Turkey has a special place in our heart here at Chic Darling,. Three of our editors (including myself) have visited Turkey this year alone. While we may have had very different experiences, Turkey has left a very strong impression on all of us. I like to think of myself as a child of the world, and love to see as much of it as possible. Four years ago I went on a 9 month journey across Europe and Asia with a backpack, and the will to explore as much as I could during that time. Hostels, the metro system, and trying to communicate with a limited vocabulary were all part of the journey. Vanessa (one of our editors) on a similar trip earlier this year, and you can read her recap here. This time though, it was a group of fashion bloggers in Turkey thanks to Turkish Airlines, and Hilton Hotels and our adventure was very different.
The odd thing about backpacking is that at some point in your life, you realize that you can’t do that anymore, or better yet, you don’t WANT to do that anymore. This is what I like to call the “GROWNUP VACATION” phase of your life. During this stage you look for the comforts of life, or at least, look to sleep in a room that doesn’t have 5 other people that you don’t know in it. This was that trip for me. Although I had never been to Istanbul before, I felt right at home. Even though Istanbul is the only city in the word to straddle two continents, it has a very European flare. Europe being so modern and very close to Canada in style and amenities, made the transition easier. Also, this round we had a group of fashion bloggers in Turkey. How often does that happen?
Our grownup journey started in Business Class on our Turkish Airlines flight from Toronto to Istanbul. While I’m not saying that you need to travel Business Class, it’s a very nice luxury, and can be a great treat for someone. Being in an airplane for 12 hours is hard enough, but Comfort class (which we were in on our return flight) certainly made that trip a lot easier. The legroom, and the food were fantastic, and well worth the money. It’s easy to see why it was voted “The World’s Best Premium Economy Seat”.
The second part of our grownup trip involves working with a great tour guide, or tour company. We had the pleasure having two very capable and charming representatives, Burcu and Fahdi, from Luxury Travel as our guides, we couldn’t have asked for anything more. They even picked us at the airport! They know the city inside out. They knew all the historical sights, and all the local hot spots. It was the best of both worlds. I generally read guide books and assume that I can find my way around a city, but having them with us was a completely enriching experience. I highly recommend getting a guide if you’re in Istanbul. It is certainly worth it.
The last part of our grownup vacation involves staying somewhere nice, and we found a place that checked all of our requirements and more. The fantastic team behind the Hilton (Istanbul Cluster) were a treat to work with! They knew how to make us feel pampered. Not only that, but the 3 Hiltons that we visited had some of the best views in all of Istanbul. I kid you not! We were lucky enough to be invited to a different hotel every night for dinner, and their meals were world class. Our group of fashion bloggers in Turkey were well taken care of.
Our home base for our stay was the stunning Conrad Istanbul, which is where we spent our first evening dining in Europe while starring across the Bosphorus to Asia. The hotel is going through some very subtle renovations right now, and we had the chance to look at the updated suites. Future guests are going to be very impressed. We also had the chance to get familiar with the Hilton ParkSA and the Hilton Istanbul where we dined the following two nights. The hotels are built for a sophisticated crowd, and they sure know how to take care of them.
These are just some of the views.
All in all, visiting Turkey in a grownup manner was a delight! Not only did we get to explore hidden gems, but we were able to witness the city from some of the best vantage points while enjoying great food, and even better company.
If you are heading to Istanbul anytime soon, make sure to say hi to our new friends!