Eastern Mystique‏ – Istanbul

For many the idea of a far eastern break will make them look long distance to destinations like Bangkok or Hong Kong. But there is a destination within 6 hours that offers a taste of the far east whilst retaining some European culture. Istanbul is located in the north west of Turkey and has a Christian and Islamic mixed culture that has brought the world some spectacular architecture. The city has benefited from its location for thousands of year, Sat between the black sea and the Sea of Marmara, Istanbul has capitalised on trade routes between western Europe and the far east. To this day Istanbul counts for 46% and 40% of all Turkish exports and imports respectively

Getting There

Flights to Istanbul can be booked through Turkish Airlines the startraw European airline of the year offers an all inclusive return flight from Birmingham airport for just £183.00 flights can be booked here http://www.turkishairlines.com/en-uk/flights-tickets/istanbul/flights-to-istanbul/BHX217749IST

Places to Stay

As you’d expect with a city the size of Istanbul there are many options when it comes to booking accommodation that would fit all budgets I’ve looked at three hotels below at three different budgets

Firstly the four seasons Istanbul sultanahmet, This hotel is a fully serviced hotel offers a business centre, on sit fitness and spar with the popular grand bazaar shopping centre also in close proximity. One night at the four seasons cost an average £935 per night for march departures.

The next one is the Fraser Place Anthill Istanbul, These apartments located smack bang in the middle of the business district making the anthill Istanbul perfect for the corporate traveller with the Lutfi Kirdar convention and exhibition centre within close proximity this swarve location can really land the deal. The anthill also offers a fitness centre spar and an indoor and outdoor swimming pool – rooms cost from £136 per night travelling during march.

The final hotel is the Palazzo Donezetti Hotel this hotel features neo classical architecture with the Italian karrera marble adding a wonderful character to the building. Situated in the taskim (new city centre area of the city) is in a prime location of the beyoglu with many restaurants, bars and coffee shops in close proximity. for the keen shopper the Carousel shopping centre and the Kanyon mall are a short 6 Kilometres taxi ride away. The hotel also offer conference facilities with modern technology, a swimming pool, Sauna, Fitness centre and a disco. Rooms at the donezetti start from £77 per night during march.

All the above hotels are 5 star rated and can be booked via the hotel club website http://www.hotelclub.com/.

Going Out in Istanbul

If you are in Istanbul for work or pleasure no matter how much free time you have there are plenty of places and activities to take part in.

A good attraction if you have one or two hours to spare is the blue mosque built between 1609-1616 the blue mosque gets its name from the blue tiles used on the inside but it’s true name to the Turkish people is SultanAhmet Mosque. Entrance is free but the mosque does close during pray time.

For something a little more relaxing enjoy Suada Club that is sat on the bosphorous overlooking the straight. This south beach style club offers not one but three restaurants a super pool and an events area, Sauda Club would be good as a break away from the hustle and bustle of Istanbul. http://www.suadaclub.com.tr/en/index.html for more information.

If you’re looking for a shopping fix why not try the Kanyon shopping mall, designed to look like a Kanyon the mall is connected to the subway and offers an array of shops and coffee shops including a star bucks, a cinema and the home of local Virgin Radio http://www.kanyon.com.tr/en/#!/home

Istanbul is constantly changing and can offer a great break from the day to day.

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