Istanbul is a great destination, especially if you are Gay.
I’m afraid I’ve played a little bit of an April Fools on you – I should have spelled it Gaye Istanbul, that’s Gaye as in Gaye Reeves the owner and personality behind the Ayasofya Hotel (which incidentally, is gay friendly, in case you were wondering) in Istanbul’s Sultanahmet District and Istanbul Stopover Tours.
While I’ve been told that there is an active and fun gay community here, this post is really about my friend, Gaye Reeves and how she can make your stay in Istanbul much better than if you don’t get in contact with her. Gaye is an Australian expat who came here for the first time seventeen years ago and fell in love with Turkish culture and this magnificent country. So much so that in 2009, she decided to buy a run down Ottoman house converted into a hotel and turn it into one of the top boutique hotels in Istanbul.
Easier said than done but three years later, The Ayasofya Hotel is charming guests and earning a great reputation amongst travelers. This is a far cry from when she picked it up. While the building has been upgraded and the facilities are certainly better than when she got it, I tend to think that the success of her hotel is due to her own personality.
Gaye is a passionate traveler who has globe trotted with the best of them and stayed in more than her fair share of bungalows, hotels, guest houses and hostels. In addition to using her own travel finesse to turn her hotel into a comfortable haven for those seeking to explore Istanbul, she has the warmth and hospitality that the Aussies are renowned for.
All of that is the reason, I always recommend the Ayasofya Hotel to friends, family and generally any nice people who come to Istanbul (including you). At this point, I’ve stayed at the Ayasofya enough that it feels like a second home to me and I get a welcome from the staff that is more like that of a returning family member. In fact, we asked Gaye to be our daughter’s Godmother – and well, it might not be a complete coincidence that our daughter is named Aya Sophia. She is made in Turkey, after all.
In any event, when you come to Turkey and you are wondering what to do and it seems like every tout is out to get you and you don’t know who to trust – my suggestion is that you trust Gaye. She’s created a small travel agency that does private tours through all of her favorite areas of Turkey. Whether you want to do a classical tour or take a trip to small village and explore village life there. Gaye can get you set up.
And while I realize that I’m posting this on April Fools day – the truth is that today is the 3 year anniversary of Gaye taking over the Ayasofya Hotel. She’ll be the first to tell you that she bought the hotel on April Fools day because it was the most foolish mistake she has ever made but don’t believe a word of it – have a conversation with her and you’ll see – she love’s every second of it and wouldn’t be anywhere else.