It was only meant to be a quick layover - somewhere to lay my head between ill-timed flights from northern Greece to Paris. But I'd heard whisperings from my local Soho House crew here in Toronto, that the Soho House in Istanbul was particularly lust-worthy and worth a proper visit. And since I'm not one to pass up any excuse to explore a new city, I extended the layover and booked a couple nights at the hotel.
And then fate played a VERY kind hand.
Before I even touched down on Turkish soil, I had made friends with my airplane seat mate - an elegant, kind CFO boss-lady who called Istanbul home - and we made plans to shop and have a glass of wine the following afternoon. (what else does one do with fabulous boss-lady friends?!)
After some in-flight basic Turkish lessons - which sent us both into fits of giggles - my fabulous new friend continued to extend her hospitality and offered me a ride with her and her driver to Soho.
The giggles and shopping plans continued to unfold on the ride into the city as I marveled at the flood-lit ancient buildings and neon lights that sprawled out before me. By the time we arrived at Soho House, I knew I had not only met someone truly special, but that my time in Istanbul was bound to be pure magic.
And I was right.
Checking into the hotel was a trip in itself; there was more security there than at the airport (albeit much friendlier) and the beauty of just the exterior facades of the buildings was breath-taking.
Well past midnight already, I headed to my room where I was met with soaring ceilings, an adorable private terrace, a bathroom that demanded the hashtag "shower goals", and every amenity and added detail you could dream of finding in a hotel room. From fresh chocolate chip cookies to a vermouth atomizer for in-room martinis, they had truly thought of it all.
I fell into my massive, perfectly pillowed bed in awe of my surroundings and languished in an undeniable feeling that I was right where I was meant to be.
In morning, I flicked on the nespresso machine and flipped through a beautiful book of Turkish decorative history on the terrance, before venturing down to the luxe gym and juice bar downstairs. After working up my morning sweat, I booked a lengthy massage at the in-house Cowshed Spa for the following day (which turned out to be divine!), made for a quick change, scarfed down a flakey croissant in the lobby and stepped out into whole new world by the name of Istanbul.
The next two days are filtered with a flattering soft haze in my memory now; a seemingly endless collage of fabulous new friends, luxe dinners and drinks, and a strikingly beautiful city that deserves far more time and attention than I was able to give it.
The video below is just a glimpse of this incredible city and my time there. I've listed a few of the places I was able to enjoy and I highly recommend anyone visiting the city use Soho House and trendy Beyoglu district as their home base - it's something else.
A special thanks to my cherished new friends Aygin and Bora for their wild hospitality. I can't think of anything more "delightful" than Turkey now, thanks to you. Xx
Where I went:
stunning hotel and members club in the restored American embassy
chic modern restaurant featuring plenty of Dom and fine chocolate!
The Blue Mosque & The Aya Sofya
the city's unmissable landmarks and architectural marvels
The Basilica Cistern
incredibly atmospheric and eerie; make sure you don't miss the incredible medusa heads
one of the city's finest Seafood restaurants perched above the glimmering Bosphorus
haven't had a massage this good in a WHILE
beautifully crafted leather goods by a talented Turkish designer