Les Clefs D'Or
Les Clefs D'Or

Your Key To Istanbul Turkey – 2023 Les Clefs d’Or Award Nominee

As Sultanahmet symbolizes Istanbul's historic past, the neighborhoods of Kadiköy reflect its ‎progressive future.‎ Istanbul has a vast history that once served as a capital of the Ottoman Empire, and it also ‎offers beautiful landscapes that straddle Europe and Asia across the Bosphorus Strait. It is ‎almost impossible to see everything Istanbul has to offer in one trip or perhaps even in one ‎lifetime.‎

Still, its central neighbourhoods are relatively compact, and each has its own distinct ‎character and offerings. I feel, the hidden gem in Istanbul has always been ‘’Kadıköy‘’and its ‎trendy neighbourhood ‘’Moda.’’‎

The popularity of the Kadıköy district on the Asian side of Istanbul has significantly increased ‎in recent years, creating a neighbourhood that’s vibrant in day and night, with third-wave ‎coffee shops, hip local boutiques, small independent art galleries, street arts, antique shops, ‎restaurants, cocktail bars, pubs and live-music venues.‎

Here is a list of some of my favourite places in Kadıköy and Moda.‎

To get to Kadıköy from the European side of Istanbul, one jumps on the ferry, the 20-minute ‎ride makes frequent runs across the strait, a fun activity with Turkish Street musicians on ‎board. If it is your first visit to Kadıköy, it will be most convenient to start from Mühürdar ‎Street, which is only steps away from the Kadıköy Dock and the Fish Market. Before you ‎head up, you mıght want to quickly visit the Church of Agia Efimia, a 19th century Greek ‎church and admire the beauty of frescoes. The famous dessert store Şekerci Cafer Erol has ‎been staple for Turkish candy for years and continues its traditional way of candy making to ‎this day. ‎

The fish market is a sprawling street of shops and fish stalls that not only have the freshest ‎seafood, but also other delicious offerings that range from organic honey to pickled ‎vegetables to Turkish cheese. While strolling Bahariye’s historic streets, you can catch the ‎vintage Kadıköy-Moda Nostalgic tram. Hop on and off at streets like rainbow umbrella-‎shaded Ziyâ Bey, and famous Bar Street – Kadife, lined with pubs, tattoo parlours and live ‎music, and Leylek street which offers vintage fashion stores.‎

The Sureyya Opera House is the most eye-catching building in Bahariye Street that was ‎originally founded in 1927 as the first musical theatre in the Anatolian part of Istanbul.‎

If you like chocolate, you should surely try Asuman, the legend of Moda. Don’t forget to ‎order their signature chocolate Asuman! My favourite cafe is Rafine Coffee. Rafine is a very ‎cosy place and they roast their own beans, which you can buy and take with you as a ‎souvenir of Istanbul’s coffee culture.‎

Weekend and summer-night walks down Moda street wouldn’t be the same without a cone ‎of the ice cream produced by master ice-cream maker Ali Usta. Often there are huge ‎queues but don’t let that put you off as it is worth the wait. ‎

You will not forget your exotic, oriental, modern, and historic Moda!‎

Sabuhi is a candidate for the 2023 Les Clefs d’Or Award. This article has been published in its original form.

Meet the Author
Sabuhi Yavuzer

I was born and raised in İstanbul and studied abroad in Germany. While studying there I ‎developed a passion for hospitality at my part-time job. After returning from Germany, I began ‎to work in a start-up hotel establishment in Antalya and had my first full-time experience ‎working in the sector.‎ After spending two years in Antalya I decided to move to Istanbul, where I transferred to ‎Double Tree by Hilton Moda. I started working as a concierge for the first time and quickly ‎realized this is the field that I am very passionate about. I worked in Hilton Moda for five years ‎and became a member of Les Clefs d'Or International in 2020. After I moved to Fairmont ‎Quasar Istanbul where I became the Star Employee of LQA. Finally in 2022 I started working at ‎Four Seasons Hotel Sultanahmet, and once again was selected as the Star Employee of LQA in ‎‎2022.‎ I consider working as a concierge a lifestyle not a job. I am honored and grateful to be working ‎as Les Clefs d’Or Concierge with an exuberant set of colleagues and I am hoping that I will be a ‎part of this association for many years.‎

Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at Sultanahmet

Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at Sultanahmet, originally Istanbul’s first contemporary prison built ‎between 1918-1919, offers a landmark experience at the heart of the Old City. ‎ Our century-old neoclassical home is a tranquil sanctuary in the middle of Istanbul's Old City, ‎Sultanahmet, bounded by the mystic waters of the Sea of Marmara and the Bosphorus. While just ‎steps away from top historic attractions such as the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia, our 65-room ‎Hotel offers a calming space filled with charm and elevated Four Seasons care from our more than ‎‎200-person-strong team.‎ Surrounded by breath-taking views of Hagia Sophia Mosque, the Blue Mosque and Marmara Sea, ‎the Hotel offers a quintessential location for exploring Istanbul’s deep heritage. Brimming with ‎character and local charm, the interiors of Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at Sultanahmet have been ‎impeccably re-imagined by multi award-winning design studio Goddard Littlefair. The studio has ‎created a unique city oasis filled with contrasts and diversities. Appealing to those “in the know,” ‎this is a secluded sanctuary in which to relax, unwind and enjoy an authentic experience and be at ‎one with its surroundings. ‎


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