At the Raffles Istanbul, concierge Kaan Ozkan has spent six years advising visitors about what to do and where to dine in this fascinating Turkish city. Here he offers expert advice for business travelers.
What should business travelers have on hand when visiting your city?
To fully appreciate Istanbul’s main attractions, you’ll want to stroll through the pedestrian district. So pack comfortable walking shoes. Check the weather forecast when you’re packing; the weather can change suddenly, and you’ll want to be prepared.
What are your top restaurant recommendations for a business lunch or dinner?
Papermoon (Adnan Saygun Cad. Akmerkez Residence Entrance No. 224, Akmerkez AVM-Etiler, Ph: +90 0212 282 16 16) is a top-notch option with a quiet atmosphere and delicious Italian food. If you want to impress your guests, Sunset Grill&Bar (Kuruçeşme Mah. Yol Sok. No:2 Ulus Park, Ulus, Beşiktaş, Ph: +90 212 287 03 57) offers both Turkish and international cuisine with a great view of the Bosphorus strait. It’s ideal for bigger groups because of its wide selection of dishes. Of course, Rocca (Zorlu Center, 34340 Istanbul, Ph: +90 212 924 0200) in the Raffles is an excellent option with contemporary Turkish dishes available a la carte or buffet style. We also have an extensive wine list.
What’s something that surprises guests about your hotel?
Our hotel’s 24/7 live-work-play complex is unique in Istanbul. Our site offers luxury shopping, a performing arts center, residences and offices. Guests have easy access to shops, restaurants, groceries, a pharmacy, ATMs, a playground for kids and public transportation.
If business travelers only have a few hours for leisure, what must they see?
On the historic peninsula, the Hagia Sophia Museum, Topkapı Palace and Blue Mosque are the most important sightseeing spots. However, they can be a bit overwhelming, especially for visitors with time restrictions who want to avoid long queues. If you only have time to stroll, visit one of the quaint neighborhoods on the Bosphorus, such as Bebek or Ortakoy. Or take a Bosphorus boat tour, available from several piers in the city.
What’s the best option for outdoor exercise?
Jog on the shores of the Bosphorus, feeling the breeze as you pass local fishermen setting out for the day or bringing in their catch.