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Posted on May 26, 2014

Istanbul Grand BazaarIstanbul may be a world away in both geography and culture, but New Yorkers who visit will feel right at home.

The Turkish metropolis, which straddles the Bosphorus Strait dividing Europe and Asia, has seen a population explosion, now with more than 14 million people living in the city, coming from all corners of the country and world.

This influx of people not only makes Istanbul a bustling destination (with a vibrant art and film scene, as well as sidewalks packed with pedestrians, just like Gotham), but has led to rapid development and great new attractions in previously overlooked areas.

A number of new hotels have opened recently, with others slated for completion in coming months. Among the most notable is the Hilton Istanbul Bomonti Hotel & Conference Center. When it opened in January, the 34-story tower atop a hill in the once-sleepy Sisli district became the city’s largest hotel and conference center, with 829 rooms and suites with floor-to-ceiling windows and cutting-edge in-room technology.

Among the cool conveniences: The surround-sound system connects directly to your MP3 player, and you can activate the “Do Not Disturb” alert with the push of a bedside button.

But while the hotel exudes modernity, what sets it apart is how it simultaneously embraces Istanbul’s past. The Hilton’s Eforea spa, in addition to a full menu of treatments drawing on health research, provides a traditionalhamam , in which the guest lies on a marble slab while being soaped and rinsed by an attendant. The Globe restaurant downstairs provides high-end dining in the evenings and traditional Turkish fare throughout the day.

Read the rest at New York Daily News.

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