A Familiar Trip to Turkey

A Familiar Trip to Turkey

Nestled in the #Mediterranean, #Turkey beams with so much beauty and glory. From #Istanbul to #Cappadocia, I had an amazing time exploring its streets and markets at the same time learning bits and pieces of its culture. With such a historic past and unique geography, Turkey certainly did not disappoint!


Turkey was not a disappointing destination. It was a fusion of beauty, culture, age-old glories, and millennial history.

Instabul view from above
Instabul view from above

The Istanbul Airport has the easiest immigration I have experienced so far, and thanks to the good VIP service Travel Refinery provided me, it took me no more than 20 minutes from the moment I left the plane to get to the door of the car that was waiting for me.

The guide who was waiting for me quickly gave me general information of the city, the weather, my hotel, and its surrenders.

Istanbul is an amazing and beautiful city the epicenter of architecture, art, and culture; great for shopping and heavenly for foodies.

The waters of the Bosphorus, always flowing, gives the city a sense of calm for the 12 million people living in Istanbul and the metro area.

I stayed at The Ritz Carlton (although its location is not the most convenience for many people) located on the top of one of the seven hills of Istanbul; a tall building with spacious rooms and good food.

I visited three more hotels - the two Four Seasons and the Shangri-La.

The two Four Seasons in Istanbul are two gorgeous properties!

Four Seasons balcony viewFour Seasons hotel roomSun setting view from balloon
Four Seasons balcony view
Four Seasons balcony viewFour Seasons hotel roomSun setting view from balloon
Four Seasons hotel room
Old property
Old property
Old woman crafting
Old woman crafting
Traditional spices
Traditional spices

The Four Seasons - Bosphorus

Waterside palace with amazing rooms and décor. The prices of the rooms could be high for many people, but believe me it is worth it every penny! The palace has views, gardens, and a movie set swimming pool. The views from the hotel over the Bosphorus waterfront are quite gorgeous, especially at night.

from  $560

Hotel Four Seasons Istanbul At Bosphorus

 Ciragan Cd 80 Besiktas, Istanbul, Turkey
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The hotel is walking distance from Ortakoy, one of the Istanbul’s more happening suburbs. With a string of fashionable stores, fish and vegetable markets, a cluster of restaurants side-by-side in front of the water, riming the square. The Ortakoy Mosquein at the corner of the square is absolutely breathtaking.

Hotel Istanbul at Sultananhmet

It is a treasure! A Turkish neo-classic bastille, converted into an extraordinary jewel of a hotel, that sits around a tranquil courtyard. With 65 rooms and suites, some facing the garden, the landscaped courtyard, or the city streets, they are brightly lit, with high ceilings, large windows, and are generously proportioned. The hotel has a great terrace where you can see the Blue Mosque, which is only steps away from the hotel, as well as the Topkapi Palace and the Haghia Sophia, three of the wonders of Istanbul... so the location is perfect! The hotel has contemporary Turkish artwork from the Ottoman period on display.

The Shangri-La

The Shangri-La, next to the Naval museum, and across one of the ferry stations, not too far from the Four Seasons Bosphorus, is another wonderful property by the water - a relatively new hotel since 2012. It provides an oasis of quietude and beauty.

The rooms are decorated with soft pastel colors, white marble everywhere, and beautiful tilt blue silk curtains framed the tall glass windows. My room faced the river, so when you enter the room the first thing you see is the water of the river making you believe you are not on a hotel, but a ship. Some other rooms faced the garden, where a tall painting of Shangri-La hangs.

My room faced the river, so when you enter the room the first thing you see is the water of the river making you believe you are not on a hotel, but a ship.
from  $317.73

Hotel Shangri-La Bosphorus, Istanbul

 Sinanpasa Mah. Hayrettin Iskelesi S Besiktas Istanbul 34353, Istanbul, Turkey
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This hotel has a nice restaurant, with good choices from Turkish, Greek, Spanish and of course Asian food. The afternoon tea is quite opulent, with lots of great pastries, and live music, plus a good selection of local and international wines.

