Istanbul is a city of many surprises! I came with a few simple expectations: antique markets, colorful spices, Turkish delight… all properly set. I wasn’t expecting such a unique skyline – a mix of crumbling buildings, modern developments, and mosque minarets piercing the sky as far as the eye can see. The glorious sunsets we watched every evening were a beautiful surprise, as well as the entrancing ‘call to prayer’ that can be heard in almost every part of the city, every day….
I observed so many things that seem specific to this bustling Metropolis. Istanbul is a city of contrasts, where Eastern ways meets the Western World, creating a hybrid of colors and cultures that are one-of-a-kind. There are so many unique traditions, but one in particular left us astonished – I’m talking blow your hair back bewilderment – the hospitality that was shown to us in Turkey was like nowhere else we’ve experienced!
My realization of the kind nature of the Turkish people started upon arrival, when the taxi dropped us off near our hotel (which was on a street that could not be accessed by car). Our driver didn’t speak English, but he did his best to provide direction when he left us on our way. Unfortunately, our phone wasn’t working, and with no map to follow we found ourselves a bit lost. I must have had a confused look on my face as an elderly man approached doing his best to speak English, asking if he could help. I told him the name of our hotel, but unfortunately he didn’t know the location. This is the moment you expect to continue wandering the streets, hoping to find help, but that’s not what happened. Instead, the man walked with us, asking people along the way for help. Before I knew it we had a group of locals, all working hard to help us find our hotel. Bryan and I were instantly skeptical of such generous assistance… “what will they want in return? No one goes above and beyond to help a stranger for nothing?”. One after another, strangers came to our rescue until we were led to the right doorstep, with no expectation of return favor.
Still confused by the overwhelming street-hospitality, we entered the lobby of the Peradays Hotel, our ‘home’ for the next few weeks. We were warmly greeted by Murat, one of three hotel owners (two Murats and one Bora), who led us to the lobby, poured some Turkish tea, and started talking to us about our travels. We instantly felt comfortable, like we were catching up with family, and our new ‘relative’ quickly became Uncle Murat 🙂
Many evenings I would find Bryan catching up with Murat, over tea, about the latest political developments. Bora was always the first to ensure we knew all the best spots to dine or enjoy time exploring the city. Peradays became far more than a place to rest in-between exploring Istanbul and weekend adventures to central Turkey, it became familial. We were always greeted with a warm hug and cup of spicy tea upon return. This is a level of hospitality that went above and beyond anything I’ve ever experienced…
Every morning we were served an enormous breakfast that always started with veggies (I’ve since learned that this is the Turkish way). On our first morning, we were overwhelmed by the amount of cucumbers, tomatoes (locally grown), olives, meats and several kinds of cheese… the list goes on.
It didn’t stop there – this was simply the first course. We were then given two different styles of omelet, a sweet crepe and honey-glazed yogurt. This breakfast fit for royalty, with plenty of Turkish coffee and tea, was served every morning, regardless of what time we awoke.
Peradays is housed in a 19th century townhome with nine rooms across five stories, each suite with a unique design and all the comforts of home. We found that the hotel’s layout, and comfortable common areas, created a great sense of community among guests. We made a number of friends during our time at Peradays, meeting like-minded people over breakfast or sometimes over wine on the rooftop terrace. A few times, we were given a complimentary bottle of Turkish wine to enjoy on the terrace with new-found friends and (of course) Daisy, the sweet Peradays kitten.
During my time in Istanbul, I learned that Turkish culture considers hosting guests an honor, not a privilege; however, making guests feel like family is an art that Peradays has perfected! When we left, I felt like I was leaving home… again! We were even given a gift upon departure – two creative pieces of art that will always remind of us of our comforting time in Istanbul.
Since leaving, we’ve kept in touch with Murat, Murat and Bora. Can you say this about any hotel you’ve ever stayed? We can’t, and I doubt we ever will. I have my (new) Turkish family to thank for this unique experience, and for welcoming these two nomads ‘home’ in Istanbul.
One place I’ve always wanted to visit!
I hope you make it someday!
I lived in Turkey as a child and it is full of such beautiful people and culture. I’m jealous, would love to visit again. Always enjoy reading of your experiences. Keep up the great work.
Thank you Herb! That really means a lot. I agree with you about Turkey. Such a beautiful place all around, and what a unique spot to spend your childhood!
I lived in Adana on the Southern side near the Med. sea but Istanbul was a magical city to visit. I hope you got to explore some ancient Ottoman castles on your side trips. Not sure how prevalent they are in the north. Anyway, I love your blog and envy your travels. Stay safe but enjoy life.
