We arrived in Istanbul and were driven greeted by a car that had been sent by our hotel which whistled us straight through the old part of Istanbul and onto the doorstop of the secretive Misafir Suites. We had found the hotel whilst trying to book a holiday in Croatia so it was complete luck. The review on Trip Advisor were so over the top that we had to go there... here's a sample:
"We read about Misafir in NYTimes and booked it for our 1 week vacation.The paper mentioned that it was stylish and hip for good prices.First of all it is in the center of the city and I think if we stayed in any other part of the city it would have been a less gratifing experience.There is all this young and hip bars and restaurants in the neighbourhood. The hotel is very well decorated stylish and modern which makes you feel good,with the eastern touch.And the rooms I cannot praise them enough,so big and comfortable. Breakfast, free wireless connection are included in a very humble price.The service is fast, friendly and willing so we will go back and recommend to everyone."
"My husband and i stayed in misafirsuites for 5 days in a trip last month.Is is located in the center of the vibrant istanbul.The service is great and very personalized with sensitive stuff.The room,i dont even know where to begin,is huge and chic and have a lot of soul with every gadget that you could need.Prices are very good when you look to other hotels in istanbul,which is shoking because not only it is better than any huge 5 star hotel it also includes everything in the price(breakfast,internet...).It was a very pleasant experience for us."
How could we not go there after reading that.
Having deposited our kit in our huge suite we had a chat with the charming receptionists who we consulted about all the places to visit and eat at that we had selected as possibilities from our numerous guide books. Out of The Hedonists' Guide, Time Out, Dorling Kindersley and Wallpaper, Time Out and The Hedonists' Guide consistently came out on top. The brilliant staff took on board all of these views and were utterly brilliant at recommending and booking all the restaurants for our 3 night trip.
On the night we arrived we were keen to go to Chenga or 180 but the staff said why not go to Nu Teras which they thought was better than the two we had found in tourists' guide books. Who were we to disagree? According to reviews we've seen now it is the place to be seen in Istanbul!
We arrived and were blown away by the gorgeous view over the old part of Istanbul. Stunning. We had read about how Istanbul is a great place for roof top bars and restaurants... and you can see why. Istanbul's skyline comes alive at night time. A bit like how "celebs" like Britney (in her hey day) and Sarah Harding look ropey during the day and then amazing once the sun has gone down and the booze has started flowing. 2 brilliant G&Ts later and we were in another world from the slog of London. Not a bad way to toast Cowie's 25th birthday.
With the booze keeping us warm as we looked out at the amazing view before heading to a great table where we were treated like royalty. We choose a bunch of small sharing plates to start with which were a bit like Turkish tapas. Wonderful smoked salmon, delicious ceviche of sea bass and some really tasty bread with olive oil and balsamic, all washed down with some refresihing white Turkish wine.
Our mains dishes were small but delicious. My lamb tenderloin, roasted with garlic and rosemary, was succulent and extremely tasty. Cowie's salmon came almost rare and wrapped in pancetta. I'm not sure I heard a squeak out of her for the duration of her attack on her salmon... so it must have been good!
We finished with a strawberry millefeuille and a chocalate and espresso souffle. We both devoured these deserts like we hadn't eaten in weeks. Surely this is the mark of a good meal?
As our meal drew to a close the terrace began to fill up with glamourous young trend setters from Istanbul, eager to show off their finery (and legs and chests). No sooner had Cowie began to shivver than an observant waiter had glided over and covered her shoulders with a rug! What a great place... particularly for a special occassion on a beautifully clear night.
Here's the review in Time Out.