The hotel is a litte way out from the Quadrilatero d’Oro on Corso Sempione, a middle-class residential area. You can do a longish walk through the park or take the tram that runs very close to the hotel – it only takes 10-15 minutes. There is also a great connection from nearby Cordona station direct to Malpensa airport. And there are a number of pleasant local restaurants nearby if you don’t feel like eating in or trekking out into the night. All in all, not a perfect location, but a good one – and also convenient for the business district.
There are four different standards of room (superior and executive rooms, junior suites and suites), simply but elegantly styled in cool greens and golds with parquet flooring and a few accent pieces of furniture, such as panels of oriental brocade and an ornately carved trunk at the foot of the bed.
In the old factory buildings at the back there are also a number of one and two-bedroom apartments and lofts. The two-beds and lofts come with a kitchenette for those who are planning longer stays and want to have limited self-catering. Ask for a room on a higher floor as it can get noisy if people are partying below.
The initially austere industrial design combines extraordinarily lavish materials and strong colours to provide stunning depth and style, from the dark red marble façade to the chequered floor of green Pakistani and beige African marble and the damask red marble staircase leading up to Sophia’s Restaurant. Even the public loos have marble (ladies in dark pink with Spanish Alhambra red marble floors; gents in green with Chinese green ming marble). With huge Buddhist and Japanese vases and sculptures, leather armchairs and ethnic antique furniture, it is dark, exotic and very very chic. The focus of much of the entertainment is the Events Plaza, Garden Bar and courtyard garden, paved in rough-cut Tibetan stone and lit by hanging lanterns.
Eating and drinking
The day here starts well with one of the best breakfast buffets in town – plenty of choice, hot options and extra touches such as organic and gluten-free options. The party continues with a Happy Hour party every Thursday evening (except August) in the Events Plaza and Garden Bar, which is an excuse for all sorts of entertainment from jazz jam sessions to wine tastings, fashion and art shows. They encourage stag and hen parties to join in the fun.
You can get a drink in the Garden Bar at any time, or head to the intimate Privé Bar with its gilded dome, glittery mosaics and onyx counter, or try the more traditional charms of the barrel-vaulted Wine Cellars.
Then there is Sophia’s Restaurant, a sleek modernist temple to Italian haute cuisine. Make sure you read the menu carefully as there is something of an obsession with offal, tripe and lungs lurking amidst the parmesan and parfaits.
There is a small gym that is free for guests to use and there is a relationship with a spa close to the hotel that offers a special ‘water relax’ treatment that involves pampering you senseless with a facial and hot stones treatment while encased in some sort of waterbed.
The service is friendly and efficient, with the staff willing to arrange babysitters and welcome small pets. The hotel goes out of its way to be multi-national in its approach, with a good range of languages on offer.
Who stays there
Bright young things – with its own conference facility and the ability to stage fashion and art shows, expect to be surrounded by eager young business entrepreneurs, creative types and singles.
Special offers vary week to week and are usually packaged around local events such as major trade shows or a local football derby, bundling tickets and transport with the room price.
- Business travellers
- Stag / hen parties
- People watching
- Design and architecture
Pros & Cons
- Relaxed and informal but efficient
- Party atmosphere
- Great design – and urban renewal
- A little way from the historic centre
- Lots of private functions, so facilities close