Last week, Gadling included Istanbul in our picks for 2012 luxury travel, and introduced you to Daily Secret, a web-based “guide service” offering insider intel to 12 cities, including Istanbul. We got so many more great Istanbul secrets from editor Laura Wells (many with special discounts and exclusive access), we’re posting them for Gadling readers to add to their itineraries. Happy shopping (and tasting)!
Turkish wine: Turkey has amazing wine, but it’s difficult to export as it’s heavily taxed. To try the best Turkish wines (even local sour cherry wine wine, which is delicious) and get ideas for what to buy at duty free, check out Rouge in Taksim. They have free tasting every Saturday, but you can try anything by the glass in the restaurant above, which also serves amazing rare Turkish cheeses and cure meats.
Waterside dining: For a gourmet, organic meal that few know about with a view of the Bosphorus, head to Fark-et-mez in Sariyer. The chef & sous-chef are both Turkish, and Daily Secret members get 15% off their meal. They also have live jazz on certain nights.Travel magazine: One of the most interesting and beautiful magazines (the kind you save) that I’ve ever seen is ‘Cornucopia‘. Written by world-class authors and journalists, the articles cover the history of the former empires of Central Asia, as well as modern figures trying to preserve national treasures. Our members get 10% off the price and they ship worldwide for free!
Rare books: For rare books about Istanbul and the former empires, this bookshop in Kadikoy on the Asian side has any hard-to-find edition, old or new, or they’ll find it, and they ship worldwide.
Artistic home decor: Grand, hand-painted panels & wallpaper that you see in palaces & hotels all over the world is actually made by a company now based in Istanbul. You can visit their trade-only showroom & atelier if you tell them you’re a Daily Secret member when you make an appointment. They’ll ship worldwide without a problem: Iksel in Bebek.
Turkish rugs: Here is the best Turkish antique rug dealer I’ve ever come across with the best prices in the world (I’m a collector and my cousin is an antiques rug dealer, and she agreed)! He is usually only open to ‘trade’, but welcomes our members. You can either leave with a rug, or he ships worldwide at reasonable rates.
Interior design: For handprinted, hand-loomed fabrics and unique handmade furniture, Philadelphia-transplant & textiles expert Elizabeth Hewitt counts Oscar de la Renta and President Obama’s interior designer among her customers. They have everything from scarves to draperies, bed linens, table cloths, and more; all really gorgeous and uniquely central Asian. Her husband & brother-in-law are rug & suzani dealers, and his shop is on the top floor of this store – best place in terms of selection to get tulu rugs (sheepskin rugs, which are very ‘in’ now) and antique suzanis, at literally the best prices in any emerging country.
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