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Raffles The Bosphorus - What to do on New Year’s Eve?

What to do on New Year’s Eve?

Where to go on Christmas?

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, again! Christmas events begin with carols, roasting chestnuts and marshmallows, decorating the tree to glitter, searching for just the right Christmas gifts… All the way up to New Year’s Eve this is a time spent with family and friends, happy get-together at Christmas dinner, and feasting festive delicacies either at home or at different Christmas destinations. Now that it’s holidays for everyone and there is ample free time; reflecting on the past, spending time alone is also a great pastime activity. As Charles Dickens once said; “Remembrance, like a candle, burns brightest at Christmas time.”

Of course, this time of the year is not only about the past; planning your festive time, holidays, and the upcoming year is also a great part of Christmas fun and there are a variety of options to please yourself and all your loved ones.

At these times of celebration, relaxation, and bonding, there are places to go on Christmas that will feel like home and envelop you and your family with tenderness and positive vibes only to be even more glamorous than home with all the festive sparkle! Imagine immersing yourself and your loved ones in the luxury of being taken care of; your whole Christmas plan is already made; the Christmas menu is ready!

Most people choose to stay at hotels during this period to ensure they spare every minute for their family and friends while their Christmas programs are meticulously made for them. One of these outstanding Christmas destinations is the vibrant and multi-cultured İstanbul with ancient traditions and up-to-date celebration practices of many cultures in place. One of the leading Christmas hotels in town is Raffles Istanbul Zorlu Center located in the heart of the city’s most popular and luxurious shopping district with a vibrant dining scene. Buzzing with action and excitement for the upcoming year, there is that sense of joy in every corner of the hotel; chefs working on the final touches of the Christmas food for the lavish six-course dinner at the ballroom crowned with the ultimate Christmas dessert; that “to die for” white chocolate cake served with red berries and vanilla ice cream while the world renown violinist Canan Anderson and the live orchestra rehearses for their New Year’s Eve performance. You may also opt for a buffet dinner at Rocca Restaurant and dance to the tunes of Six Pack group to welcome a brand-new year!

Butlers prepare each and every Christmas gift for their special guests, servers pour tea at Lavinia Lounge, and guests indulge in festive tastes such as yule log cakes, gingerbread cookies, there is that happy chatter and humming accompanied with the piano playing uplifting Christmas songs and there is that signature Christmas smell of cinnamon and clove in the air; everything is ready and in full swing to say farewell to 2022 and welcome the new year with fresh hopes, everything is just in place and in time for the most wonderful time of the year.

What are the Benefits of SPA

Did you know that apart from being exhilarating, exciting, and fun, travelling is good for your overall wellbeing? A meaningful distraction from our everyday lives, taking a break from the hustle and bustle of the routines is essential for everyone to recharge, rejuvenate and promote lower cortisol levels, making you feel calm and content.

Once you visit Istanbul, one of all times favourite destinations ever, you will enjoy the variety of different vibes, colours, tastes, and sounds that will take your mind off everyday chores and expand your horizons, resulting in ultimate relaxation. Some of the deeply rooted wellness traditions of Turkey, like the world-famous Turkish hammam, are essential to experience to complete the picture and fully comprehend the culture.

The word “hammam”, originates from the Arabic hammam meaning “heating up”. These baths have been serving as health, sanitation and socializing centers for centuries and are still an important part of the daily life in Istanbul. Back in history, Hamams were places to go to have a warm bath and relax as there was no running water in houses as well as socialising venues where people sat together for chats, ate, had tea and mothers were able to meet with young girls to introduce to their sons for possible marriages. The concept of “bridal hammam” stems from this social incident.

To opt for a more refined and contemporarily twisted version, you can visit the Raffles Spa in the heart of the city, located at Zorlu Center. Stemming from the belief that balance between exertion and relaxation is the key to achieving a feeling of inner tranquillity and rejuvenation, Raffles Spa center offers journeys that are a mix of traditional and local methods to ensure a sensory escape for ultimate relaxation.  (In case anyone is asking “what is the SPA, what does is stand for” let us explain that it is the abbreviation of Latin saying “Sanitas per Aqua” meaning, getting health through water.)

Istanbul Touristic Places

İstanbul, home to three empires emerging on the shores of the Bosphorus, the waterway that runs through the city connecting Europe to Asia, is a dynamic, vibrant cosmopolitan city with layers of history, culture, and character to be unfolded by globe trotters. Here are some of the top-rated touristic attractions in town:

Start your Istanbul tour at the Old City district also called Sultanahmet. This is where you can book your Istanbul hotel, visit the Byzantine and Ottoman monuments and shop at the Grand Bazaar; one of the world’s largest bazaars dating back to the 1400s have 22 gates taking you into the fascinating world of shopping with its 4.500 stores where one can find anything from pottery to jewelry, spices to carpets.

