Intrigue hangs heavy in the air as Editor-in-Chief Laura embarks on a captivating solo journey to Istanbul. With a thirst for exploration and a heart yearning for self-discovery, she chooses the luxurious Shangri-La Bosphorus as her haven.

Join Laura as she unveils the city’s enchanting tapestry, from awe-inspiring historical landmarks to the vibrant energy of bustling bazaars. Prepare to be swept away by the magic of Istanbul, all experienced through the lens of a solo female traveller..

Istanbul. The very word evokes bustling bazaars, ancient mosques and a captivating fusion of Eastern and Western influences. Yet, despite its allure, this mysterious city remained unconquered on my solo travel map.

A self-proclaimed explorer, I thrive on uncovering hidden gems and diving headfirst into new cultures. But with limited time, choosing the perfect Istanbul sanctuary was crucial. Thankfully, I had a trusted travel companion – my loyalty to the prestigious Shangri-La brand. Their reputation for unparalleled service and luxurious comfort was undeniable, making a stay at their Bosphorus property the ideal springboard for my Istanbul adventure.

Upgraded to Grandeur: A Serendipitous Istanbul Welcome

Little did I know, the Shangri-La Bosphorus wouldn’t just be a luxurious haven, it would become the launchpad for an unforgettable Istanbul experience, perfectly tailored for a solo traveler like myself.  This trip held a deeper meaning – a year of sobriety, a journey of self-discovery that demanded a truly special reward.

Imagine my delight upon arrival at the breathtaking Shangri-La Bosphorus to discover a delightful surprise – an unexpected upgrade to a stunning suite. Stepping out onto the private balcony, I was instantly captivated by a breathtaking panorama of the Bosphorus Strait. The city sprawled outwards, a tapestry of history and modern life unfolding before me.

A City Alive with Celebration

But the magic didn’t stop there. As fate would have it, my arrival coincided with a momentous occasion – the centenary celebration of the Turkish Republic! The city buzzed with excitement, the Bosphorus coming alive with a dazzling display of fireworks and a magnificent naval procession. 

From the vantage point of my private balcony, it felt almost like a personal spectacle, a vibrant display marking not just a national milestone, but also my year of self-renewal.

Exploring Istanbul’s Enchanting Tapestry

The following days were a whirlwind of exploration, a solo traveler’s dream come true.  Istanbul unfolded before me like a captivating story, each day revealing a new chapter.

Mornings Steeped in History:

Hagia Sophia: No Istanbul exploration is complete without witnessing the architectural marvel of Hagia Sophia. Its majestic dome, once a Byzantine cathedral, later an Ottoman mosque and now a museum, is a testament to the city’s rich history. Be sure to arrive early to avoid crowds and soak in the awe-inspiring mosaics and intricate details.

Topkapi Palace: Delve into the opulent world of Ottoman Sultans at the Topkapi Palace. Explore the sprawling courtyards, marvel at the exquisite Iznik tiles and lose yourself in the Imperial Treasury’s dazzling collection of jewels and artefacts.


Afternoons Lost in the Labyrinth:

Grand Bazaar:  Immerse yourself in the vibrant energy of the Grand Bazaar, one of the world’s oldest and largest covered markets.  Get lost in the labyrinthine alleys overflowing with spices, carpets, handcrafted jewellery and treasures from every corner of the globe.  Remember, bargaining is an essential part of the experience!

Spice Bazaar:  Aromatic heaven awaits at the Spice Bazaar (Misir Carsisi).  Inhale the intoxicating scents of cinnamon, cloves, saffron and countless other spices.  Here, you can find unique souvenirs, traditional Turkish delight and essential ingredients to recreate the flavours of Istanbul back home.

Evenings Soaked in Serenity:

Blue Mosque: Witness the architectural masterpiece that is the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, more commonly known as the Blue Mosque.  Marvel at its six minarets and the cascading blue Iznik tiles that adorn its exterior.  Remember to dress modestly (women should cover their heads and shoulders) before entering this sacred place of worship.

Bosphorus Cruise:  Cap off your day with a breathtaking Bosphorus cruise.  Glide along the Bosphorus Strait, separating Europe and Asia and admire the city’s iconic skyline from a unique perspective.  Spot historical landmarks like Dolmabahçe Palace and admire the opulent Ottoman-era mansions lining the shores.

This is just a taste of the countless adventures Istanbul offers.  Remember, getting lost in the city’s charming backstreets can lead to unexpected discoveries.

More Than Just a Vacation: A Celebration of Self

This solo trip to Istanbul was more than just a vacation; it was a celebration of self-discovery and resilience. And the Shangri-La Bosphorus, with its luxurious amenities, unexpected surprises and stunning location, became the perfect backdrop for this unforgettable experience.

Experience Istanbul’s Allure – Shangri-La Awaits

The fireworks might not be a daily occurrence, but trust me, the breathtaking views and unparalleled service at Shangri-La Bosphorus are reason enough to book your own Istanbul escape. After all, who needs a once-in-a-century celebration when you can experience Shangri-La’s serenity any day of the week?

Rates start from 500 Euro+ VAT per night.


Northern girl Laura is the epitome of a true entrepreneur. Laura’s spirit for adventure and passion for people blaze through House of Coco. She founded House of Coco in 2014 and has grown it in to an internationally recognised brand whilst having a lot of fun along the way. Travel is in her DNA and she is a true visionary and a global citizen.

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