Luxepitality Meets: Gurham Sayar

GM of Lazzoni Hotel, Istanbul

When a furniture and interior design company with over 100 years of history opens a hotel, you can expect only one thing, elegance. Lazzoni is a synonym of luxurious contemporary interiors. The company has been in business since 1904 and opened its first hotel in 2014, when its owners concluded that the time has come to combine the philosophy of Turkish hospitality with Lazzoni style. Gurhan Sayar studied AH & MA for 4 years and did 18 months of on the job training before starting his career.

What motivated you to go into the hotel business?

I’ve always loved meeting new people and assisting them. Their smiles are my happiness. My previous projects included Swissotel Istanbul and Swissotel Chicago – I understood that working in luxury hospitality is really my thing as I love finding solutions to other people’s problems.

What’s the design concept of the hotel?

The idea was to create a relaxed atmosphere. We wanted guests to feel like they are staying in a luxury apartment, rather than in a hotel room in Istanbul. Our common areas also look like a wealthy residence -it was done deliberately. It is all about exuding that warm atmosphere that makes you completely zen.

Lazzoni hotel is a bit far from transport hubs and major sightseeing spots, is that an obstacle for you?

I won’t say it is far. True it is not walking distance, but you can reach all areas within 10 minutes, if you use a cab. I see that as an advantage. To my mind, it is rather more pleasant staying in a quiet area and get to all the sightseeing in no time. There is no noise here. Besides, the main districts cannot offer you a river view over the Golden Horn, that you can enjoy from a terrace in Lazzoni!

How do you inspire loyalty in customers?

Most guests receive an upgrade from their 3rd stay. We also gift small nice presents like luggage tags, phone chargers or travel kits.

How do you deal with negative feedback?

Our guest are our most important auditors, so even a negative comment is a gift. Our team reports every single comment and I personally oversee the changes they make to deal with a problem.

What are the features of a good leisure hotel nowadays?

I would say the key is staff that is very passionate about guests’ satisfaction. In this day and age it is important to have other amenities, like a nice spa, a bar with good atmosphere and drinks, to employ a concierge who has a great local knowledge.

What is the key to have happy staff and low turnover?

Being a friend, a boss and a manager all at once. You should let people demonstrate their abilities and reward them with the right salary.

What does good customer service mean to you?

To give good service is to exceed expectation and to anticipate the needs. I believe that if a person feels more like a guest and less as a customer, than he/she was given a good service.

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