nisantasi shopping district: the best of the best

July 20th, 2012

Left photo courtesy of Visit2Instanbul.com

Shortly after Istanbul’s historic Nisantasi neighborhood was settled by palace staff and members of royalty from the Topkapi Palace, the area began to thrive.  With its immaculate reputation favored by the upper echelons of Turkey, Nisantasi has continued living up to its legacy and is still one of the most glamorous and preferred neighborhoods in Istanbul.

From luxurious boutiques to internationally acclaimed fashion designers such as Prada, Cartier, Louis Vuitton, and more, Nisantasi is Istanbul’s trendiest shopping district.  Out of the four main avenues in the district, New York Times writer Kavitha Rao shares some of the most popular shops in the area, many of which are popular among top fashion icons such as supermodel Gisele Bündchen and actress Meg Ryan.

After a long – but so worth it – day of shopping in one of the most famous areas in the world, give your feet a break and head to Park Hyatt Istanbul, conveniently located in the heart of Nisantasi.  Better than a home away from home, Park Hyatt Istanbul provides all the relaxation activities one expects from a Park Hyatt, including an outdoor pool, luxurious spa, and a state-of-the-art fitness center.  After some down time, indulge in some cocktails, tapas, and outstanding meals at Park Hyatt’s restaurant, lounge, terrace, and wine bar.

travel back to the 16th century in istanbul

June 14th, 2012

Photos courtesy of TreeHugger.com and Park Hyatt Istanbul

Istanbul, Turkey offers the perfect mix of an urban city center with rich, beautiful history that dates back centuries.  That history comes to life through the breath-taking Mosques and architecture of Sinan, the chief architect of the Ottoman Empire.  The Park Hyatt Istanbul offers you a luxurious room to come home to after your day of traveling back in time – the first mosque is located just fifteen minutes away from the hotel!

You can begin your journey at the Sehzade Mosque, just as Sinan did.  This was one of his first mosques built, finished in 1548, and is perfect from the exterior.  However, Sinan placed the entrance in the center of the mosque to create symmetry, which created a passageway right through the main prayer area.  Sinan recognized his mistake and did not make it again.

The next stop is at the Suleymaniye Mosque, the most famous in Istanbul.  It towers over the city above the Golden Horn.  Sinan built it atop a hill to give the illusion that the mosque is floating – an effect that can only be captured in person.  The mosque just reopened after a full restoration and looks just like it did when Sinan and his team first constructed it!

Located right about the city’s lively Spice Market, the Rustem Pasha Mosque will be next on your itinerary and a perfect place to shop, eat, and meet the locals of this unique city. To avoid the crowd and bustle, two simple staircases lead you up to the beautiful and peaceful plaza that was built right outside of the mosque.  The Rustem Pasha Mosque is most famous for its striking and colorful use of Iznik tile on the interior.

Take a quick boat to discover two other unique mosques and the breathtaking view of Istanbul’s nearly 3,000 mosques that create the skyline.  Located on the island of Uskudar, the Semsi Pasha Mosque and Mihrimah Sultan I Mosque can only reached by boat.  Here, Sinan introduced the double porch to his new mosques and this new piece of architecture quickly spread throughout all of Europe.

Located three hours away from Istanbul, spend the day in Edirne to view what Sinan thought was his own masterpiece, the Selimiye Mosque. Formerly located in the capital of the Ottoman Empire, the mosque now stands majestically in the city center of Edirne.

After a long day of exploring, the Park Hyatt Istanbul is the perfect place to wind down. Not only does the hotel have its own historic architecture similar to what you just discovered (with its own innovative flare), a quick trip to The Spa will leave you refreshed and ready for your next day of exploration. Rates begin at $275 per night.

all that jazz

June 27th, 2011

What do Paul Simon, Richard Bona and Raúl Midón have in common? They’ll all be performing at this year’s Istanbul Jazz Festival! Though it may seem like an odd place for jazz, local musicians and world-renown artists will be hitting the streets of this historic city from July 1-19 for the festival, organized by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts. Performances will be held in such eclectic venues as the former Byzantine Church of Hagia Eirine, the Cemil Topuzlu Open Air Theater and the courtyard of the Archaeological Museum.

Have your tickets but looking for a place to relax after a long day of great music? Opt for Park Hyatt in the heart of Istanbul for a luxurious retreat. Rest up in this modern addition to Istanbul’s classic architecture and allow yourself to be pampered with all the luxuries of home, including spa products by famed perfume specialist Blaise Mautin.

For more information about the jazz festival, go to  www.iksv.org/caz.

 

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