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Chapter 3 The Story of Success Istanbul

DOI: 10.23912/9781911396949-4323

ISBN: 9781911396949

Published: Dec 2019

Component type: chapter

Published in: The Story of Hilton Hotels

Parent DOI: 10.23912/978-1-911396-7-96-3889



Between the East and the West - The Istanbul Hilton bore many colloquial names, the press called it ‘Conrad’s Palace’, Hilton’s employees called it ‘Little America’ and the people of Istanbul called it ‘The Ship’. Irrespective of the name, there is no doubt that the hotel changed the social scene of 1950s’ Istanbul and opened its oriental door to the West. Most visitors to Istanbul these days arrive at one of the city’s international airports, but it is still quite easy to imagine that one gets off the Orient Express and is suddenly transported to the oriental world of bright colours, a myriad of smells, the buzz of the Grand Bazar and the sound of muezzins calling for the evening prayer. When you arrive at the Sirkeci Station, you find yourself just a step away from the Eminönü harbour where local men wait for their daily catch on the Galata bridge. You can stop for a minute to taste grilled fish sandwiches served directly from the fishing boat. Head north, up narrow cobbled streets, leaving the monumental Galata tower on your left, and reach Taksim Square where local socialites meet for coffee and a slice of pistachio baklava. You can also accept a shopkeeper’s invitation for a quick glass of çay – he won’t charge you a penny, it is merely a local way of saying “hello, you are welcome”. One can easily imagine going back in time, men wearing their finest suits and ladies showing off expensive pearls and fashionably tailored hats. You can hear İlham Gencer playing piano in one of many fancy coffee houses. Men are busy competing in a round of Okey while ladies catch up with daily gossip. The time moves slowly here, the air is hot and sticky, people hide from the sun in the shade of Judas trees. Leaving the Republic Monument behind you, head into Cumhuriyet Street. Passing lush Gezi Park and the offices of many international airlines and shipping companies shaded by the alley of trees, and look to your right. There it is, the majestic Hilton Hotel, symbol of modernity, comfort and globalization. This is Conrad’s Palace in Istanbul.

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Czyżewska, 2019

Czyżewska, B. (2019) "Chapter 3 The Story of Success Istanbul" In: Czyżewska, B. (ed) . Oxford: Goodfellow Publishers http://dx.doi.org/10.23912/9781911396949-4323


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Published in The Story of Hilton Hotels

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