Monday, November 26, 2007

Villa Zurich

Villa Zurich is a beautiful hotel in Beyoglu, Istanbul. Down from Taksim Square, past the German Hospital, turn left at the little mosque (leaving, regretfully, the cafe with the wonderful chocolate smell on your right), past a fruitshop, a little cafe with the most amazing mix of tiles at its entrance, a high class deli, and before you know it, there it is in front of you.

Looks like it has recently been renovated, everything spotless. The restaurant on top of the hotel, which serves as a fish restaurant at night, and the breakfast room in the morning, is enclosed by glass and has a stunning view across the water to the old town (which is quite well enjoyed from the distance).

My room, 604, just below the restaurant, also had a wonderful view across roof-tops, little roof verandas, into flats (though I was too high to really observe....) The beds were wonderful, clean white cotton, and everything was spotless.

Shame, then, about the smell from the bathroom. I've met this before in places, but usually running some water through the drains has fixed it. It's not offensive, just unpleasant (and I suppose I could have asked for another room). As a result, the window is often wide open after the cleaner has been, on these November days in Istanbul. Bit of a shame, then, that the heating (the airconditioning), which appears to be older, sounds like a plane ready for take-off after a few minutes of gathering its strength. But luckily there is a spare duvet in the cupboard.

After a night in the room underneath the restaurant you get used to the noise of people walking above you (strangely, the evening I was in the restaurant, I listened out for their footsteps but could not hear them), and the moving of the tables at 3 in the morning, to prepare for breakfast, you only hear in your first night.

The restaurant has the slightly unfortunate habit of not appearing to have a menu, and of whisking you past the price list by the entrance when you enter, as well as assuming you want to drink quite a lot of wine, and water, so the bill can be a bit higher than you might anticipate.

But it's a great location, and I am sure if you have another room, you'll be fine.

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