ISTANBUL: Any weekend in autumn is perfect for a getaway to Istanbul. In November the weather is still fine and you can enjoy your days on the Bosphorus by boat or at a roof terraces of the many chic restaurants in town while exploring the city with its classic sights and many more things to discover, not only at all the different galleries which open their doors for the Contemporary Istanbul art fair.
We asked our Guest Editor Gizem Oflazoglu, who is running her own consultancy company on hospitality and real estate while managing her own fashion label, and who lives in between Istanbul and Bodrum, how to spend two days in town to get an idea of the art scene besides the many other things to discover.
Start your day at Delicatessen and enjoy a homemade breakfast or traditional Turkish cheese and bread with fresh, chilled melon. This place in Nisantasi is busy and somehow reminds me of Rue Saint Honoré or round the corner from Bond Street. You will see a great mix of chic businesswomen and fashion crowd who get ready to shop around this neighbourhood. Another favorite place is Spago with an interior that gives you a golden glow as the walls have beautiful warm light and colours. A very cool gathering place for a late afternoon / early evening drink after visiting the galleries in town.
Thinking about Turkish designers, a girl that I like very much comes to my mind. Her name is Zeynep Tosun. Check out her boutique in the Akmerkez Shopping Mall in Etiler. It’s also where Paper Moon is, a very hot spot for chic luncheons, one of the classics of Istanbul.
Another haute Turkish designer boutique to be visited is definitely Dilek Hanif. Her boutique, which is also in Nisantasi, for me the Avenue Montaigne of İstanbul, is combined with her atelier and has a beautiful atmosphere like a salon.
Do you remember Rifat Özbek from London when he got famous in the eighties for his ethnic designs? He is nowadays more into interiors and I love his hand-printed silk cushions.
Make sure you have a chic luncheon at La Petite Maison (the original is in Nice, France) and enjoy the flavours of the Côte d’Azur and neighbouring Liguria. They are famous for having outposts in London, Dubai, Moscow, but their Istanbul restaurant is especially charming.
Another must-stop-by spot is the Soho House in Beyoglu, where you can have the most stylish dinner at Cecconi’s which is also open to non-members. And swim some laps in the rooftop pool first thing in the morning in case you are a member of Soho House and can book a room overnight.
A private boat party along the Bosphorus would be just awesome, and for that you need to book the most stylish boat of Istanbul: Sureyya V.
After a Sultan’s lunch at Konyalı Lokantası at Topkapi Palace, head to the Grand Bazaar for an amazing experience and lose yourself amongst the best of leather and jewelry.
And for all art happenings and a cutting-edge selection of contemporary art, the Contemporary Istanbul (12-15 November 2015) is of course your place.