Nirvana in Istanbul
By Gary Walther
The Hotel Detective was walking with Nirvana Asaduryan up toward Istaklal Cadessi in Istanbul, but he doubted that he was headed toward nirvana.
THD had been told that Nirvana (above), the head of the luxury travel company Society of Travel (societyoftravel.com), was the luxury travel impresario to get in Istanbul. She opened closed doors, made lines disappear, orchestrated arrivals (a motor yacht from the airport to your hotel, 45-50 minutes, $950), and overall, brought an unruly city–baffling to the outsider–to heel.
Yet here we were heading toward the 34th Street of Istanbul, a broad boulevard of big-box and mass-brand names. THD’s skepticism mounted when Nirvana led him across Istaklal and into a low-rent-looking commercial building, the sort of place that in New York would be full of small-time accountants and lawyers, maybe a scrap-metal agent. Up two flights, along drear hallways with random pieces of office furniture awaiting what?, and then through a non-descript door.
Gary Walther, the former editor-in-chief of Departures and ForbesLife, now writes “The Hotel Detective” column on Forbes.com