The 2007 It List

by Ondine Cohane

Istanbul, Turkey

Move over, Marrakesh. As Turkey strives to enter the European Union while keeping its other foot firmly in Asia, Istanbul is ready for its close-up (its latest close-up, we should say—it has been the capital of three empires, after all). A city that literally strides two continents, Istanbul is used to the two-faces-of-Janus clichés—old vs. new! West vs. East!—but, well, they're largely true. Women in burkas shop alongside girls in skinny jeans. The sixth-century Hagia Sophia isn't far from Istanbul Modern, a new contemporary art museum in a former waterfront warehouse (not to mention its see-and-be-seen café, pictured). You can browse for rugs in the Grand Bazaar and for fashion in the newest Harvey Nichols. A number of boutique hotels are opening around town; one of the most picturesque, Sumahan, is in a former distillery on the water. Four Seasons—whose hotel in the old town is such a success it's nearly always booked solid—will open a second property in late 2007, also on prime river real estate. Istanbullus aren't a particularly religious lot and are determined to transform their town into one of the world's nightlife capitals, preferring to survey the skyline with a drink in hand. Book a table in advance at rooftop hot spot 360 Istanbul, with its spectacular views of the city. After hours, head to Babylon, which attracts Europe's top DJs as well as live acts. There's even a surprisingly sophisticated gay scene here. And you thought Dubai was forward-looking.

Istanbul Modern
Tel: 90 212 334 7300

Harvey Nichols
Tel: 90 212 319 1155

Tel: 90 216 422 8000

360 Istanbul
Istiklal Caddesi, Misir Apartmani 32/309
Tel: 90 212 251 1042

Seyhbender Street 3
Tel: 90 212 292 7368

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.



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