The hotel is near the Piazza Meda, within easy walking distance of the shopping heaven of via della Spiga and the Quadrilatero d’Oro and many of the city’s main historic sites.
Every one of the 154 rooms is different, with nine of the suites themed (cinema, sport etc). Whether or not you like your particular room will probably depend on whether you like the design style you end up with, but to stay here you must be into style over substance. Luckily, if you ever wanted to sleep, the wilder colour excesses of the public spaces have been cooled in the bedrooms to a palette of very 21st century neutrals with 1970s retro accent pieces – a flamboyant light or armchair, mirror or bench. Funky and chic, all at once.
The beds are incredibly comfortable, and there are some great extras such as the numbered chemistry sets of bathroom goodies. I wasn’t so sure about having fitness machines in the rooms – I would prefer to banish them to a gym and not have to be reminded that I am not using them... but that’s me! The one drawback is that practicalities such as hanging space and bathroom shelves sometimes take second place to ‘cool’.
The public areas are wild, and worth a visit even if you don’t stay here. The reception area, lounge and dining room are all one ever-changing organic space. Two giant sculptural pillars, inspired by Harlequin and lit up by some 4,000 LED lights, set the carnival atmosphere. The furniture was designed by Italian firm Meritalia. The dining room is darker with dramatic light panels in the ceiling.
Eating and drinking
Breakfast and lunch are available in the Arcchelino Lounge, which also has a champagne bar tucked into one corner. Breakfast is a very good buffet with plenty of cold meats and cheeses but does cost extra unless you pre-arrange a package. There are two other restaurants, Oltremare (fish) and Meet & Meat (meat), both offering imaginative modern Mediterrean food.
The hotel has one of the largest spas in Milan, with a Turkish bath, whirlpool and heated pool. The design of the spa is probably at its most amazing in this extraordinary hotel: there's a sort of organic stalacmite display, rather like a giant white octopus and great silver bubbles, covering the pool ceiling. The treatments are all frightfully hi-tech with aromatherapy and chromatherapy, along with super-luxury massages with champagne and rose petals!
Sadly, at present, the service lets this hotel down – it looks gorgeous but the attitude doesn’t match. There are supposedly 20 guest assistants to act as concierges, but staff can be inefficient and at times downright surly, although there are shining exceptions to the rule.
Who stays there
Mainly young people with lots of eastern Europeans, a fair sprinkling of Asians and the inevitable Milan fashion crowd. The spectacular design attracts weddings and honeymooners.
Watch out for extras. Breakfast is not included, nor is WiFi – and both come with a hefty price tag. There are regular special event packages with added extras, including meals, spa treatments, upgrades and champagne.
- First-time travellers
- Stag / hen parties
- People watching
- Design and architecture
Pros & Cons
- Spectacular design
- Service could be improved
- No WiFi in the rooms/expensive internet
- Design triumphs over practicality at times