‘In’ Istanbul

New additions heighten the city’s hot-spot status

By: Judy Koutsky

Istanbul, ranked as one of the 10 best cities in the world by Travel + Leisure magazine, is hoping to attract more tourists with a slew of new offerings. To name a few, there’s the much-talked-about newly opened restaurant that boasts 360-degree views of the city from each table; the revival of a 16th-century pavilion; boat tours along the Bosphorus River; and the completion of a 10-year restoration of a prince’s mansion.

Perched high atop Istanbul’s chic Beyoglu district, 360 Istanbul Restaurant and Bar serves up “new Istanbul cuisine” and, perhaps more importantly, the most spectacular views of the city seen from any indoor spot. This hip new restaurant is quickly becoming the “in” place for both socialites and international travelers looking for a unique dining experience.

For a wedding or meeting afar, book clients at the new private function venue inside a building dating back to 1591. Built during the reign of Sultan Murad III, the Sepetciler Kasri Pavilion combines antiquity, modern luxury and the service standards of the Swissotel organization. From intimate dinner parties and small cocktail functions, to formal business programs and grand receptions, the facility combines old-world charm with modern flair. Swissotel also offers sailing aboard their two luxury yachts, which depart from the Sepetciler Kasri to navigate the Istanbul strait.

For clients looking for a new way to explore the city, there are now boat tours along the Bosphorus in grand vessels fashioned after those of the Ottoman Sultans. The Sultan Kayiklari (Sultan’s Boat) provides the most authentic way to tour the waters that separate Istanbul’s Asian and European shores.

On vessels replicating the imperial luxury displayed by the powerful leaders of the Ottoman Empire, the Sultan’s Boat tours are themed around the city’s three great water-side palaces the only tour boat permitted by the National Palace Board to shuttle between these monuments. Along the route, clients will see ancient and contemporary architectural wonders, including the Topkapi Palace.

Finally, the opening of the Sait Halim Pasa Mansion, the refashioned private banquet meeting space and restaurant, is slated to be a haunt fit for its namesake. Draped in the mystery of the prince’s career and colorful life, the mansion boasts 10 rooms and three gardens.


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