Dear Steemit Friends:
We have done so much exploring over recent weeks that it was well past the time when we needed to stop, relax and enjoy some good accommodation and good food together. In today's blog we get to chill out together in the beautiful W Istanbul Hotel, of course located in Istanbul, Turkey. Then let's have some lunch and some dinner together, taking some time for relaxation and good food in the hotel and in the city.
As you shall discover, W Istanbul is one of the most unique hotels you will ever see and as a result, I just couldn't stop taking pictures! Every time I went to the lobby or back into my room or to the front of the hotel, I saw new beautiful things I wanted to take note of. To help you, my dear readers, I've tried to put all of my shots of the hotel itself, then the room and then the meals together. But as you will see, many of my snaps today came from different times of the day as I came and went from W Istanbul and discovered new sights to see each time I did!
W Istanbul is part of the W Hotels chain of hotels, first launched in 1998 in New York. There are now 52 different hotels in the chain, aimed at younger travellers who want something a bit different, special and artistic. The W here in Istanbul was the first of the chain to open in Europe - in May 2008. Located in the historic Akaretler Row Houses, an area of Istanbul full of high end homes, restaurants, cafes, art galleries and many more amazing sights. From the outside you could be forgiven for thinking that W Istanbul could be upscale homes in central London with a hint of the Ottoman empire about them. Built in the later 1800s the old row of houses offers a feeling of high-class homeliness to the exterior of the hotel.
But the interior of the hotel... well that is a different story! As soon as you enter the hotel it feels like you are transported into a different reality. This entrance hall truly encompasses everything about W Istanbul's interior. Beautiful lighting, stunning modern design and the real 'wow' factor. With 140 rooms, 3 restaurant and bars and stunning common areas, the hotel is one of the most stylish places I've had the pleasure of staying.
Every single wall and ceiling has been carefully lit, with different shades, designs and beautiful artistic patterns everywhere you look. This was just the concierge desk, complete with hashtag statement lighting and walls covered in geometric metal artwork. Once you'd thought you'd seen it all you'd just see more!
Further into the lobby were these seriously gorgeous seating areas. It was almost impossible to choose a spot to sit to have a coffee while I waited for my room. The area doubled as the hotel's cafe, but the conventional idea of cafe just doesn't apply here! As you can see, every seat, every wall, every piece of ceiling has beautiful moody lighting with the design feeling like a cross between an English garden, an Ottoman style nightclub and an American Jazz hall. With all of those different styles, you'd have thought it would look cluttered and feel a bit messy, but it doesn't! W Istanbul have pulled this one off nicely and I almost forgot to drink my coffee because I kept getting up and wandering around.
Even the the bar and cafe area, called W Lounge was full of different funky lights. Greens, blues and pinks, hashtag feature lights everywhere, with modern black marble table tops, the atmosphere was really cool. The design of the lounge is very clever, with many different corners, screens and high backed seats making you feel like you are relaxing alone in your own private seating area. This was very clever because though the hotel can get quite busy, you were always able to find your own private alcove, all in a different style, to find some privacy and time to relax. Some hotels have large open lobbies which feel very hectic when there are a lot of people, but in W Instanbul you feel like you've got your own secret seating spot, away from noise and other people.
As you can see I tried out many different hidden seating spots. I felt like a little girl exploring the secrets of a modern mansion and finding my own little hiding places to relax and enjoy. No two areas are quite the same and would you believe that all of these pictures come from the same little lounge area. W Hotel spared no expense on the design of their common areas, making you feel both in awe and comfortably at home, in the same moment!
You can see the stark contrast between inside and outside the W Istanbul Hotel. Outside and you feel like you could be in a cobbled street somewhere in a boutique area of Paris, and inside you're transported to another world. I loved the contrast and couldn't wait to start exploring what my room had in store for me next! I was ready for more surprises.
Being transported through the neon pink halls to my room!
Where to start with my room. Absolutely gorgeous, artistic design was forefront in making these rooms as special as the rest of the hotel. Being limited by the space of the original building, the room certainly wasn't the largest I had ever been in but what it lacked in size it made up for in design. First, I noticed the huge mirrors on both walls, making the whole space feel much bigger, and of course beautifully framed by more excellent lighting.
Of course the mirror is framed with crazy geometric designed wood and the bed is lit from underneath with gorgeous pink neon lighting.
I did feel very welcome here in W Instanbul, and not just because of the pillow. The staff were excellent and though Turkey is known for its generally friendly service, it isn't always known for efficiency of service. My hotel here had both, with a lovely welcome as well as fast, efficient and attentive service from every member of staff I met. They checked and made the room twice a day to make sure it was completely up to scratch and not wanting for anything.
