Luxury hotels and high-end shopping tend to be a winning combination in the world of tourism and the Istanbul ShoppingFest seems set for success. After all, the Grand Bazaar has been in the business of selling for 550 years, so it knows a thing or two about changing trends.
Every year Istanbul attracts millions of visitors to its malls, street markets and bazaars to haggle over everything from T-shirts to handmade carpets over a complimentary glass of Turkish tea. This megacity is uniquely situated on the very line where east meets west and is the only metropolis in the world which spans two continents; Europe to the west of the Bosphorus and Asia to the east.
From March 18 to April 26 this grand city is celebrating the 550th Grand Bazaar birthday by hosting its 1st Istanbul ShoppingFest. This 4-day spectacular offers visitors special discounts and great prizes with live entertainment for shoppers visiting the markets and bazaars after 10pm. Each Saturday, one mall on the European side of the city and one on the Asian side will stay open until 2 a.m. for late night shopping.
One big incentive for visitors making large purchases is the tax back deal for foreigners on purchases bought in the malls.
Last year Turkish tourism boomed with its Capital of Culture status and they hope that the same interest can be generated from worldwide tourism with the introduction of this ShoppingFest. Istanbul aims to be the shopping destination of choice for those with money to spend from Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Greece and other European and Middle Eastern countries. Not surprisingly, Luxique.com showcases 12 of the best luxury hotels in Istanbul for those wanting to visit this cultural city.
by Gillian at Luxique Luxury Hotels
A landmark luxury hotel in Istanbul is re-opening on September 1st after a two-year renovation aimed at recapturing its glorious past.
The Pera Palace Hotel, founded in 1892, has a wealth of history inside its four walls. Mata Hari, who was accused of spying and executed in France in 1917, stayed there. So did Greta Garbo, who played the spy/dancer in a 1931 movie. Ernest Hemingway drank in the hotel’s Orient Bar in the early 1920s, and Agatha Christie is said to have crafted Murder on the Orient Express in Room 411.
The restoration of the luxury hotel has cost 23 million euros (£19 million/$30 million). The building is a mix of styles distinctive to 19th century Istanbul — neo-classical, art nouveau and oriental. Rooms have hand-woven carpets and antique furniture mixed with new. Sixteen are suites named after guests, including Britain’s King Edward VIII and the Austro-Hungarian Emperor, Franz Joseph I.
Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, a former army officer who founded modern Turkey in 1923, once used Room 101 as a base. This room will not, however, be open to guests; instead, it will house a museum of items belonging to Ataturk, including hats, slippers and gifts from dignitaries.
by Andy Moreton, with Associated Press
Where the Pera Palace led, others followed and there are now many fine luxury hotels in Istanbul. Check out Luxique’s hand-picked selection.
Turkey has opened its first nudist hotel.
The Hotel Adaburnu Gölmar, at Datça on the south-east coast, is reserved for tourists from abroad. Guests will be allowed to go naked inside the grounds of the family-run hotel; they will have to cover up indoors but can eat au naturel at the pool bar and outdoor dining terrace.
The beach in front of the luxury hotel is public, so guests who want to sunbathe naked will be taken the 20-minute drive to a private beach.
It’s the first such facility in a country where 99 per cent of the population are Muslims, and which nurtures strong traditional values.
Local businesses have welcomed the hotel’s arrival and are looking forward to increased trade. Jeweller Polat Tünçer commented: “The Greek islands in the Aegean attract thousands of tourists from all around the world thanks to their nudist hotels. I think it is time Turkey took its share of this pie.”
There was a bit of a hitch after six days of business when the design of a balcony didn’t satisfy local authority inspectors, who promptly closed the hotel. At the time of writing, the hotel owner was confident all would soon be put right.
by Andy Moreton
Check out Luxique’s selection of luxury hotels in Istanbul and other parts of Turkey.