If furniture designers did hotels they’d look like Lazzoni. Hold on a second! Despite its Italian sound, this hotel’s name originates from “laz”, translated as “people living in wooden houses”. They were independent trade workers from the shores of the Black Sea in the northeast of Turkey. This is where the business of Lazzoni – the high-end furniture manufacturers, started over a 100 years ago.
With stores throughout Turkey, as well as with international outposts in the USA, Cyprus and Malaysia, the furniture brand finally made a leap into the hospitality industry and opened a chic hotel, decorated in a muted sophisticated palette of colours.
Interior & Rooms
You can easily tell that this is a five-star property just by looking at this building’s impressive Neo-Renaissance façade, beautifully restored and lit. The interior leans more towards grandeur in public areas (think marble mosaics, buttoned sofas, heavy curtains and sparkling chandeliers), and takes a step towards relaxed European chic, where comfort takes the reign. My room was light and airy, with a king-size bed, LED TV, raised sitting area with a cream sofa and a side table. But the main attraction is the Golden Horn, with the sun dancing in its waters, casting a warm glow onto Istanbul’s Asian side. Rooms in Lazzoni do not feature bath tubs, so I unpack quickly and run to the spa to enjoy a good scrub and a hammam.
Lazzoni’s location is great if you like being in close proximity to major sites: it takes just ten minutes by taxi to reach all the main tourist destinations, like the historic centre Sultanhamet for cultural highlights and Pera neighbourhood for dining and entertainment at night. However, when choosing Lazzoni you will find yourself in a quieter residential neighbourhood where life moves at a gentler pace. With several congress centres nearby, Lazzoni is a good alternative to a traditional business hotel,too, giving you a convenient, chic and tranquil base, away from tourist crowds.
One of Lazzoni’s best features is commanding panorama of the calm waters of the Golden Horn, Istanbul’s beautiful natural harbour. There is a new river-side running track in front of the hotel – it’d be almost criminal to not forsake a treadmill for views like that. Remember, that being away from the congested centre means you get to breath cleaner air.
The hotel aims to provide a friendly service, where you would feel like a guest, rather than a paying client. Everyone, from maids to concierge and waiters seemed cheerful, helpful, polite but not overbearingly so. It is one of those hotels where staff Is constantly smiling – it’s catchy and uplifting. I pulled a standard reviewer trick of asking for extra sewing kits/plug adaptors/extra teas and coffees, even having my pillows changed and everything was executed within minutes and served with a smile that could put Hollywood to shame.
Food & Drink
Lazzoni provides a reasonably stacked mini-bar, as well as coffee and tea-making facilities. There is something very soothing about having a cup of tea right after a check -in, while stretching your legs on a terrace overlooking the Golden Horn, sun setting, people going for an evening walk, runners sprinting along the river and small boats zipping along the waterway; they are filled with holidaying couples holding hands.
The hotel’s restaurant Nostorni is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Buffet breakfast comes at a surcharge. From 6.30 am the ground floor is filled with aromas of strong coffee and fresh bread. The Turks’ affair with pastries is a passionate one: Nostorni’s bakers do their best to seduce you with sour and sweet breads and pastries, ranging from traditional flat lavaş and ring-shaped simit to fluffy buttery French croissants.
The buffet selection clearly demonstrates the nation’s love for cheeses (nine varieties), olives (I lost count) and fresh greens. Fruit, cereals and yoghurts are served, too, but head to the egg station for the fluffiest omelette, filled with veggies and cheese. You have till 10.30 am to take advantage of the buffet, but, hooray, a 24-hour room service is available and if a breakfast on a terrace /under the duvet is your thing, just dial the number.
To get a better view over three thousand years of history embodied in architecture, go to the upstairs roof bar and enjoy sundowners, served with a bitter-sweet feeling of time passing by.
Reasonably priced ONNI spa provides a selection of massage and aroma therapies and beauty treatments. Next to the massage rooms is a hammam, a sauna and a beautifully lit pool filled with rather chilly water. You can watch all the pool action from behind the sauna’s glass wall. Lockers are stacked with Lazzoni comfy bathrobes and slippers and there is a relaxation room with soothing music and distracting magazines.
Not a feature to be raved about, the small gym was not designed for big fitness lovers. But you’ll get to use both machines and free weights, that should be enough to keep your muscles growing on holidays.
Free Handy: a true life-saver in form of a free smartphone, packed with apps and city guides. You can take Handy with you, use it for navigation, social media updates, making free calls to selected countries or calling over internet to your friends, loves, parents or business partners.
Free wi-fi: unlike many 5-star hotels, Lazzoni does not charge its clients for Wi-Fi and the signal is strong throughout the whole building.
Free bikes: upon request you can reserve a pushbike and explore the surrounding area of Beyoglu on two wheels. Istanbul is rather hilly, so stay on the track that runs along the river, if you are not a confident rider.
Free boat shuttle to Karakoy: do not miss on this sweet offer, as Karakoy, a neighbourhood on the Asian side of Istanbul, is a residential heaven where real Istanbul happens. It’s an area filled with boutique shops and trendy restaurants, pulsing with energy and great friendly vibes.
Lazzoni is an elegant hotel, that meets needs of both leisure and business travellers. It provides excellent service and stands out for its chic design.
WOW: efficient service; great breakfast; complimentary Handy – free to use phone with internet and pre-installed social media apps.
WINGE: lack of transport options, small gym