The bathroom was very spacious with this amazing celebrity style mirror that provided the perfect lighting for any lady doing her make up in the morning. I felt like a super-star with a mirror surrounded by lights.
There were some great examples around the hotel of modern art as well as homages to the Ottoman roots that are prominent around the city. Istanbul is famous for being a real melting pot of cultures, being the 'gateway' to Europe from Africa for centuries. As a result it has been fought over many times and has changed hands frequently. That means that culturally it's one of the most diverse places in the world - a fact that W Istanbul Hotel captures beautifully, showing that Istanbul is proud of its heritage, and excited about its future.
Having lunch in W Secret Garden
W Hotel's newest addition, W Secret Garden is a great place to hang out when the weather is good and you just want to relax. As you can see, it's so secret (and new) that not many people have discovered it yet! But I'm sure that it won't be long before this place is bustling with activity because everything about it was amazing. The food was great, the location just perfect with the beautiful bamboo and plants surrounding it, and the funky bar area for evening drinks!
It was very hot so I wanted a fairly light lunch, and I had quite a treat planned for my dinner, so I started with one of W Secret Garden's beautiful smoothies. They offer a range of appetisers, detox smoothies and mocktails with cocktails and other drinks also served, particularly in the evening where this becomes a place to hang out with friends, have some drinks and try some hookah.
Well... you know how I said I wanted a light lunch? Turns out there were too many beautiful looking things on the menu. I also ordered a fresh grilled chicken salad, make your own breakfast burrito with a unique take on hashbrowns...
Oh and the bacon and cheese burger sliders looked too good too...
After feeling well and truly full, I saw another customer who had come out to the garden order some ice cream and I just couldn't resist. It was a very hot day, as you can see, because my ice cream was melting before I'd even had a chance to taste it! But it was exactly what I needed to help me cool down in the heat of the day. I have to say that the food at W Secret Garden was surprisingly good for what is essentially a cafe. The menu was varied and enticing and all o the food extremely tasty and well cooked. For a quick snack, or for a really large meal (whoops), this spot was perfect.
A bit of shopping and then more food at Istinye Park
Istinye Park was first opened in 2007 and offers nearly 300 stores. It is widely regarded as one of the best shopping malls in all of Istanbul and it's easy to see why. It's absolutely massive, beautifully open and airy with all important air conditioning. It also has a Gym, restaurants, a 12 screen cinema and its owners won Shopping Mall developer of the Year in 2008 as well as the mall itself being awarded Europe's Best Shopping Mall the very same year!
The mall itself is 242,000 square metres, which is huge, comprising shops, food, parkign and common areas. It was designed by US architect Tom Kelly and it took 3 years in total to design and build. I distracted myself for the afternoon with a little retail therapy, checking out the many different shops, just resting and relaxing after some busy days of sight-seeing. It was a really lovely way to unwind. But the real reason I had come to Istinye Park was that the world famous restaurant, La Petite Maison, had one of their restaurants right here in Istinye Park. They have six restaurants at the moment in London, Dubai, Istanbul, Miami, Abu Dhabi and Hong Kong so I was really excited to be able to visit!
The design of the restaurant is just perfect. With doors that can completely open the front of the restaurant, and the expressionist art of many different French artists, you feel as though you could be in a fine restaurant in France itself. They've done amazing work at decorating the entire place and the atmosphere was both sophisticated and relaxed at the same time - just what you'd expect from a lovely French restaurant.
The art work here was truly spectacular, with many different representations of art style from around France. I loved the acrylic 3D style shot of Steve McQueen on his motorbike and the fresh flowers must have cost a fortune to maintain. This level of detail is what makes an internationally recognised restaurant like this so special to visit.
As the sun begun to set, I was finally ready for some dinner after such a big lunch. Feeling like I was going to sit outside in a little down in France, I chose the seating out on the terrace for my dinner. Even though this wasn't really dining al fresco, I liked the idea anyway!
Even the drinks were beautiful and I hadn't even ordered food yet! In the top left I had what the menu called a 'Carnivale de France' which was Vanilla Ice Cream, Banana, Walnuts, Milk and Honey. And yes, it was as rich and creamy as it sounds! It was absolutely beautiful, as you'd expect, but not as refreshing as I needed after all of my retail therapy so I also got a 'Home-made Ice Tea which was made with Berry Punch Tea, Orange Juice and Berries - that was absolutely delicious!
I was still pretty full from lunch so I opted for some small dishes and a simple main to make sure I could still stand up out of my seat at the end of the meal! To start I had the Chou-fleur Tabblouleh or 'Cauliflower Tabbouleh' which is a Lebanese salad mostly made with fresh herbs, tomatoes, onions and bulgur wheat. With a very current twist La Petite Maison had swapped out the grains for cauliflower instead. Beautifully seasoned, you could taste the freshness of the herbs used - a real delight.
