HISTORICALLY RICH…UNDENIABLY BEAUTIFUL…INCOMPARABLY MESMERIZING… and SIMPLY IN A LEAGUE OF HER OWN…
Istanbul — The minute you set foot on this historic city you’ll notice it possesses an indescribable iridescence. And, the more you peel away her layers you’ll begin to understand that there’s so much more to Istanbul than just her incomparable beauty.
After logging more than a million miles exploring the world’s most iconic destinations, Istanbul had always eluded me. Well, I decided its time had come as it rose to the top of my 2013 ESCAPESEEKER GLOBAL ODYSSEY, and I arrived on September 17th, via the m/v Tere Moana, the final stop of my enriching 7-night voyage which began in Athens. For those of you who might not know geographically where Istanbul is, please permit me to give you a quick briefing because its strategic location played such a major role in how and why it became the iconic metropolis that it is today, which also helped foster an eclectic populace.
Istanbul is a transcontinental city, straddling the Bosphorus—one of the world’s busiest waterways—in northwestern Turkey, between the Sea of Marmara and the Black Sea. Its commercial and historical center lies in Europe, while a third of its population lives in Asia.
Founded on the Sarayburnu promontory around 660 BC as Byzantium, the city now known as Istanbul developed to become one of the most significant cities in history. For nearly sixteen centuries following its reestablishment as Constantinople in 330 AD, it served as the capital of four empires: the Roman Empire (330–395), the Byzantine Empire (395–1204 and 1261–1453), the Latin Empire (1204–1261), and the Ottoman Empire (1453–1922). It was instrumental in the advancement of Christianity during Roman and Byzantine times, before the Ottomans conquered the city in 1453 and transformed it into an Islamic stronghold and the seat of the last caliphate. Although the Republic of Turkey established its capital in Ankara, palaces and imperial mosques still line Istanbul’s hills as visible reminders of the city’s historic central role.
I chose the Ritz-Carlton Istanbul to be ESCAPESEEKER’s home base while exploring this majestic city. Conveniently located on the Bosphorus – the Istanbul straight – in Istanbul City Centre, this luxury hotel offers a prime location and impressive amenities that will not disappoint even the most discerning globetrotter. Indulge at The Ritz-Carlton Spa–it will instantly cure any jet lag or sea legs you may be experiencing–where the ancient water therapies of the Turkish Hamam inspire renewal. It was a first for this ESCAPESEEKER, and what a totally delightful, refreshing experience! No matter whether you’re traveling solo like yours truly, or bringing your entire bus of friends and family, you can count on the Ritz-Carlton to provide impeccable service no matter where your travels lead you!
The Ritz-Carlton Istanbul affords guests the most spectacular views of Istanbul, day or night.
The most difficult part of staying at the Ritz-Carlton Istanbul is saying “Goodbye.” I’m missing everything about you. THANK YOU for taking such great care of this ESCAPESEEKER. My “2013 ESCAPESEEKER GLOBAL ODYSSEY” continues. Next stop, “The City of Lights” ~ PARIS! I love the ESCAPESEEKER LIFE…but even more so, I CHERISH ALL THE NEW FRIENDSHIPS I ESTABLISH THROUGHOUT OUR MAGNIFICENT PLANET! The world is full of friends just waiting to be met…so take it from me and Henry David Thoreau, “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams…Live the life you have imagined.”
We can’t wait to capture Executive Chef Andre Piednoir on film as he demonstrates his international repertoire of delectable dishes derived from his own global travels. By the way, his favorite mode of travel–the motorcycle! Perhaps, he’ll give us another perspective on this amazing city as explored on two fast wheels?
Special Note to Oscar Abello, Vice President of Paul Gauguin Cruises: How in the world will I ever thank you for pacifying my recent fears about all the media alerts I was receiving cautioning me about traveling to Istanbul in light of recent, highly televised demonstrations? I would have missed out on one EXTRAORDINARY ESCAPESEEKER EXPERIENCE had I not listened to you! Not once, did I ever feel in any danger whatsoever. To the contrary–I felt more welcome than ever. Friends, Please don’t hesitate to follow in my footsteps. The Paul Gauguin Cruises and its m/v TERE MOANA believes in the absolute well-being and safety of all its passengers, and each destinations has been carefully “pre-approved” by seasoned travel experts. I am living proof!
Everywhere you look, you’ll find the vibrant hues of the rainbow calling out to you.
All that glitters is gold, I’m told.
The abundance of exotic scents, and its varied rare offerings in Istanbul’s markets will astound you.
Here are more samplings of varied images that will help you see why I’m totally enamored with INCOMPARABLE, INCREDIBLY IRRESISTIBLE ISTANBUL. It has an inner beauty that knows no bounds. Don’t take my word for it. Come see for yourselves…for like me, you might just discover that you don’t know, what you don’t know! My entire film crew cannot wait to join me when we return in 2014 to capture this stunning city in all her glory!
Connecting Europe to Asia, Istanbul is the only city in the world that spans two continents!
I have so much to learn and glean from this remarkable culture. How about you? Don’t let fear of the unknown stop you. The world awaits with open arms.
These beautiful ladies ensure that all guests of the Ritz Carlton, Istanbul’s Club Lounge enjoy their stay and feel right at home.
Here are more of the friendly “Ladies and Gentlemen” of the Ritz-Carlton, Istanbul who also strive to do their best “to serve Ladies and Gentlemen.”
Club Lounge Concierge, Gokhan Turkoglu believes in going the extra mile(s) for the guests of the Ritz-Carlton Istanbul! When I told him I wanted to experience Istanbul like a true native, he gladly agreed to guide me through the city on foot! Seven kilometeres later, I definitely had some exceptional first hand experiences to share, and more compelling content to fill a future ESCAPESEEKER ISTANBUL episode script. Nothing beats an up close look at this incredible city as seen through the eyes of a true native! Thank you Gokhan for an unforgettable day.
Where you stay can make a tremendous difference in your travel experience. There are those names like the Ritz-Carlton that have become synonymous with service and luxurious comfort, in great part due to the dedicated professionals who treat every guest with utmost care.
The sights, sounds, scents, and taste of Istanbul. Prepare for the ultimate in “Sensory Overload”…
By the way, you haven’t tasted, or been presented ice cream quite like Istanbul’s! They’ve turned it into a unique form of delicious entertainment! The sheer anticipation will do you in.
If you smile, they’ll smile right back at you without hesitation!
Here’s to BLISSFUL, ENDLESS ESCAPES, as ESCAPESEEKER continues to prove that there’s no destination on earth too far, too difficult or too irresistible to reach!
I hope you’ll follow in my ESCAPESEEKER footsteps and visit ISTANBUL…the JEWEL of TURKEY. I promise you will MARVEL at what you’ll discover every step of the way.
And, no matter where your travels lead you… Remember, Be the kindest person you know!
Mel aka ESCAPESEEKER