Our five day experience in Turkey started and ended with amazing flights from our travel sponsor, Turkish Airlines. Once we arrived in Istanbul, we were treated to five-star accommodations and dining from our hotel sponsor – Hilton Hotels. Our home base for the next four days would be the Conrad Istanbul situated right on the beautiful Bosphorus Strait.
The Conrad Istanbul features an indoor and outdoor pool, two restaurants, two lounges, a grand ballroom and various meeting spaces. It’s a stunning hotel that’s only going to get better after the renovations are complete next year.
After a 10-hr flight, we all took some time to relax in our rooms before dinner.
My room was spacious, well-furnished and clean with a king size bed, large bathroom, desk and an incredible view of the coastline – such a treat!
I was pleasantly surprised to see North American style outlets at the desk so I didn’t even have to use the voltage converter that I brought with me. I got my blogging station all set up and met the group for dinner on the rooftop of the hotel. I can never tire of this stunning view.
Did you know that Istanbul is the city where Europe and Asia meet? The Conrad Istanbul sits on the European side of the Bosphorus Strait with views facing the Asian side of Istanbul. It’s so cool to think that this one narrow body of water separates two continents within the same city!
We enjoyed another delicious four course meal featuring traditional Turkish cuisine – antipasto (meze), quiche, beef medallions and mastic ice cream with fruit. The presentation was beautiful and the flavours well-balanced. I had to be careful as many dishes include nuts which I’m allergic to, but the staff were very attentive to my needs and made substitutions for me as necessary.
I also tried my first Turkish coffee and sampled some Turkish delight as the sunset over the Bosphorus. Turkish coffee is VERY strong and incredibly flavourful – it was a little to strong for me, but with extra water and sugar it’s very enjoyable. Turkish delight comes in a wide variety of flavours – I like black cherry the best!
The view of the Bosphorus Bridge at night was so stunning it was hard to leave, but we had a busy day of sightseeing ahead of us so we all went to bed. In the morning, we enjoyed the expansive breakfast buffet at Monet Restaurant on the lobby level and a lovely tour of the hotel.
We were even treated to a sneak peek at the renovated suites that are coming soon and they are absolutely gorgeous! I will definitely need to stay here again when I come back to Istanbul!
After a full day of sightseeing (post coming soon), we visited the Hilton Istanbul for dinner at Al Bushra Lebanese restaurant. We were seated on a beautiful terrace overlooking the Bosphorus and shared meze, breads and various kebabs on a spinning table platter. It was fun to dine family style with such a stunning view and sea breeze.
The following afternoon after a lovely morning at the modern art museum, we returned to the Hilton Istanbul for a full tour and lunch on the Bosphorus Terrace. The Hilton Istanbul is the oldest of the three Hilton hotels in Istanbul and has played host to various icons throughout the years, including John F. Kennedy and Jackie O! The grand lobby is spacious with lots of comfortable seating, the suites are classic and well-furnished and the restaurants are delicious!
The outdoor pool at the Hilton Istanbul is in the shape of Conrad Hilton’s shoe print. It’s another beautiful hotel to consider if you’re staying in Istanbul and they even have a complete conference centre next door. I really enjoyed our time on the terrace with coffee and desserts!
Later that evening, we visited the third Hilton hotel in Istanbul – the Hilton ParkSA. It’s the smallest of the three hotels and geared towards business travelers. The suites are modern and the views are just as fabulous as the other two Hilton hotels. We enjoyed a tour and a fabulous dinner on the rooftop at Cloud 7 Terrace.
Yet another delicious four course meal which included a tomato bocconcini salad, lobster risotto, fresh grilled fish and ice cream. This is also where we discovered that when you order a gingerale, you get a gingerella – a drink that tastes almost exactly like a mojito!
My experience at the Conrad Istanbul and the various Hilton hotels we visited was truly outstanding and I look forward to staying with them again in various cities. They really took care of us from start to finish – special thanks to Neslihan and Sedef for being such lovely hosts.
CLICK HERE to read all about my business class experience with Turkish Airlines and stay tuned for more posts and photos from my adventures in Istanbul!