Excelsior Gallia

Grand, uber-contemporary, large-scale

Piazza Duca D Aosta 9, Milan 20124

(39) 02 67851

See Website

At a Glance

Reopened in 2015 after four years of extensive renovations, the Excelsior Gallia is part of Marriott's Luxury Collection and boasts some of the largest rooms in Milan.

Indagare Loves

  • Great bathrooms with separate steam showers
  • The expansive Shiseido Spa, the first of its kind in Italy
  • The mix of vintage and custom furniture, all by Italian brands
  • The private movie theater in the cupola adorning the top of the landmark building


To call the revamped Excelsior Gallia unapologetically contemporary is an understatement. The 235-room hotel occupies a beautifully restored landmark building from the 1930s but interiors showcase space-age futurism at its finest. The monochromatic symphony of chrome, aluminum, marble, steel and stone was orchestrated across eight floors by Milanese designer Marco Piva, who approached this—his first hotel project—with a somewhat over-the-top, but deeply Italian flair.

Large white columns, black-marble floors and geometric light fixtures greet guests in the lobby. As the piece de résistance, Piva commissioned Murano specialists De Majo with the creation of a stunning, 30-meter chandelier whose 180 light cylinders, hung on long strings, illuminate the eight-story monumental staircase (one of the original details that have been painstakingly restored). De Majo is among a host of Italian brands represented at the Excelsior Gallia, from the Trussardi amenities in the bathrooms to the Masserati that shuttles guests to the historic center (the Excelsior is about a 10-minute drive to La Scala).

On first glance, the massive size of the common spaces, the polished materials and stark design choices can feel a bit impersonal, but the 253 rooms, including 53 suites, are actually some of Milan's most comfortable accommodations. Layouts are spacious with large marble-clad bathrooms, featuring separate bathtubs and steam showers. The color palette mimics the slate greys, blacks and whites of the common spaces, while textured wall coverings and mirrored sliding doors add touches of whimsy. Light is massively important to Piva, as evidenced by the particularly flattering lighting scheme in the bathroom (always appreciated) and the many different lamps and light fixtures throughout the room (Arco floor lamps are a particular favorite). Walls are adorned with architectural renderings, as thought the building and the interiors themselves were the art here. And, as befits an uber-contemporary abode, everything is teched-out: a night-light that illuminates automatically guides the way to the bathroom, and every imaginable plug, including a welcome USB charger, is installed beside the bed. Curtains, light and heating is controlled via an iPad.

A new, glass-clad wing, which was added to the landmark building, holds additional rooms as well as the impressive Shiseido Spa and a large gym area, on the sixth and seventh floors. Shiseido is the only non-Italian partner in the Excelsior, but the Zen ambience and dramatic lighting of the 10,000-square-foot extravaganza fits well within the overall hotel concept (don't miss the beautiful hammam). Top-floor billing was also given to Terrazza Gallia, the fine dining restaurant of the hotel that is overseen by the Cerea brothers, Michelin-award-winning chefs from Bergamo. Come for an apéritif and request to sit on the terrace with spot-on views of Milan's Art Deco train station whose façade is more than 650 feet long.

In fact, the proximity to the station reminds of the Excelsior Gallia's original debut in the 1930s when most travelers arrived at the newly opened stazione, then decamped to the grand hotel across the way. These days, they arrive via car transfer from Malpensa Airport, but the connection to travel and innovation remains. In fact, the lobby sees its fair share of curious passersbys who come to marvel at the Murano chandelier installation, itself a perfect symbol for the blending of traditional handicraft and cutting-edge design at the Excelsior.

Indagare Tip

Travelers who are leaving Milan with a train and have some time before their departure should visit the Gallia's ground-floor lounge/bar for a coffee or glass of wine. It's a much more relaxing and lovely atmosphere than sitting in the massive station.

Who Should Stay

Travelers who enjoy a contemporary aesthetic and don't mind staying a bit removed from the historic center. The hotel offers complimentary shuttle service — with a Masserati, no less —to the Duomo and fashion areas. Business travelers who have appointments in the Porto Nuovo area, which is a fifteen-minute walk away.** **

Written by Simone Girner

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