The New York Times has released their list of the 46 Places to go in 2013. We will be chiming in with our thoughts on their picks – and featuring some of our favorite hotels in these hot spots.
Number 10 on the list is Istanbul, which is one of our favorite cities, and I just returned from a great trip there in November.
While I expected to be impressed with the history and culture, I was really surprised and exhilarated by what a modern and thriving city it is. You can spend the morning touring the Blue Mosque and the Grand Bazaar, then relax in the hammam before shopping for designer clothes, having a gourmet dinner and dancing all night in a club with stunning views. It really is the perfect mix of old and new.
Whether or not to visit Istanbul is not a difficult question, the much harder decision is where to stay…
If you want to be within walking distance of the historical sites and the Old Town, the Four Seasons Sultanahmet is the only place for you. This 65 room hotel has impeccable service and the new roof terraces have unparalleled views of all the monuments. Guests here are allowed to use the pool at the Four Seasons Bosphorus, so you really can get the best of both worlds!
If shopping is your thing then look no further than the Park Hyatt in the chic Nisantası neighborhood. This hotel has gorgeous and modern rooms and is walking distance from the best shops and restaurants. If you want to escape the heat you can use their small rooftop pool, or try spending the day at Suada – an island in the middle of the Bosphorus with an olympic size pool, great restaurants and 360 degree views of both the European and Asian sides of the city.
Finally, if you want to stay on the Bosphorus – you must decide between the Ciragan Palace Kempinski and the Four Seasons Bosphorus. Ciragan has the best views in the city and all rooms have balconies. The grounds are magnificent, including beautiful gardens and a fantastic pool area. My only complaint is the bathrooms could use an update. The Four Seasons Bosphorus is elegant and grand with one of the best spas in the world, however the rooms can be small and the best views come with an expensive price tag.
You can’t make a wrong decision – each property has its own unique and wonderful traits – just like this fantastic city. Plan your trip to Istanbul today!