The city of Istanbul has always been a brand name. Cultivated by history, natural wonders and works of famous people, the culture of Istanbul is evident in its name, which has spread around the world despite the terrorist incidents which have axed tourism in recent months. Istanbul's picturesque appeal overshadows everything and my admiration for this city grows more with each passing day.
Likely attributable to my admiration, some locally inspired products are catching my attention these days. The first one of these belongs to Casio, a giant world brand, which has created a first-of-its-kind, city-themed watch. The source of inspiration for this premier watch was Istanbul. Distributed in Turkey by Ersa Saat, the Istanbul-themed watches of the Casio G-Shock series are promoted with the grandiose scenery of the Çırağan Palace. Casio CEO Mustafa Ergün described the series as a limited collection of watches inspired by the Bosporus Bridge, the Maiden's Tower, the city's ferries, the seagulls of the Bosporus and the city lines. The watch is available in three color designes - red, white and black - colors that represent the unique red sunset on the Bosporus, the black of night and the white of Istanbul's seagulls.The collection is a limited edition with only 500 watches being produced in each respective color.
On the other hand, the star of the event was dear Saffet Emre Tonguç; a historian, tour guide and writer. Both admirer of Istanbul and an expert, Tonguç explained the history behind the development of the watches around the world and how it parallels the history of Istanbul. Later, the marketing director of the brand, Pınar Baykal unveiled the news: the G-Shock collection will be featured in a festival in Küçükçiftlik and Maçka. The festival will feature the symbols of Istanbul - a city that never sleeps - where attendees can enjoy a pleasant Sunday full of fun activities including Istanbul chats, wall painting events and stage performances by various bands throughout the day. I suggest that you mark your calendar. I would also like to congratulate the PR executive of the brand, Ferda Bakay, who always organizes successful events with impeccable manner. Ferda is a professional lady and a real communicator who has effectively adopted her own brand. The work and plans she have undertaken in the name of Casio are indeed praiseworthy. Congratulations to all Ersa Saat officials for creating such a project just at the period when Istanbul needs worldwide promotion.
Another subject that makes Istanbul a brand-name city is, of course, the world brands it embodies. Particularly, unique values are manifested when these brands come together with the historical values of Istanbul. One of these brands is the Four Seasons Sultanahmet Hotel. The building which is the very first branch of the Four Seasons, happens to be established in an old prison which dates back to 1918.
Today, it has become a super luxury hotel. Opened in 1996, the hotel is a historical stopover with 65 rooms and 11 suites. There is a memory in every hallway. Moreover, the writings and names that convicts carved on the walls were preserved during the building's renovation. Used as a prison from the Ottoman period until the 1980 coup, the building is the monument of the architect Kemaleddin, whose image is featured on 20 Turkish lira banknotes. Today's interior architect, on the other hand, is Sinan Kafadar.
Bulgari products were used in the bathrooms. Belonging to the same brand, the "tea bag for bath" is designed for bathtubs and is a very delicate idea. You may fill the bathtub with hot water and prepare yourself a healing mixture from herbal extracts. Also, the tulip patterned, Vakko design, linen Yukatas - known as the robe-de-chambres - are also remarkable. I loved the idea of providing a special package of water and snacks for guests who leave the hotel for short tours. As for full-day tours, guests receive picnic baskets. Marvelous! All the rooms have high ceilings and they are spacious. I particularly admired the 120-meter Marmara Suite which boasts a view of the Hagia Sofia from its balcony. My favorite suite was the single balcony suite that overlooks the front yard of the hotel. There are red flowers in the windows of every room. These red flowers are in harmony with the caramel color of the hotel and are fantastic. Although the hotel doesn't have a pool, guests can use the magnificent pool of the Four Seasons Bosporus Hotel in Beşiktaş.
The most pleasant place in the hotel is the terrace which overlooks the Hagia Sofia. It is a quaint, open terrace. As spring arrives, stop by this terrace the first chance you get this season. Also, try out the Prison Rose which is the signature cocktail of the hotel and a great example of how rose water can be used to make a cocktail. Another artsy place you will find at the hotel is its yard. Densely covered with trees and flowers, there is a winter garden featured in its landscape that once separated female and male convicts. The main restaurant of the hotel is here as well and offers a very romantic and classic atmosphere while featuring an authentic fireplace. Hosting wine-tasting events every week, it isfilled with unique tastes offered at the lunchtime hour and in the evenings. I highly recommend the salmon dish which includes sweet potatoes and a house butter sauce. I also loved the herb-inspired Hengel ravioli that hails from the district of Kars, the stuffed cabbage and their signature dessert that is a fusion of eastern and western tastes. Just imagine a dessert of creme brulee atop künefe. The same place will offer brunches in April. I would like to congratulate Chef Savaş Demir for this delicious menu.
Jewelery is another artisan craft that gives Istanbul its world brand status. With the opening of its first store in Çırağan Palace's Hotel Kempinski in 1995, Collection Jewelery has specially designed rings inspired by Istanbul. Intricate designs featuring the Hagia Sofia, the Blue Mosque and Topkapı Palace are skillfully crafted on these rings. The ring featuring the Topkapı Palace design tells the story of the history of the Ottoman sultans who lived at the palace and includes pink and blue sapphires, tanzanite and diamonds.
Blue of Bosporus Collection - Coralia Ring Sponge Effect
A beautiful dome is featured on the ring, which opens to reveal a dagger. Likewise, the "Blue of Bosporus" series is, like the Bosporus itself, something out of a fairy tale. Created from blue topaz, sapphire, diamond and the rare Paraiba stone, the collection features every tone of blue. The deep lines and curvatures on the stones were inspired by the Bosporus' flowing waters. A city as valuable as Istanbul could only be promoted by such precious stones and I would like to congratulate the creator of the brand, Dilek Ertek, one of the most important names in Turkish jewelry, for this successful collection.
Top 3 Hotels of the Week
- George's Hotel / Galata
- Ariana Lodge / Cappadocia
- Bosporus Palace / Çengelköy
Top 3 Restaurants of the Week
- Any / Arnavutköy
- Mitte / Karaköy
- Grey / Nişantaşı
Top 3 People to Follow
- Shirin Bebe Schade / Luxury tourism expert
- İsmail Acar / Painter
- Selin Söğütlügil / Poet
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