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How a secret food tour in Istanbul had the fairytale trappings of an exciting beginning, a magical middle and a thrilling end

Not only is Istanbul a city of magic and mystery from a historical, cultural and architectural point of view, but for a tourist, especially those who wish to immerse themselves fully in what life is like for the local Turkish people, food plays a pivotal role. And when we say food, we don’t just mean restaurants which feature high on Zomato and Tripadvisor, restaurants where you are more than likely to run into other tourists, may even be someone you met and conversed with at breakfast at your hotel in the morning. No! We are talking about hidden spots, which serve the most authentic, the most delicious and the most diverse array of local foods, any foodie will enjoy.

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Luxurious pampering at its absolute best at the Four Seasons Istanbul on the Bosphorus

The company I founded in the late 90s, Polymerupdate, opened it’s first European office in Istanbul recently and what better time to visit and inaugurate the office, than during the auspicious time of Diwali, the Indian festival of lights. Early November, Laveena and I boarded a Turkish Airlines flight from Mumbai, directly to Istanbul and for the first leg of our stay, we chose to stay at the often applauded Four Seasons Hotel, Istanbul on the Bosphorus. This elegant hotel has been fashioned from a 19th century Ottoman palace and enjoys a magnificent location right on the Bosphorus, on the European side of the city.

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Pranaam GVK Guest Services – our new and preferred way to begin and end our international journeys

Months ago, when Laveena and I traveled to Calgary in Canada, from the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport in Mumbai, we decided to experience the Pranaam GVK Guest Services, popular with Bollywood celebrities, sportsmen, famous singers, wealthy businessmen and travellers wanting a seamless and stress free departure and arrival experience.

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‘The Pierre’, New York – Top Of the List, King Of the Hill

Enjoying a privileged location , right opposite Central Park, the iconic Taj Pierre, was our preferred choice of hotel during our recent visit to New York. Having had the opportunity to serve guests like Frank Sinatra, Audery Hepburn, Andy Warhol and Mick Jagger and once owned by Oil man J. Paul Getty, The Pierre is known for it’s heritage, it’s history and now, for it’s signature brand promise of ‘Tajness’, our main reason for selecting this property over the others, friends had recommended.

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The Taj Campton, San Francisco – a boutique hotel where luxury, comfort and style blend effortlessly

Our choice of hotel in San Francisco was carefully picked, from a long list of preferred properties, shared by dear friends who live in the valley. Laveena was very keen on a luxury hotel with an ideal location, close to all the fabulous designer stores in San Francisco. For me, a perfect balance of elegance and sophistication were of immense importance.

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