Turkish hospitality at HomageWednesday 09 July 2014 by Jo Redman A week in Istanbul, how exciting – where east meets west, as all the guidebooks say.
A big exotic busy city like Istanbul requires a haven to be based in. We found ours at the Homage Apartments - soon to be joining our network. Located in the bohemian neighbourhood of Beyoglu. From the moment we rang the doorbell on our arrival to the final wave from the taxi as we headed back to the airport – warm hospitality oozed all over us from the Homage team. Bekia, Darya and Ali were always on hand for a chat, advice, guidance or even a drink. They simply love looking after guests and rightly so are very proud of their beautiful apartments.
Homage is a collection of carefully and lovingly restored apartments hidden in a tranquil traditional Istanbul street. The perfect place to retreat to after a busy day, relax in your apartment – or head up to the roof top terrace to gaze out across the view of Istanbul – where dozens of Mosque minarets pierce the Istanbul skyline alongside more contemporary building silhouettes.
Beyoglu just has to be one of the best areas to stay in, it’s so easy to get to Istanbul’s key attractions and sights. Within ten minutes you can be joining the queue to climb the Galata Tower to admire the views, before dropping down to cross the Bosphorus via the Galata Bridge, (just how many fisherman can you pack onto one bridge?), before heading into The Grand Bazar for some lucrative bargains. Then onto the very historic area of Sultanahmet – where some of the most famous Istanbul sights can be found. Start with Sophia Hagia, an awe-inspiring expression of religious faith and one of the world’s foremost architectural wonders. The Blue Mosque “faces off” Sophia Hagia, commissioned by Sultan Ahmet at the tender age of 19, today its one of the most celebrated mosques in the world – marvel at the blue Iznik tiles that adorn the interior and you will realise why its called the “Blue Mosque”, and then a short walk away the Topkapi Palace where you can lose several hours or even days exploring this royal residence built to accommodate a sultan, several wives, hundreds of concubines and thousands of retainers.
Homage Apartments also give you very easy access to Istiklal Cadddesi – great for shopping, people watching and the quickest route to Taksim Square – a slice of modern day Istanbul and yet another spot to see a statue of Ataturk and a celebration of Turkeys independence.
You wont go hungry in Istanbul – that’s for sure. Within seconds of leaving the apartments you will stumble on a bakery, butchers and a grocery store. All surrounded by an overwhelming choice of restaurants, bars, cafes and street food. For great views eat at Leb-i-Derya, for amazing Turkish mezze try the Meze by Lemon Tree, for traditional rustic Turkish food head to Refik’s and if you want to rest your palate from Turkish tastes head to Cok Cok Thai for amazing Thai Fusion food.
Istanbul is busy and noisy – the traffic needs to be seen to be believed, but its easy to escape the hustle and bustle – a cruise on the beautiful Bosporus is a very relaxing and a easy way to see more of Istanbul and its stunning buildings and sights. Another option is to head out to the Princes islands for a day or so – only two hours by ferry and certainly no traffic jams to be found, more a queue of horse and carts and bicycle rental shops the only way other than foot too get you round the islands.
Or of course you can simply retreat to Homage and your apartment – before you head out on your next Istanbul adventure.
Jo Redman joined SACO in 2004 after 11 years in the travel and telecommunications industry leading teams of people to deliver sales results with a strong emphasis on providing exceptional customer service. In recent years Jo has provided the strategic direction and management to take the company’s marketing capability and SACO brand forward, with a strong emphasis on bringing the brand to life through SACO teams and people. Jo is also an Engage for Success (EFS) Ambassador. EFS is a movement committed to the idea that there is a better way to work, a better way to enable personal growth, organisational growth and ultimately growth for Britain by releasing more of the capability and potential of people at work. ”It’s all about the people” – could be Jo’s mantraRead more articles by Jo Redman