Above: Pool and gardens, Mandarin Oriental Bosphorus, Istanbul

Yes to Turkey: The Time to Go Is Now

Pool and gardens, Mandarin Oriental Bosphorus, İstanbul

It’s bittersweet writing about Turkey, a country I love that suffered such a terrible disaster. While it may seem tempting to abandon plans of a vacation there in the wake of the earthquake, I encourage everyone who can to go. Thousands of people there depend on money from tourism. Visitors to Turkey always receive a warm welcome, and I suspect it will be doubly so for those who come now. Fortunately, the places described here suffered no physical damage, and their allure is undiminished. In these regions, new and ever increasing numbers of luxury accommodations are supplemented by excellent touring services and exquisite restaurants for both casual and fine dining. We had a wonderful 12 days in this historic crossroads.

Most Turkish itineraries start and finish in cosmopolitan Istanbul, an ancient city that straddles Asia and Europe. It was once confined to Sultanahmet, the old quarter between the Sea of Marmara and the Golden Horn inlet, home to Topkapi Palace, the Grand Bazaar and the Hagia Sophia, the largest cathedral in the world for almost a thousand years. But now this city of 15 million inhabitants stretches up most of the Bosphorus.

Six Senses Kocatas Mansions

Infinity pool, Six Senses Kocatas Mansions, İstanbul

An oasis of calm in the populous swirl that is Istanbul, the well-appointed Six Senses Kocatas Mansions hotel is so far up the Bosphorus that it’s more than halfway to the Black Sea. It combines two white mansions on the strait that were once home to Ottoman pasha Necmettin Molla Kocataş. Along with fine Turkish art, Kocataş family photos line walls under the high ceilings of parlors furnished with comfortable, stylish seating. The mansions are connected by a fountained marble courtyard planted with topiaries. Wide staircases lead to 43 guest rooms.

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Above: Pool and gardens, Mandarin Oriental Bosphorus, Istanbul

Read More from Our Trip:

Dining Discoveries in Istanbul Three Memorable Stops Along Turkey’s Aegean Wine Route