I also ordered the Ratatouille et Feta, which was beautiful. A mix of Mediterranean Vegetables that had been marinated in olive oil, they were cooked down to the most perfect soft but slightly firm texture, and then topped with small pieces of feta cheese. I felt much healthier for these two choices after the slightly less than healthy food choices at lunch and I was amazed at how tasty such simple dishes could be made to taste.
To finish off my starter I had Aubergine Grillee, Mozzarella et Cravettes au Pistou which in English means Grilled Aubergine, Mozzarella, Shrimps and Pesto. Beautifully cooked this felt like a real delicacy. I could have just eaten a couple of these and gone home happy!
Finally, for the main I had the Saumon Confit Au Deu De Bois, a slow cooked salmon fillet with a sweetcorn relish and confit lemon sauce. A classic combination, the lemon and the salmon went so well together. Every mouthful was truly a delight with the salmon being perfectly cooked. Salmon can become a bit dry and flaky but this dish was a complete triumph. So far from France, the chefs here are still able to turn out beautiful French inspired foods that suit the most sophisticated pallets.
I hope you've enjoyed a relaxing time with me in my blog today. Time to unwind, enjoy my accommodation, and eat a variety of really really good food. Sometimes, you need a break. You can see too much too quickly and your brain just can't process it all. By the end of my trip to Turkey I was beginning to take some of the sights I was seeing for granted because I had already seen similar things around the country. But this can also be due to spending too much time on the road. It was lovely today to just sit in one place, enjoy some good food, relax in a comfy bed, and recharge my batteries.
I hope you've enjoyed this blog as much as I enjoyed writing it. Just looking back on the beautiful meals has made me so hungry again already. I can't wait to take you on some future explorations around the world, tasting different foods from different places. If you've enjoyed my blog today, please comment below and tell me which food you most wished you could have tried! Also, make sure you like the post and follow me for even more blogs about food, travel, life and love in the future. Until next time Steemit Friends!
晚餐我选择在Istinye Park购物中心旁边的La Petite Maison餐厅吃饭，这是一家结合了法餐，意大利和地中海美食的创意餐厅，在很多欧洲的国家都有分店，不过这还是我第一次尝试这家餐厅。最初看到这家餐厅，就被它独特的装修所吸引，餐厅里随心所欲盛放的鲜花和绿色植物，装点出舒心轻松也十分温馨的气氛。墙壁上挂满了各种有趣的抽象艺术漫画，颜色缤纷，给人特别愉悦的心情。餐厅面积很大，在用餐高峰期，一层二层都能坐满，所以在周末的时候，可不要忘记提前预约哟。餐厅的食物，用料精细，制作精良，厨师独道的灵感仿佛赋予了食物以灵魂，每一道菜都无可挑剔，摆盘也很优雅，就算是最简单的食材，也可以烹饪的如此出色，凸显出餐厅厨师精湛的厨艺，牛排鲜嫩可口，吃起来津津有味，烤三文鱼更是让我吃到惊呼，简直不像是这个世间的美食，味道非常让人难忘。今天的伊斯坦布尔W酒店之旅，还有都市美食分享就要告于段落了，之后还有更多有趣的旅行故事想要分享给大家。
Anniversary Dance Competition!
August is a very special month because since 2016, it's been my opportunity to celebrate my second "birthday". That's right, it's been two full years since I first started on Steemit and what a journey it has been. With two years gone by, I can only be thankful to you guys and the rest of the wonderful Steemit community for being there with me through thick and thin. I would like to thank all the friends and followers who continue to support me, without which, I wouldn't be where I am today!
In the years to come, I will continue to invest all my passion and enthusiasm into the platform, sharing all my experiences, joys and happiness, growing along side you all, along side Steemit.
To celebrate, I'd like to hold a small competition -- for those who really enjoy music and dance, this will be right down your alley!
For this dance contest, I've chosen "Dura" by Daddy Yankee which is a very popular song in Asia but originating from Puerto Rico. The first time I heard this song, I couldn't help but dance along to it. It has very simple moves and should be a lot of fun for you guys.
Here are the rules :
- You don't need to be a dancer to participate and you don't need to copy my moves if you don't want to. Just move to the rhythm of the music!
- The video only needs to be 10 to 15 seconds long.
- Domestic friends can use the Douyin app to find the song and record directly, maybe you can also check out other examples there for inspiration.
- Upload your video to Dlive and link it in the comments below to enter!
First Prize 🥇30SBD
Second prize 🥈 20SBD
Third Prize 🥉10SBD
I'll be judging all of the entries based on how much I enjoyed the video so make sure to have a lot of fun! I'll announce the winners in my post next Sunday! I'm looking forward to seeing all of your entries!
My video is at DLive