Sianji Well-Being Resort

In Bodrum I stayed at the Sianji Well-Being Resort, composed of suites and villas, and located on a private beach. The resort has a nice combination of pleasure and wellbeing, offering unique wellness packages like spa treatment, clinical implementations, wellness and spiritual therapies.

My suite was a duplex, with the room on the second floor. It had a huge hydro-massage bath next to the tall window with an awesome view of the Aegean sea and the Greek Island of Kos.

The service was excellent! I did a package of well-being, and I can assure you that the nurses and the staff were all knowledgeable professionals, ready to answer questions, and explaining everything. This place is good for people that are looking for healing and rejuvenation.

The Amanruya

In Bodrum I also saw the Amanruya located on the Southeast go the Aegean cost.

The hotel was closed for winter, but I have spoken with the manager this summer and told him I will be in Boldrum, and I would like to see his property. So the day of my inspection, the director of sales and reservation manager were waiting to show me around.

The property is a fantastic resort, with wide open views of the Mandalay Bay. It is surrounded by a great forest of ancient olive groves, and Mediterranean pine and sage. The Architecture is Mediterranean and Ottoman; simple, but elegant, with an organic ambiance. It has 36 pool terrace cottages, each with their own garden, a traditional Turkish charcoal fire place, and fitted with under-floor heating. Because it is a family resort, the room comes with a TV and DVDs for families with children, and they offer lots of family activities, plus there is a golf club nearby.

The Architecture is Mediterranean and Ottoman; simple, but elegant, with an organic ambiance. 

Bodrum is quite an adventure , with lots of shops, night life, good restaurants and the old Bodrum castle.

The Museum

In Cappadocia, The Museum is the place to stay.

It Is indeed a real living museum, with many valuable and priceless antiques! Even though the building is small, the hotel was created to give you a sense of a much larger place. Nestled above a sleepy main square with stunning a view of the very surrealistic and strange landscape of Cappadocia, I felt like I have stepped inside a painting made by Salvador Dali. With 30 luxe cave rooms all decorated differently, so no one is alike, all with great views to enchanting and mystical valley, it is a great place to sit and dream.

I felt like I have stepped inside a painting made by Salvador Dali.

The Museum exceeded all my expectations, with a great service, food, and a good local wine selection. Eating at the restaurant is an experience like no other; the food is one of the best I had in Turkey... What a great selection of traditional local and Turkish cuisine!

The Argos

The Argos in Cappadocia is another wonderful rock hotel - it is magical!

Located in a gigantic fairy-chimney, it is a hotel that has undergone so many transformations, from Christian residence, to a caravanserai, and later, even a linseed oil factory.

There are 53 suites, all in different Mansions, some with private cave pools, and all designed with different styles.

From the terrace you can see the hundreds of abandoned pigeon houses cut out of the rock.

Tafoni House

I also visited Tafoni house in a different village, Ortahisar, about 20 minutes from The Museum and Argos.

The village where this property is located does not have the same feeling as the village where the two other hotels are located. My initial feeling was that I just arrived at a truck stop; the plaza was full of cars, but once we quickly drove by the square, the stone houses and the cobblestone streets started giving me a warm feeling. The hotel is ok for younger people, and for budget-conscious travelers, but offers spacious suites, very opulent bathrooms, and also panoramic views of the valley.

Hot air balloons take offSun setting view from balloon
Hot air balloons take off
The "heart" of the balloon
The "heart" of the balloon
Four Seasons balcony viewFour Seasons hotel roomSun setting view from balloon
Sun setting view from balloon
Istanbul seen from far away
Istanbul seen from far away

In general, Travel Refinery did an outstanding trip for me. The guides were exceptional, with a great knowledge of their country and their overwhelming history, and full of facts. The drivers were on time, so ready to help, and very attentive to keeping the cars super-clean. What a great company to use for our clients! I would not recommend any other company than Travel Refinery, and we all love Ziya and his partner Derya, don’t we?

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