Everything about it, with exception of its outstanding service ethic, is slightly chaotic – the traffic, the Bazaars, the busy Bosphorus and the haggling. But it really works. Straddling the two continents, there’s an ever present feel of the mystical Orient erupting into Europe.
The high standard of hotels means where to stay falls to personal preference and the emphasis of the programme - be that business focused or a lively ‘at the centre of it all’ programme. With such a wide range of quality four- and five-star properties the scope is huge; Hyatt Regency or Ceylan Inter-Continental are great choices for meetings, whilst Ciragan Palace and the Four Seasons Istanbul on the Bosphorus are just some of my personal favourites.
In general, prices have started to creep up but Istanbul is still extremely good value for money and, especially in today’s marketplace, there’s the added advantage that they already understand the need to drive a hard bargain!