Our Founder Yesim was born and raised in Turkey. So, on her summer vacation back home, Yesim has been making a list of all the best spots in vibrant, bustling Istanbul and the Mediterranean beach paradise of Bodrum. Both destinations boast rich cultural histories and endless options for eating and drinking in style. If you’re thinking of making the (fabulous) trip, here are Yesim’s picks for a perfect Turkish getaway:
Where to Stay in Istanbul
Çırağan Palace Kempinski Istanbul: An infinity pool overlooking the Bosphorus, a luxurious spa, 33 generously-appointed suites and more make this 17th century Ottoman Imperial Palace one of our go-tos for a 5-star experience whenever we’re in Istanbul.
Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at the Bosphorus: Timeless decor and superb Bosphorus views (plus traditional hammams and brilliant concierge programming) mark the Four Seasons as an elegant, upscale retreat from which you can easily explore the city.
Where to Eat and Drink in Istanbul
Sunset Grill and Bar: Come for the sushi and cocktails at sunset, stay for the fabulous Bosphorus views, rare wine list, and well-heeled evening crowd.
Ulus 29: This lush hilltop destination in Ulus is the place to take in spectacular day-to-night Bosphorus views and top-notch Turkish-International fusion fare.
Banyan: This Michelin Guide recommended restaurant boasts unparalleled views of Ortaköy Mosque, which can be enjoyed alongside a spicy fusion of Asian-inspired dishes and DJs spinning at the cocktail bar.
Ruby: Dance the night away on the shores of the Bosphorus at this buzzy open-air club with expansive views, which sits below a popular restaurant within a fabulous three-story mansion.
Where to Shop in Istanbul
Nişantaşı: Somewhat akin to New York’s Madison Avenue, the five streets making up this high-end shopping neighborhood are a delight to wander about. Head here for designer shops, charming cafés, well-curated art galleries and more.
Grand Bazaar: No trip would be complete without a visit to this centuries-old covered market. Explore the labyrinthe of over 4,000 shops where you can haggle over carpets, lamps, artisanal jewelry, small souvenirs, and more.
Spice Bazaar: Stock up on Turkish delight, caviar, spices, teas, and more at this fragrant bazaar, another sensory-overload destination that you can taste-test your way through.
Where to Play Tennis/Golf
Tennis Club at Conrad: Three clay courts make up the club at the centrally-located Conrad Hotel, where you can book private lessons and treat yourself to some well-deserved time in the sauna afterwards.
Istanbul Tennis Club: Open for 20 years, these indoor and outdoor courts are a year round destination for everything from lessons to doubles practice with your travel partner.
Ataşehir Golf Club: The only golf course on the Asian side of Istanbul, this 6-hole course is great for a quick game for beginners and professionals alike.
Where to Stay in Bodrum
Macakizi: This alluring seaside property has been drawing a glamorous clientele since the 1970s. Expect marble bathrooms, bright guest rooms with both water and mountain views, and a lagoon-style pool.
EDITION: With 108 rooms, suites, and villas, the EDITION is a luxurious destination for savvy travelers who crave minimalism, modern lines, and epic views of the Aegean. Some rooms even boast private pools.
Where to Eat in Bodrum
Lucca by the Sea: A trendy beach club tucked inside the Mandarin Oriental at Paradise Bay, where the international jetset will sip cocktails on cozy white couches and dine by candlelight.
Miam: Check out the fresh fish and pick your favorite from the kitchenside display at this lively, upscale waterfront restaurant.
Sait Marina: White tables line the water at this Bodrum institution, which has been serving up elegant plates of fresh fish, octopus, calamari and other delicacies since 1993.
Zuma Marina: When you’re in need of a break from Turkish food, head straight to Zuma for an unforgettable izakaya experience beside the Aegean sea — think sushi, tempura, and specialties like miso black cod.
Where to Drink in Bodrum
Macakizi: Kick back on one of the fabulous seaside loungers at this see-and-be-seen hotel and treat yourself to a crisp glass of rosé or a bright and citrusy cocktail, paired with freshly-caught fish.
Limon Gümüşlük: A lively hillside venue that boasts one of the most awe-inducing sunset views over the Mediterranean. Go for cocktails and snack on their Turkish specialties.
Mimoza Gümüşlük: Beyond the mouthwatering mezze and freshly-caught seafood, Mimoza is beloved for its refreshing cocktails, which you’ll sip beneath bursts of bright bougainvillea along the water.
Where to Play Tennis/Golf in Bodrum
Bodrum Golf and Tennis Center: Admire views of the surrounding mountains from this lush 9-hole course, which spans 120,000 square meters and can also be played as 18 holes. There’s also a driving range and five expansive clay tennis courts onsite.
TrackMan Golf Center: TrackMan has top-tier golf simulators set up all over the world, allowing you to play from a huge range of famous courses wherever you are. On spectacularly hot days, this indoor simulator is a better option than sweating through the back 9 out in the sun.