Taskmaster or jokster, confidante or cheerleader, the homo paternus is hard to classify and even harder to shop for. Father’s Day (June 17) can be a fraught holiday for children wanting to show Dad some love for all the band-aids, late-night lectures, and wisdom. While many a grateful child will succumb to the old ship-in-a-bottle fallback, The Guide Istanbul presents some Istanbul-inspired gift ideas to spoil that special man in your life.
For the strategist: The sounds of clattering tavla, or backgammon, dice can be heard in every tea house and café in Istanbul. Initiate Dad into this Turkish tradition – and one of the oldest board games in the world – with an antique set from the Grand Bazaar. For the pickier parent, consider the stunning design by young Turkish designer İlanit Ovadya, sold at Armaggan (during its current exhibition) and IKSV. (You can also buy it directly from İlanit. Her email address is [email protected]).
For the faithful: Grand Bazaar shop Tesbihçi Cemil ve Kadir Karateke deals in tespih, or strings of Islamic prayer beads. Turks count the devotional beads as an expression of piety or merely anxiety, many tespih serving as simple worry beads. Whether baba is a believer, a curious kafir or just nervous, this little shop’s stunning selection of antique, semi-precious stones is sure to please.
For the sartorial: Not that your sharp-dressing, smooth-talking Pops needs any help, but Lokum Istanbul’s line of antiquities-themed cologne is a tasteful accent to even his best outfit. The subtle tones of “Mydnos Breeze” and “Lycia’s Lime Beams” evoke the majesty of the Holy Roman Empire, the dignity of ancient Greek city-states. Whether your charmer is a man of business or leisure, these distinctive fragrances are guaranteed to boost his mojo.
For the domestic: Not all fathers appreciate a good textile. If yours is intrigued by a high thread count, dutiful about fabric softener, or a reverential pilgrim to the linens aisle, a luxury peştemal from Abdulla might tickle his fancy. Peştemals, or traditional light-weight towels, are a staple of both Turkish homes and hamams. Abdulla upgrades this classic item, each towel a marvel of craftsmanship and utility.
For the beach bum: It promises to be a scorching summer, so outfit Dad for his sun, sea and surf adventures in a pair of Vilebrequin trunks. Inspired by the atmosphere of glamorous San Tropez, this collection of French tailored swimwear will have him stepping out in style. The Etiler location offers a wide variety of swatches and cuts to meet his preference.
For the collector: Delight his inner historian with a one-of-a-kind gift from Sultanahmet’s eclectic Sofa Art & Antique shop. Istanbul’s treasure-hunting elite scour this fascinating store, where ancient calligraphy, kilims, and engravings share shelves with oddities of the recent past. Each Sofa rarity comes with a story, which the proprietor is more than eager to recount. Grace your history buff’s wall with an Ottoman miniature or Byzantine icon from this remarkable boutique.
For the foodie: Dads and dessert are a natural pairing. Istanbul’s preeminent pastry shop Güllüoğlu serves up a sticky Father’s Day treat, its signature baklava a finger-licking finale to the day’s celebrations. Visit any one of Güllüoğlu’s many locations (Karaköy, Eminönü, Beyoğlu, Beşiktaş) to pick up a box of Turkey’s most delicious national export.
For the overworked: After years of feeding, clothing, and educating you, doesn’t baba deserve a break? Hillside SandaSpa’s “Massage for Men” special is your chance to repay him for all those sleepless nights. A 70-minute session includes a body, foot, and head massage, as well as hot compresses to clear the mind and rejuvenate the body. With the special holiday rate of 125 TL, take your father on a vacation without leaving Istanbul!