, Turkey , August 10, 2005 â€“ This summer Istanbul is ablaze with
intriguing new attractions. With a restaurant boasting 360 degree views
of the city from each table, the revival of a 16th century
pavilion, boat tours along the Bosphorus in grand vessels fashioned from
those of the Ottoman Sultans, and the completion of a ten year
restoration of a princeâ€™s mansion, Istanbul is more exciting than ever.
Istanbul has long been an alluring destination for sophisticated
travelers, and this month the only city on earth that straddles two
continents was named as one of the top ten greatest cities in the world
to visit (third best in Europe) by the readers of Travel + Leisure.
Perched high atop
Istanbul â€™s chic Beyoglu district, 360
Istanbul Restaurant and Bar serves up â€śnew
cuisineâ€ť and possibly the most spectacular views of the city seen
from any indoor spot. Transplanted South African Mike Norman, former
chef of some of the cityâ€™s greatest five star hotels, is hailed for his
unique Turkish take on international fare, earning a top ten ranking in
TimeOut Istanbul. Still the food almost plays second fiddle to
the view â€“ Istanbul â€™s only 360 degree vista.
socialites out on the town to international travelers seeking the
hottest and newest in Istanbul , 360 is quickly
dominating the scene as the place to be, and, of course, eat.
exotic metropolis which hosts more weddings per year than any other city
in the world, now boasts a romantic private function venue dating back
to 1591. Built during the reign of Sultan Murad III and now the only
structure from the assorted villas and coastal palaces of Topkapi
Palaceâ€™s outer gardens and banks still standing, the Sepetciler Kasri
Pavilion merges majestic antiquity with the modern luxury and
unparalleled service standards of the Swissotel organization. From
intimate dinner parties to formal business programs and grand receptions
to small cocktail functions, the facility immerses any event in the
mystique of life along the Bosphorus.
Once a lighthouse and
docking point for the royal navy, centuries later the pavilion is still
poised to accommodate those seeking maritime adventures. Exclusive sails
on the Bosphorus are offered on Swissotelâ€™s two luxurious private yachts
which depart from the Sepetciler Kasri and navigate the blue beauty of
the Istanbul strait. They can accommodate up to
500. For an
experience unlike any other, the Sultan Kayiklari (Sultanâ€™s Boat)
most authentic way to tour the breathtaking waters that separate Istanbul â€™s Asian and European shores. On
elaborate vessels replicating the imperial luxury of those used by the
powerful leaders of the Ottoman Empire , the Sultanâ€™s Boat tours are themed around
the three great water-side palaces of the city â€“ the only tour boat
permitted by the National Palace Board to shuttle between these
monuments. Along the route, architectural wonders, both ancient and
contemporary capture the imagination, as do the sites of great wealth
and industry from the Topkapi Palace to the original Ottoman factory
used to make fez hats.
Refashioned into a
luxurious private banquet / meeting space and enchanting restaurant, the
Halim Pasa Mansion
, is slated to be a haunt fit for its namesake former royal
inhabitant. Draped in the mystery of the princeâ€™s career in government,
sudden arrest and eventual assassination, the mansion now boasts ten
spectacular rooms, in addition to three gardens.
The nine halls
available for private functions consist of the Hunting Hall, Ceremonial,
Harem, Study, Grand, Japanese, Golden, Venetian and Hamam. Each is named
for their original purpose or theme. The Golden Hall boasts golden
furnishings and decorations. Elaborately inscripted friezes and an
ornately beamed ceiling give the Ceremonial Hall the royal air of an
Egyptian salon, while the Hunting Hall (the princeâ€™s personal favorite
as a passionate hunter) bursts with animal prints and hunting scenes.
The quiet majesty of wood paneled walls fills the Study and Italian
antiques define the Venetian Hall. The onsite restaurant
Clementâ€™s, an intriguing eatery and hangout replete with the pulsating
beat of live music, dishes to seduce the palate and an extraordinary
panorama of the Bosphorus, is now open for reservations and a
debaucherous late night bar scene.
site of two wonders of the ancient world, is a present-day marvel â€“ the
cradle of civilization, the very center of world history and a
modern Westward-looking republic. It is a country of fascinating
contrasts, where antiquity is juxtaposed with the contemporary, the
familiar with the exotic; where sun-swept beaches beckon less than an
hour away from snow-capped mountains, and everywhere visitors are
treated to the extraordinary warmth of the Turkish people.
For information about travel to Turkey, call 1-877-FOR-TURKEY
or contact the Turkish Culture and Tourism Offices in New York at
or in Washington D.C. at 202-612-6800 or in Los Angeles at 323-937-8066