Destination Guide


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Courtesy of Ceresio 7

Milan has been a fashion and design hub since the 19th century, when it emerged as one of Europe's most prosperous and powerful cities. Today, its designers (and fashionistas) continue to set worldwide trends. Milan’s star couturiers and luxury boutiques have transformed the city into Italy’s chicest, most modern metropolis, brimming with attitude, sophistication and history.


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Lounge at Armani Hotel Milano, Milan, Italy

Armani Hotel Milano

If ever there was a hotel that fully embodies the aesthetic of a fashion icon, it would be the Armani Hotel Milano. Situated atop Giorgio Armani’s flagship store, at the entrance of famed shopping street Via Montenapoleone, this hotel made a huge splash when it opened in 2011 and remains one of the most difficult to book during the high season, especially fashion week.

Its vividly personal design philosophy makes absolutely no compromises—from the overall architecture (the footprint of the hotel is in the shape of an “A”) to the smallest details (black shower caps), guests here are unmistakably in the word of Signore Armani. It's Zen, minimalist and undeniably sexy, without a single superfluous flourish or adornment—just like a perfect little black dress.

Instead of checking in on the ground floor, visitors are whisked to the seventh floor where massive window walls clad in solar-paneled blinds showcase expansive views across the rooftops of Milan, all the way towards the Duomo. The ambience is hushed, the lighting dim, and the color palate a muted mix of gold and silver, of black and red onyx. Suffice it to say that you feel like you should dress up for the hotel, and that anything other than heels won't do to catwalk down the polished black floors.

The 95 rooms and suites are located on floors two through six, so guests take an elevator down (reminiscent of hotels in Asia), then make their way through darkened hallways dotted with discreet doorways secured by touch panels. The accommodations start at a sizable 480 square-feet, and while masculine at the core, interiors maintain a sense of warmth, furnished with sensual leather, marble and raw silk dipped in neutral hues of grays, creams and browns. The furniture hails from Armani Casa, of course, and the beds in particular are extremely comfortable. Bathrooms are massive and have an Asian-bathhouse vibe, with smooth stone floors, spacious vanities and a separate bathtub and shower. Several floor-to-ceiling mirrors remind that you're staying in the house of a fashion designer (as does the lack of drawers in the room; apparently, everything in a style-maven's closet should be hung up). Some of the rooms on the sixth-floor come with balconies with vistas of the city, and the duplex Signature Suites offer either a private cinema or an in-room gym.

Public spaces are impressive, in particular the top-floor, 13,000-square-foot Armani Spa. There are six treatment rooms, a glass-enclosed relaxation pool and a state-of-the-art fitness center, but best are the white-leather relaxation loungers set in front of the window walls, surely one of the best vantage point from which to view Milan.

Lobby at Bulgari Hotel Milan, Milan, Italy

Bulgari Hotel Milano

Tucked away on a quiet residential street off of Via Monte di Pietà, the 58-room Bulgari is a serene retreat located near the best shopping of the Quadrilatero d’Oro and in walking distance to Brera—a design district filled with independent galleries and local cafés. Bulgari's heritage is present throughout the hotel’s public spaces, which feature sketches of vintage jewelry and portraits of the brand’s famous fans like Elizabeth Taylor and Sophia Loren. Adored by the Milanese, the Bulgari has a loyal following of high-profile professionals, celebrities and designers who favor the sleek, stylish design.

Well-known Italian designers Antonio Citterio and Patricia Viel, who also decorated the nearby Mandarin Oriental Milan, blend Bulgari’s high-end aeshetic with contemporary Italian décor. Dark hallways lead to residential-styled rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows and minimalist furnishings. The color scheme highlights light oak-paneled walls and floors accented with beige, taupe and rich mocha. The bathrooms are simple but grand, and most have deep stone basin tubs that overlook the garden. Amenities include Bulgari bath products, luxurious Italian linens and special touches at turndown including warm herbal tea, chocolates and lit candles.

The buzzing lounge has floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook the lively garden.Il Bar attracts a stylish crowd of locals, who mingle over aperitivo at the long onyx marble bar. In the warm weather, patrons can take advantage of the garden or Dom Pérignon Lounge and Raw Bar set in the back of the garden. Il Ristorante specializes in contemporary Italian dishes such as sea bass carpaccio and ossobuco ravioli. Once a month, the Bulgari hosts a special culinary event, Epicurea, during which an international chef collaborates on a curated tasting menu. It’s a fun dining experience that is popular with locals. The additional on-property amenities include a lovely Asian-inspired spa with La Mer products and a small but functional gym.

Lounge with patio at Four Seasons Hotel Milano, Milan, Italy

Four Seasons Milan

Currently celebrating its twentieth anniversary as a hotel, the Four Seasons Milan, housed in a former fifteenth-century convent, now boasts sixty-seven guest rooms and fifty-one suites, the notable La Veranda restaurant and, of course, the signature level of service that the Four Seasons brand embodies.

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