Top Travel News from Istanbul

We've been hearing so much buzz out of Istanbul as of late. That city is heating up fast, and for great reason! Here's the newest industry gossip coming out of Turkey's thriving epicenter. 

The Turkish Transport Minister has unveiled plans for a new Istanbul airport that will dwarf Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International, now the busiest in the world. The new airport will have six runways and a capacity of 150 million passengers a year. (Istanbul’s existing airports, Ataturk and Sabiha, have a capacity of 45 million and 15 million respectively.) At a cost of $5.6 billion, the new airport will be the largest in the world, its first phase expected to be completed in 2017. A recent article in The Telegraph explains that the project will help the country’s bid for the 2020 Olympics, and also enable Turkish Airlines to expand operations: “The carrier already flies to 216 destinations, fewer than only five other airlines around the world (United, Delta, American, Air France-KLM and Lufthansa).” Moreover, as tourism in Turkey continues to take off, the new airport will be most welcome.

One of our favorite boutique hotels in Istanbul recently opened a buzzworthy new restaurant. Housed in a former Ottoman alcohol distillery on the Asian side of the Bosphorus, Sumahan on the Water takes its name from suma, an ingredient in Turkish raki. The hotel itself is an architectural masterpiece with sleek, contemporary elements. Called Tapasuma, the new restaurant serves Turkish and Mediterranean cuisine with unrivaled water views. Chef Gokay Cakiroglu has a penchant for fresh, seasonal fish dishes, and gets creative with the mezzes that guests nosh at the eight-meter-long marble bar. Tip: Access to the restaurant is provided on the hotel’s beautiful boat, Sumahan I, which links the European shore with the hotel’s private dock. For more information, visit www.tapasuma.com.

A stop at the Grand Bazaar is a must for travelers to Istanbul, where the Spice Market lures gourmands with its aromatic array of goods used in the Ottoman Palace kitchens: from saffron to cinnamon. Now visitors can also enjoy these intoxicating flavors at the Four Seasons Hotel at the Bosphorus, one of our favorite hotels in Istanbul. After experimenting with numerous spices and liquors, the bar’s mixologists have introduced a seasonal cocktail menu inspired by the Spice Market. The nine spiced cocktails have names evocative of the Ottoman period: Ahmer (meaning scarlet); Enhar (meaning river); and Bazar—aptly named because of the drink's mélange of rich ingredients. The mixologists have also concocted infusions with herbs and spices; think Saffron Infused Vodka Martinis and Rosemary & Cucumber Infused Gin Martinis. For more information, visit www.fourseasons.com/bosphorus.

A new coastal resort will soon be joining Four Seasons’ two luxury hotels in Istanbul, bringing the total to three in the brand’s Turkish portfolio. Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts recently announced plans to debut a Mediterranean resort in Turkey’s Izmir province in 2016. The Aegean town of Cesme has long been a favorite seaside playground for the Turkish jetset, and Four Seasons hopes to capitalize on the region’s alluring attributes—cuisine, cultural history, sun, and sea—to draw international luxury travelers. (The famous archeological site, the ancient city of Ephesus, is found in the region. And kite surfing is big, too.)Situated on the beach, Four Seasons Resort Cesme will have 130 suites and 16 private villas with sweeping sea views. The goal is to offer the highly-customized service that Four Seasons is known for. Recreational facilities promise to be expansive, and the spa will highlight the therapeutic thermal springs that are found throughout the area. For more information, visit www.fourseasons.com.

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