Istanbul, Turkey

The cosmopolitan heart of Turkey offers more than just a beautiful view.  Istanbul is a must do city for foodies and shop-a-holics.

But first things first: where to stay.  There are two hotels I would recommend to anyone.  One is in the center of the city and close to everything and the other is a bit more secluded, but beautiful.  The Four Seasons Hotel in Sultanahmet is so close to the shopping and sightseeing that it is very convenient.  The hotel rooms and suites are housed in a century-old neoclassical Turkish prison.

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But if you want a hotel a bit more out of the city, the Four Seasons Hotel in Bosphorus is absolutely stunning.  As their website puts it, the hotel is “the place where East meets West and the past meets whatever’s coming next.”  Such a beautiful line!  This Four Seasons is a former 19th-century Ottoman palace transformed into a hotel.  The seafront location and mountaintop view is to die for.  Either locations are great, it just depends what kind of trip you are looking for: the center of the city locale or the glorious retreat location.

When out and about shopping, the must-see is what I would consider the Fifth Avenue of Istanbul. Abdi İpekçi Caddesi is the premiere shopping street and located in the trendiest district around, Nişantaşi.

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The people of Istanbul are known for their beautifully woven kilims, textiles and ceramics so what better place to find them then at the world’s oldest market.  The Grand Bazaar is the best place to start your shopping experience with over 4,000 stalls and an amazing spice market.  There are so many items to buy at the bazaar, that I think the best way to get my point across is to simply make a list for you:

  • Spices
  • Tapestries
  • Flat woven kilims
  • Cool lanterns
  • Ceramics
  • Leather goods
  • Silk and Chenille woven fabrics
  • Pillows
  • Jewelry
  • Metal and semi precious baubles

This may seem like a long list of items but I would at least highly suggest seeing the quality and beautiful detail that has gone into each one of these items before leaving Istanbul.

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Now back to the most important item on the agenda: their food.  I highly recommend taking a tour from ‘Istanbul Eats’.  The tour takes you to trendy eating places where the local gather.  There is no better to way to learn about a culture than to truly be a part of the traditions and fully immerse into the foodie way of life.  This tour is a great way to taste the local food like the locals do and like I said earlier, a must-do as a foodie.

Istanbul is a very nice place to really get an idea of the culture.  There are so many diverse things to see and do.  Their tapestries and ceramics gave me great inspiration for my design, but I also loved experiencing it all.

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