Hagia Sophia is another must-see. A highlight spot in the bestseller Dan Brown book Inferno, Hagia Sophia is the epitome of Byzantine architecture dating back to the sixth century. The striking dome, famous mosaics, sacred imagery from Christianity as well as Islamic elements, and the light funneling in from its 40 windows seem to turn Hagia Sophia – meaning Divine Wisdom – into an otherworldly space making the visiting experience almost a transcendental one. It wouldn’t be wrong to call Istanbul a city of underground cisterns as there are a few hundred of them of which Basilica Cistern is the largest. Storing and providing water to many palaces including Topkapı Palace, the Cistern became famous thanks to the Inferno movie as it was one of the filming locations. Basilica Cistern is used for special events today and can be visited during the day.

Topkapi Palace is neigbouring Hagia Sophia on the historic peninsula. Home to Ottoman Sultans for over 400 years, this seraglio is one of the iconic structures that define the İstanbul skyline. Take a ferry between Asia and Europe (Kadıköy-Karaköy line) to see the palace from the sea for best views. Built over 700 thousand square meters, the palace consists of four transitional courtyards and surrounding structures. At the footsteps of the palace is Gülhane Park. Wandering around the park, one can’t help but reflect back on days where Ottoman sultans strolled around to cherish the same greenery, trees and flowers.


Offering a wide variety of culinary experiences, you can enjoy an array of impeccable flavors in Istanbul thanks to its culinary richness stemming from the mix of Mediterranean cuisine and Anatolian cuisine bringing in different ingredients and cooking techniques melting in a pot to form the complex Turkish food culture. Whether your choice of gastronomic indulgence is five o’clock tea after a long day of shopping or a memorable dinner in the evening, Istanbul has a culinary offering for every need and style.

One Turkish poet had rightfully said, “Happiness must have something to do with breakfast”. Objections, anyone? Be it the well-known continental breakfast or the must-try Turkish breakfast that comes with all kinds of cheeses and olives, omelets, and the local specialty of jam and clotted cream, who can argue that starting the day savoring such flavors is nothing but fascinating?

If it’s the weekend, even better as Sunday brunch is an everlasting trend in Istanbul. Relaxing with your loved ones, family, and friends around a brunch table; enjoying delicious food, indulging in joyful chatter and laughter is a priceless experience. One venue for Sunday brunch in Istanbul is Rocca Restaurant of the Raffles Istanbul. Along with all Turkish breakfast items, Sunday brunch at Rocca also offers a wide selection of delicacies from its live cooking stations; premium steaks, samples of Pan-Asian cuisine, and Chinese food thanks to the Isokyo restaurant pop-up with its signature lobster rolls standing out. All in a lively, colorful environment accompanied with great music as Rocca is one of the main live music venues during Sunday brunch.

When you have sore feet after spending the day shopping around in the bazaars of the city or Zorlu Center and need a place to rest and be pampered in the afternoon,  tea and finger sandwiches come to your rescue. Turkey’s tea culture is different than other Eastern or Western tea-consuming countries. Here, strong black tea is consumed all day long starting with breakfast and continuing almost until bedtime. Drinking tea together is seen as a gesture of friendship and this is why you will probably be offered tea in shops. Still, the main afternoon tea-time sticks to the five o’clock tea tradition and takes place between three and five in the afternoon. From just a small glass of tea with a traditional “simit” – baked circular dough encrusted with sesame seeds – you can buy on the street to fancy tipsy high tea, tea is everywhere, for every taste. One venue to enjoy five o’clock tea is the beautiful Lavinia Lounge of Raffles Istanbul at Zorlu Center. The quintessential place to meet in the city, Lavinia offers an amazing tea-time with the full range of finger sandwiches, scones, pastries with the recent addition of a special tipsy high tea selection. During the Prohibition Era in United States between 1920 and 1933 as drinking was outlawed, liquor was served in teacups marking the origin of tipsy teas today. A tribute to the speakeasies of the prohibition days, the tipsy high tea of Lavinia offers exquisite tastes like the hibiscus and clove-infused champagne you can’t get enough of.


Treat someone special to an authentic experience at Raffles Istanbul

Treat your loved ones to a taste of Raffles Istanbul, with our wide variety of gift vouchers, featuring exclusive experiences: from a dinner for two at Isokyo, to a signature SPA treatment at the Raffles SPA, exclusive stay packages and many more… to truly experience and indulge into the emotional luxury that Raffles Istanbul has to offer.

Discover our gift vouchers, available for purchase HERE.

A Unique Meeting Experience at Raffles Istanbul

Either it is for 5 or 300 attendees, our hybrid events offering is designed to help you combine in-person and virtual event experiences the Raffles way. Supported by a powerful technology infrastructure to grant you the perfect event.

Supported by a powerfyl technology infrastructure, our services also include the following:

  • Meeting and events spaces following the highest level of hygiene and safety regulations.
  • 100% clean air circulation in all meeting rooms and throughout the whole hotel with the UVC technology in place.
  • A fast paced internet service.
  • A wide range of seating arrangements according to your needs.
  • Raffles catering services, provided within the confines of social distancing regulations.

For more informations, get in touch with us at: 0090 212 924 0200 or