25/11/2023

The creative’s guide to Istanbul: where to stay, eat, shop, party and relax in the Turkish city, from Soho House

Planning a trip to Turkey’s hip, historic former capital, but not sure where to stay or what to do? Check out Istanbul’s shopping mecca Galataport, or admire some art at Istanbul Modern

Where East meets West, antiquity meets modernity, and cutting-edge innovation meets age-old traditions: a historical melting pot for many centuries, Istanbul is quickly establishing itself as one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations.

Sprawled across both Europe and Asia, the city sits on the Bosphorus Strait, which splits the two sides onto their respective continents and plays host to dozens of tourist cruise ships most days of the year.

Aside from all the popular attractions and historical sites the bustling metropolis has to offer, Istanbul also boasts an organic creative community, with award-winning restaurants, impressive galleries and other noteworthy places for artists from all walks of life.

“In Istanbul, each street you take, takes you to another gem,” says Nazli Akaktan, head of membership and communications at Soho House Istanbul. Even amid political and socioeconomic turmoil, Istanbul’s residents have had plenty of creative accomplishments to celebrate as of late. The city recently earned recognition from the Michelin Guide (more on that later) and celebrated 100 years of the Turkish Republic – along with all the milestones that have come with it.

Below, we round up the top destinations all aspiring creatives should visit on their next trip to Istanbul.

Stay at Soho House Istanbul

We’d be remiss not to mention the members’ club made by and for the global creative community, for our stylish, globe-trotting set of readers. But what’s especially remarkable about the Istanbul outpost is the building’s history – the Palazzo Corpi was constructed by a 19th-century Genoese merchant, and was formerly home to the US consulate in the city. Walking through the House’s ornate entrance is like taking a step back in time.

Home to 87 bedrooms – which resemble homey suites, with close attention paid to the curation of art, and books and vinyl records on display – the House is the perfect place to stay for those looking for a luxury hotel with character.

Go wild at the shopping mecca of Galataport

If you’re planning to catch a Bosphorus cruise during your time in Istanbul – one of the city’s main tourist attractions – why not stop for a shopping excursion while you’re at it? Located just a short walk away from the Karakoy ferry terminal, Galataport is a massive retail complex which covers 1.2km of coastline and houses everything from boutiques by luxury watchmaker Breitling to a Design Market.

But even if you’re not trying to drop some serious cash while abroad, the area is still worth a visit. With panoramic views of the city’s skyline across the water, a massive cruise terminal and a newly opened art gallery to its name, Galataport is an architectural marvel in itself.

See art at Istanbul Modern

Designed by prominent Italian architect Renzo Piano, the new Istanbul Modern building located in Galataport just opened earlier this year. First inaugurated nearly two decades ago, the museum is Turkey’s very first modern and contemporary art gallery – and marks another must-visit for anyone who wants to dive deeper into the country’s rich artistic history.

Some highlights include works by Fahrelnissa Zeid, one of the most important artists of the 20th century in Turkey and beyond, and Refik Anadol, a Turkish-American new media artist best known for his abstract pieces made using data-driven machine-learning algorithms.

Press

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