Getting there BA, Turkish Airlines and EasyJet all fly to Ataturk International Airport at least once a day. Taxis and shuttle buses connect to the city centre; Istanbul's traffic can be horrendous so it's advisable to allow at least an hour.
Business climate Istanbul is Turkey's commercial centre and, increasingly, its financial heart (the central bank is due to relocate here from Ankara). Business sees itself as a bridge between east and west. The pro-EU mood has been replaced by recognition that Turkish interests are best served by trading equally with Europe, the US and the Middle East.
Don't miss A walk in Eminonu, where the boats dock, and over Galata Bridge gives some indication of the sheer size, diversity and majesty of this remarkable city. If time permits, take a two-hour Bosphorus cruise; at the very least, catch a ferry to Kadikoy on the Asian side.
Etiquette Punctuality and a suit are expected for meetings. Know who you are with before talking domestic politics—members of Turkey's business and diplomatic elite generally have highly ambivalent views about the Islamist AKP government, despite its good economic record.
Culture You could spend days wandering around Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia and the enormous Blue Mosque, not to mention the world-famous spice market and Grand Bazaar.
Where to stay The Ritz-Carlton is close to the city centre, but separate enough to get away from the hubbub. With great views of the Bosphorus, it's home to Istanbul's only full hotel spa (plus indoor and outdoor pool), ultra-comfortable rooms, faultless service and excellent food; the breakfast buffet comes particularly recommended.
Eat like a local Every part of the city is groaning with good restaurants at all price levels. For fine dining, choose the upmarket Topaz, near Taksim Square, which serves imaginative takes on old Turkish specialities alongside a long list of Turkish wines and ticks all the boxes for spectacular views of the city. Hunkar, in the Nisantasi quarter, does good lunches and is popular with the area's strongly middle-class clientele. For a whiff of old Istanbul, inexpensive Pandeli—which includes Audrey Hepburn and Robert de Niro among its past customers—is located in the spice market and makes a great break from sightseeing.