Passport Concierge Halil Tinaztepe
Four Seasons Istanbul
by Joseph Schmitt
As head concierge of the Four Seasons Istanbul Hotel. Istanbul at the Bosphorus, (www.four seasons.com/Bosphorus), Halil Tinaztepe’s day is spent guiding guests in the right direction to experience the unique diversity of exotic Istanbul. Today, he works inside a former 19th-century Ottoman palace that was converted into a Four Seasons in 2008. Before assuming his position alongside the mighty Bosphorus river in a renovated palace, his early career with Four Seasons found him in an equally historic building, albeit with a juxtaposing history.
“It was great fun to begin working with the hotel when we opened the Four Seasons Sultanahmet, which is situated in an old prison,” he notes. “While the first Four Seasons in Istanbul was an old jailhouse, the history, art, and architecture, from the end of the Ottoman Empire, were quite worth preserving. Today, guests find themselves in a luxury setting, just steps from some of Istanbul’s most significant sights in the old city. With two very different properties in Istanbul, we are able to really show the world how beautiful is our exotic city.”
Where do you send guests for romantic dinners in Istanbul?
Istanbul is one of the most romantic cities on the planet, and many venues have great terraces facing to the Bosphorus River, which is unique in that it divides Europe and Asia. One top choice for a romantic diner would be Mikla restaurant (Meşrutiyet Caddesi 15. www.miklarestaurant.com. Tel: +90-212-293-5656). Mikla has the most romantic terrace where you can enjoy the best sunset view from its rooftop. Here you can see the majestic Bosphorus, and many touristic highlights throughout the city. The cuisine is mostly contemporary Turkish fare. This is also a good location for sunset cocktails. Aqua (www.fourseasons.com/bosphorus/dining), our restaurant at the Four Seasons Bosphorus has intimate indoor dining, along with a very spacious and elegant patio, where guests dine right at the edge of the romantic river. Our menu highlights the regions fresh fish and offers the best pasta dishes in Istanbul.
Within the last decade Istanbul has become more and more popular, and many trendy venues have opened. Nuteras (Meşrutiyet Caddesi No. 67. Tel: +90-212-245-6070. www.nupera.com.tr/nuteras) is one of these stylish places that is very popular with visitors and Istanbul’s ‘hip’ crowd. I think it is one the best bar-restaurants in the city for views of the Sultanahmet area. The evening hours are more romantic, for cocktails and dinner. Later at night, however, the restaurant becomes more of a nightclub, with DJs.