I experienced a great trip to Istanbul with Travel + Leisure in 2015. Our host hotel was Raffles, Istanbul and it was outstanding! Turkish Air provided business class air from JFK and the service was outstanding. Turkish Air is part of the Star Alliance, so I was able to use the lounge at JFK.
Once I landed in Istanbul, I was met by the Sea Song Tours representative and was taken to passport control and baggage claim. The entire process took no more than 10 minutes. Upon arrival at the Raffles Istanbul, I was greeted and taken directly to my room. My butler introduced herself and I was left to say “wow.” We toured the Dolmabache Palace and had lunch at the Kosebasi Restaurant in the Zorlu Center which was attached to the hotel.
That evening, we boarded our yacht for a cruise along the Bosphorus and had dinner at the G Balik on Suada Island. If you enjoy seafood, this is not to be missed! We also did a city tour of Istanbul that included the Hippodrome, Blue Mosque, St. Sophia and Topkapi Palace then was on to the Grand Bazaar. 3000 shops in a 1-mile radius. Crazy is all I have to say. Our farewell dinner was at Arola Restaurant at Raffles - an amazing presentation featuring Spanish cuisine. I definitely want to go back to Turkey someday and explore more of Istanbul and beyond!