I sat overlooking the Bosphorus sea in Istanbul recently as I had arranged to meet a marvellous woman called Bahar Karaca. Many of you will know that Istanbul is where Europe and Asia meet. Its people are culturally diverse and in Bahar’s words: ‘it is this dynamism that feeds me.”
Bahar is the General Manager of The House Hotel Bosphorus which was a former 19th-century Ottoman mansion, situated close to the Bosphorus Bridge. I was staying in the hotel and warmed to Bahar, as I observed her talking to her guests and staff. So we sat one afternoon sipping mint tea on the hotel terrace in the sun and warm breeze talking about Istanbul culture, the hotel and more importantly Bahar herself.
Bahar was born and grew up in Istanbul but from an early age she knew that she wanted to go to university in the USA and this is what she did. She attended a college in Boston where she studied Business Entrepreneurial studies and finance. Following graduation, Bahar worked for an internet start up company and her main role was in sales and marketing. Bahar smiles broadly when she remembers her time there and of how, by pure luck, she was introduced to someone in the hotel business who stated that she needed to work in the hospitality sector.
That was 13 years ago and today Bahar not only runs her hotel but she is also the food editor of the Louis Vuitton City Guide for Istanbul. The guide, to be launched at the end of October was a wonderful project for Bahar as it combined her passion for food and Istanbul.
I asked Bahar what advice she would give her younger self. “Balance is important in life. It is important to have a plan but be wise enough to have patience to see where life will take you. Things happen and you need to know when to step back but in the meantime, have faith to be the best that you can be.”
By Maggie Semple