What $500 Buys in Istanbul

Bruce Hutchinson

Istanbul was named Europe’s Capital of Culture in 2010, and with good reason: Its creative community is absolutely bustling, with galleries and festivals cropping up all over and the 12th Istanbul Biennial opening in September. New hotels and restaurants catering to young jet-setting Turks from the art world and beyond have followed.

Compiled by Candice Chan and John Wogan

A black military-style tartan jacket from Hatice Gokce’s new boutique in the Tesvikiye neighborhood. The avant-garde designer of women’s-and menswear has been well-known in Turkey for 11 years, but she just opened her first freestanding store in February. haticegokce.com.

Four tickets with guided tours to the 12th Istanbul Biennial, a contemporary art exhibition running from September 17 through November 13. This year’s theme is the relationship between art and politics, with an homage to the the late Cuban American artist Félix González-Torres, known for his provocative installations and sculptures. iksv.org.

One night in a Superior Room at Istanbul Edition, the latest iteration of the buzzy new lifestyle hotel brand by Ian Schrager and Marriott. Opened in April on the European side of the Bosphorus, the 78 rooms are some of the most spacious in the city, with large terraces and spectacular views. There’s also an ESPA, a popular nightclub and a Cipriani restaurant. editionhotels.com.

Two Elixir of Life treatments (includes exfoliation, a clay body mask and an aromatherapy massage) at Ayasofya Sultan Hamami, a historic 16th-century hammam that just underwent a $10 million facelift. ayasofyahurremsultanhamami.com.

A four-course dinner for three at Porsella, a seafood restaurant that opened in the ritzy Bebek area, just off the Bosphorus, in February. There’s a great outdoor patio and refreshing dishes like locally caught pistachio-crusted wild sea bass and jumbo lump crab cake with chile oil and mango sauce. 90-212/257-0064.

As of July, 1 Turkish lira = 62 cents.