Hg2 : The Hedonist

A Hedonist’s guide to…

Istanbul

Ski
A stone's throw away from Istanbul, head off to Uludag for some heli-skiing action, snowboarding, or just plain skiing amidst a beautiful historic setting.
Cok Cok
Beyoglu's chic favourites, Wanna and Lokanta, face stiff competition from this stylish newcomer. Cok Cok serves up Asian food culture and design with cosy intimacy.
Karga
Under the radar yet full of originality, Karga's subversive yet creative atmosphere is just the thing for an art-inspired, laid-back crowd. 
Taxim Suites
An apartment hotel next to the commercial district, Taxim Suites is a favourite with business travellers. Stylish and professional, book the 5th floor penthouses to experience it at its best.
Mado Ice Cream
Carrot, pumpkin or fig? Ice-cream fans probably think they've experience pretty much ever flavour under the sun, but Ben & Jerry's and Haagen Dazs certainly can't rival Mado for range and diversity. =display:none"
Ayasofya Konaklari
This slightly old-fashioned hotel has one major advantage - an almost unrivaled location on the doorstep of Sultanahmet's cultural attractions.
TomTom Suites
TomTom Suites started life as a law court and is part of the rapidly gentrifying Beyoglu scene.
Niantasi & Tevikiye
If the Old City bazaars sound like a panic-inducing nightmare head straight for the smart residential and commercial districts of Niantai and Tevikiye, where Istanbul’s haute bourgeoisie roam freely.
Miss Pizza
A little slice of Italy in Istanbul.
Edition Istanbul
Schrager's concept hotel for the Marriott group has proved a hit in Istanbul...
Ibrahim Pasa Hotel
Located in a late Ottoman house, the Ibrahim Pasa is a charming blend of the traditional and the contemporary - one of the best small hotels in Istanbul.
Pera Palace
Once a favourite of the rich and famous, the Pera Palace has history and anecdotal interest in spades. In its heyday the Palace hosted every visiting star and dignitary to Istanbul.
Edition Espa
It's the ultimate spa-playground. Rich in ambience and a palette of sensory excess, this haven for beauty is one that will make you squeal with hedonistic delight. 
Seasons
If you are not fortunate enough to be staying at the excellent Four Seasons hotel in Sultanahmet, a trip to the Seasons Restaurant is a good substitute if you are in the mood for fine dining.
Beyoglu Pub
A real insiders' find. Despite an unprepossessing location in a run-down shopping arcade, the Beyoglu Pub is a popular relaxed spot for a drink. =display:"
Tugra
Tugra's private yet elegant location makes it one of the best places to take in spectacular views of the Bosphorous while enjoying a sumptuous meal.
Yakup 2
One of the most authentic of Asmalimescit's meyhanes, Yakup 2 has a traditional earthly feel reminiscent of days gone by. Nightclub Babylon is just round the corner to dance off the meze.
Archaeology Museum
For swift immersion in Istanbul's intriguing history, spend a day visiting the 20 gallery archaeology museum and the neighbouring Topkapi Palace.
Belgrad Forest
With 13 million people crammed onto both banks of the Bosphorus, every Istanbul experience is inescapably rich and intense. Which is why Belgrad’s 5,000 hectares of lush green forest is a particularly refreshing prospect.
Besiktas Basketball
Known as Besiktas Cola Turka due to a sponsorship agreement with the Ulker food company, the team play home games at the 3,000-seat Akatlar Spor Salonu multi-purpose stadium.
SuAda Swimming
Su Ada (it translates as ‘water island’) is a swish open-air swimming and general loafing joint housed on a pontoon floating in the Bosphorus.     
Kino Garden
This tiny, trendy Asmalimescit bar attracts a different cool crowd to the glamorati that frequent Leb-i-Derya and 360o - Kino is popular with younger creative types with slightly less cash.
Church of Christ in the Chora
A must for lovers of Byzantine art, this 14th-century Museum formerly a church and mosque is in itself a popped lesson in Istanbul's complex history.
Belly Dancing
Head to (where else?) Beyoglu for belly-dancing shows. If they prove inspirational, there are plenty of clubbing venues nearby for you to try out some belly moves of your own on the dance floor.
Reina
To truly experience Reina in all its glory, arrive by yacht thus bypassing the queues and instantly elevating yourself to membership of the elite. Just remember to leave the deckshoes at home.
Nevizade Sokak
A stroll down Nevizade Sokak is instant immersion into the colour and energy of Istanbul: a great antidote to the 'high-street' feel of the nearby Istiklal Caddesi.
Swimming
Swissôtel Spa
An extensive menu of services at this award-winning spa will have you coming back for more and more...and more.
Kösk Hamam
A men's only hammam, it's a straightforward and no-frills venue attracting a gay crowd during its opening hours.
Çukurcuma Hamam
A go-to hammam for the gay crowd in Istanbul.
Çiragan Palace Kempinski Spa
The plush five-star Çiragan Palace boasts of an outdoor massage area, a heated infinity pool, and hamams fit for a sultan (or, indeed, a sultana).
Çiragan Palace Swimming Pool
The Çiragan Palace's 33-metre-long pool is a spectacular place for a swim, bordering the Bosphorus and separated from it by the thinnest of margins.
Çiragan Palace Hammam
Spoil yourself within the ultra-luxe confines of this majestic hotel.
Çemberlitas Hamam
Süleymaniye Mosque
One of the three buildings that define Istanbul's skyline, the stunning Suleymaniye Mosque was built in the 16th-century as an Ottoman riposte to the Hagia Sophia.
SALT
MiniaTürk
Perfect if you have the kids in tow, tick off all the major sites with a quick trip to the MiniaTurk park on the Golden Horn.
Dolmabahçe Palace
The superbly self-important ornate baroque style of the Dolmabahçe Palace speaks of a building designed to impress...
Atatürk Cultural Centre
One of the few reasons to go to unlovely Taksim Square, the Ataturk Cultural centre is the home of the State Opera and Ballet, the Symphony Orchestra and the State Theatre Company.
Atatürk Museum
The three floors of the Atatürk Museum are filled with memorabilia that gives an insight into the man behind the reinvention of the Turkish identity.

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