. Following its initial transformation into a five-star hotel in 1996, the hotel recently underwent a refurbishment by design studio Goddard Littlefair. The new design pays homage to the beauty and history of the site and old Istanbul while adding the luxurious and modern amenities synonymous with the Four Seasons brand. During your visit, don’t miss the chance to check out the hotel’s rooftop terrace with views of Hagia Sophia and the Grand Mosque, or its spa for an incredible, unpretentious but utterly luxurious Turkish hammam experience.
Surrounded by the peaceful Sea of Marmara, the new 204-room JW Marriott Hotel Istanbul Sea of Marmara The hotel offers its guests a relaxing and luxurious stay in the Atakoy district. Rooms are spread over 17 floors and are as spacious as they are plush — marble bathrooms with large soaking tubs and rainfall showerheads, smart lighting, and modern amenities. Ceres Restaurant serves Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and Southeast Asian fusion cuisine, with an emphasis on seafood and this summer. Star chef Akira Back will open a new restaurant offering innovative Japanese cuisine.
Open from May to October, Loft in Bodrum is a hidden getaway in the lush heart of Demirbükü Bay, on the northern coast of the Bodrum Peninsula, facing the Aegean Sea. The 36-room property, developed by Akfen Holding, offers upscale suites and villas that will be your home away from home this summer. With a swimming pool, beautifully landscaped gardens, fitness center, spa, private beach and restaurants (Paper Moon and Nobu – the first in Bodrum – and the laid-back Patisserie Loft), you’ll never need to leave the complex. Also on site is a boutique of the high-end Turkish brand Vakko.
How to visit
With only three days in Istanbul, we relied on Eda Sokmen, whose bespoke tour and travel agency Istanbulite is the reference for visits to the main tourist sites, including the Grand Bazaar, the Spice Bazaar, Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, the Hippodrome and the Topkapi Palace. From helping you book luxury hotels to coordinating historical tours, shopping, art and photography, cooking classes and paper marbling workshops, the team can help you discover the city like a local. You can even book private Istanbul tours and experiences beyond the ancient city, including Cappadocia, Izmir, Ephesus, Bodrum, and other off-the-beaten-path locations like Aphrodisias and Kaş.