Hg2 : The Hedonist

A Hedonist’s guide to…

Istanbul

Zarifi
More of a restaurant than a club, join large groups of Istanbullis for a raucous night of unashamed Turkish fun. As the meze get cleared away and the raki goes down the volume goes up and the dancing starts. =d"
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.
Whirling Dervishes
Undeniably uber-touristy, we nevertheless recommend that you give in to your urges to watch the Dervishes whirl away... 
Vefa Bozacisi
From boza (a fermented millet drink unchanged since Turkic pre-history) to sira (a fermented grape juice), a host of traditional pleasures are on offer at the pretty Vefa Bozacisi.
Vakko
 Vakko is at the vanguard of Turkish couture, most notably in womenswear
Underground Cistern
Not the most important of cultural attractions, the Underground Cistern nevertheless has a rather zen charm...
Ulus 29
A glamorous alternative to Sunset, Ulus 29 is also located in Ulus Park. Dress to impress to join the smart crowd of Istanbulli professionals for great cocktails and well-executed Turkish dishes.=display:none;""
Turkish Grand Prix
First held in 2005, the Turkish Grand Prix is one of the largest sporting events of the year, often noted as one of the more exciting races on the calendar.
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.
Traditional Music Clubs
Book ahead to secure a table at Kallavi 20, one of the best meyhanes to hear traditional Turkish folk music. Knock back enough raki and you'll soon feel Turkish enough to join them on the dance floor.
Topkapi Palace Museum
Sited on a promontory overlooking the confluence of the Golden Horn and the Bosphorus, the Topkapi is within walking distance of Sultanahmet's other cultural treasures.
Topaz
A newcomer that opened in November 07, this classy establishment is already describing itself as the 'jewel of Istanbul'.
TomTom Suites
TomTom Suites started life as a law court and is part of the rapidly gentrifying Beyoglu scene.
The Sofa Hotel
One of the new breed of design hotels in Istanbul, the Sofa expertly combines personal service, excellent facilities and a wonderful central location, which sets it apart from the competition.
The Kilisli Palace
Emirgan might be quite a trek out of the central pleasures of Beyoglu and Sulanahmet, but it's home to an increasing number of travel-worthy venues, including the wonderful Kilisli Palace.
The House Hotel Karaköy
Found in one of the city’s more artistic neighbourhoods, The House Hotel Karaköy is a design-conscious hotel with luxurious amenities and its own in-house art curator.
The House Apart
Chic and cheap serviced apartments dotted around the city, the brain child of a slick chain of Istanbul cafes.
The Bosphorus Tour
Whether by ferry, boat tour or private water taxi, a trip on the Bosphorus is an essential part of any trip to Istanbul. The full cruise is a 6 hour tour from Eminonu to the mouth of the Black Sea.d
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.
Taps
Located just a few streets away from the fabulous shopping on Abdi Ipecki Caddesi, men might like to retreat to Taps to sample their seven beers leaving wives and girlfriends to the chic boutiques.
Swissôtel Spa
An extensive menu of services at this award-winning spa will have you coming back for more and more...and more.
Swimming
Sultanahmet (Blue) Mosque
Located opposite the Hagia Sophia in Sultanahmet, the Blue Mosque was built to prove (unsuccessfully) that Islamic architects could build a structure as wonderful. Nevertheless, it's a must-see.
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.
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.     
St Stephen’s Cathedral
Still used by the Bulgarian community for whom it was originally built in 1871, St Stephen's Cathedral is located on the short of the Golden Horn.
Smyrna
Fashionable and relaxed, Smyrma hits all the right notes. Designed with lounging in mind you might go for breakfast and find yourself still there for sundowners.
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.
Simdi
Lovely Illy coffee in an elegant tiled room: what more could anyone ask for in cafe? Simdi has a varied menu and is a great place for breakfast, lunch and all points in between.
Sevan Bicakci Grand Bazaar
Offering one-of-a-kind pieces of jewellery, the pieces on display at Sevan Bicakci Grand Bazaar are like wearable sculptures. And utterly covetable ones at that.
Sensus Turkish Wine Library
Cheese and wine shop-cum-bar concentrating on some serious local vintages...
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.
SALT
Sakirin Mosque
Beautiful contemporary mosque, designed by an avant-garde female architect...
Rumeli Hisari
Built by Mehmet II in 1452 as part of his conquest of Byzantium, the castle played a pivotal role in the campaign. In its most recent incarnation, it is now an open air theatre.
Ritz-Carlton Hammam
One of the world's most indulgent spas, this is on the top of our list and a must-try if you're in the area.
Richmond Hotel
The only decent hotel on the entire length of Istiklal Caddesi, this contemporary hotel is ideally located for visitors planning to take in Istanbul's cultural and pastoral pleasures.
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.
Refik
To dine at Refik is to tap into the traditional tavern scene. Join Istanbul's political intellectuals for some top quality meze and put the world to rights (if you're Turkish is up to scratch).
Poseidon
Located in Bebek, the smart village-cum-suburb on the European shore of the Bosphorus, a trip to this excellent seafood restaurant is something of a pilgrimage.

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