RT @bestworldyet: Turkish Hospitality Perfected By Peradays: https://t.co/ZOtaPM5kFN #Istanbul #Turkey #Peradays #Hotel
that’s why I’m in love with Middle East – they are aboslutley amaing..I travelled throughout Turkey 3 times, my fav country <3
Best World Yet where are you planning to go next? more around Turkey? Visit North Iraq is amazing!
Pamela we are headed up to Austria after Zagreb 😉 Will have to make our way to North Iraq next time around. I can’t wait to hear more about your hitchhiking journey over some wine!
I’ve just had a similar Turkish experience. My memories of Turkey were somewhat jaundiced by visiting as a young teenager with a party of school chums. This time, as an adult, I was sailing on a Gulet – and was amazed at just how hospitable the turkish people were.
It’s amazing! Glad you had such a lovely experience as well, Fiona! Sailing on a Gulet sounds incredible!
What a lovely experience. We have kept in touch with several acquaintances such as you describe. It’s a great way to make the world a better place, person to person.
It really is so lovely!
Great blog. Havent been to Turkey yet but its an interesting read 😀
I was in Turkey earlier this year, and like you, just blown away by the hospitality. I was also lost and couldn’t find my hotel, and someone took two hours to help me find a place to stay. I’ll never forget that. And, I love the picture that you took of the Turkish breakfast. It reminds me of how delicious those Turkish breakfast are…!
So funny that we had a similar experience! Just shows how consistently generous the Turkish people are. Those breakfasts are amazing, as well!!
I’ve heard great things about Turkish hospitality. I need to spend more time in the country.
Looks like a fabulous base to explore Istanbul from. I love any hotel that has a hotel kitty 🙂
The kitty made it feel even more like home!
Istanbul is a place I long to return to, after a too short visit a few years ago. You got out into the neighborhoods and it sounds like your “home” base of this wonderful hotel added a great deal to the experience. Your photo of the city’s waterfront is simply gorgeous.
Thank you, Sarah! I hope you get to enjoy the city for a longer visit soon!
Hi, nice that you liked Istanbul. I visited it two years ago at this time of the year. I stayed at small hotel near city center. Next time, I want to try something else, so I appreciate your advice! V.
You won’t be disappointed, Veronika!
Absolutely wonderful. Great hospitality is what makes a good city and hotel better. It appears that Murat, Murat and Bora know how to treat their guests.
Indeed they do!
We were showered with hospitality in Turkey too. Everyone was so nice and accommodating.
I love thinking of it that way. I’m hosting Thanksgiving this year and this is great inspiration.
Peradays sounds like a fantastic choice of accommdoation, I’ll be bookmarking the name for our upcoming trip. I’m so touched that everyone was so genrous to you in the street! Shows that there really is kindness in strangers, and people love showing tourists a good time in their city!
Glad you’re bookmarking Peradays – it was truly a unique experience! I was touched by the kindness we were shown on the street as well. We really felt welcome in Istanbul, and I’m looking forward to a return visit!
I love visiting places with hospitable people. Its good to know that Turkey is one of them
Good to know for when we finally make our trip.
I was going to visit Istanbul this year but it didn’t work, I hope in 2016 I will have an opportunity to go there. Hotel looks really nice 🙂
I hope so too, Oliwia! It’s such a fascinating city!
Jolanta Małgorzata Davis liked this on Facebook.
Megan MacNee liked this on Facebook.
Laura Lynch liked this on Facebook.
Dana Grew Zeliff liked this on Facebook.
Danik Bates liked this on Facebook.
Pat Cobb liked this on Facebook.
Trav Hearts liked this on Facebook.
Skinny chick travelling liked this on Facebook.
Seif Ramadan liked this on Facebook.
Page Cash liked this on Facebook.
PERADAYS liked this on Facebook.
Robert Halsey liked this on Facebook.
Helen Warner liked this on Facebook.
The Travels of BBQboy and Spanky liked this on Facebook.
Jana Horton Unterreiner liked this on Facebook.
Neesha Sodha liked this on Facebook.
Connie Dorado liked this on Facebook.
Penny Butler liked this on Facebook.
Celina Fajardo López liked this on Facebook.
Herb Miller liked this on Facebook.
John Dunlap liked this on Facebook.
InnLink LLC liked this on Facebook.
Cathy Leonhardt Haggard liked this on Facebook.
Joan Herbig liked this on Facebook.