About 6.5km from the city centre in the Boviso district, the Radisson Blu isn’t as convenient as some of the other hotels but makes up for it in creature comforts. There are trams and trains into the city centre, but both involve a walk to the stop (allow 30 mins travelling time). If you want to get to the Fiero Milano exhibition district (3km away) or want easy access to the motorway to explore the surrounding countryside, this might also be a good bet for you.
All 250 hotel rooms have free high-speed internet access and flatscreen LCD television with satellite channels. One benefit of being a little way out of the centre is that there was a bit more room for the builders to breathe. By European standards, the rooms are positively cavernous, although visiting Americans may disagree. The cool crisp clean design has been carried through to the bedrooms, with light walls of earthy ochres and terracotta, dark wood furniture and strong colour accents and use of texture textiles – a scarlet throw, a crimson vase, a gold velvet cushion. The suites overlook the beautiful garden courtyard.
This is Milan, where design is king, so however unlikely the context, it’s not unusual to find yourself entering an Asian-European fusion space, by renowned Indonesian designer Jaya Ibrahim. It’s based on the principles of Zen with cool simple walls in soothing earth colours, fat colonial style rattan and sleek Italian modern style sitting side by side, punctuated by bold statement pieces of art – Khmer vases, great slabs of petrified wood and richly ornate ceramics. I found it difficult to keep my hands off these incredibly tactile displays. Lights are for accent rather than practicality at times.
Eating and drinking
While the breakfast buffet is excellent, with a wide range of hot and cold dishes, cereals, yoghurts, fruits and breads, this isn’t included in the basic room price and this can ratchet up the cost of a night’s stay.
The Filini Restaurant, named after a string-thin pasta that features in a modern Italian menu, has clean contemporary lines in the same soft earth colours and subtle lighting that theme the whole hotel. Those who prefer to worship the sun can eat out in the garden courtyard where white umbrellas and fat rattan chairs offer shades of colonial comfort. Over in the lounge bar, mood lighting, a marble spiral staircase and a barman who is a dabhand with a cocktail shaker set the scene for some chilled out evenings in – after all, it’s a bit of a hike back into town!
There is a formidably well-equipped gym but the indoor heated pool with its spectacular glass roof and wall was far more to my taste. Both are free to guests. There is also a spa with a steam room, sauna, Jacuzzis and range of treatments.
Radisson is part of a rapidly growing empire and prides itself on slick service that matches the American standards expected by the international chains. On the whole, they succeed admirably, but sometimes I find myself missing that slight touch of very Italian lunacy.
Who stays there
All hotels in Milan are business heavy, and as this is convenient for the exhibition area, you’ll find a lot of conference delegates here too. But also expect to find a smattering of stars, fashion folk (you can’t avoid them in this town), and leisure travellers.
Book early enough and get a 25 per cent discount with Radisson’s advance purchase offer. Or book a two or three night weekend and get a 20 per cent discount.
- Business travellers
- Families with younger children
- Escaping the crowds
- People watching
- Design and architecture
Pros & Cons
- Heated swimming pool
- On-site parking
- Free WiFi
- Spacious rooms
- Breakfast not included
- Location a bit out of the way for tourists