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It was only yesterday that we were saying how Milan is so hot right now, but amongst the new openings, we didn’t expect this. A new hotel in Jeddah – as in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia – is being designed to look like one of Milan’s most famous landmarks.
The Galleria Hotel’s lobby will be modeled on Milan’s famous Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, which opened in 1877 and is one of the world’s first shopping malls.
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The Excelsior Hotel Gallia,now reopened
We’ve covered plenty of 2015 openings as they happened (scroll through here), but there are still some to come, and a couple that have quietly unlocked those doors since we checked in a few weeks ago. Here are the ones to watch:
There are 141 rooms, all looking swish enough – a bit more stylish than your average business hotel, but nothing outrageous. There’s a dark, rich palette with parquet floors and lots of wood; some suites and junior suites have balconies overlooking the cityscape, too.
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W giveth, W taketh away...
Opening date will be Monday, September 21, with a “Cozy Exchange” room (from 22 sq m / 237 sq ft) setting you back a clean €450 ($478) a night. Prepaying shaves just €10 ($12) off a night, which doesn’t really seem worth it for the flexibility you sacrifice. The “Exchange” reference we presume means the room is located in the 1903 Telephone Exchange building, as opposed to the former bank just across the street (go here for exterior shots of both).
From Cozy, the order is up to Wonderful and then Fabulous rooms, with Cool Corner, Studio, and Marvelous Suites before you get to Wow and Extreme Wow Suites – which we saw those renderings of. The Extreme Wow Suite gives 112 sq m (1,206 sq ft) of space and runs at €2,162 ($2,292) a night.
Actual photography of the rooms and suites is still to come, but we’re kind of surprised to read the intro text on the homepage of the hotel refer to the ability to “recharge with our W signature bed and a peek-a-boo shower”. Is that becoming an actual industry term now?
We have seen the 360-degree view rooftop bar (ok, from the outside), we’ve seen the public spaces (that was back in October last year) and here we are today: renderings of the rooms inside ME Milan Il Duca, ready for you to book from May 22, in time for the Milan Expo (coincidence? We think not).
There are 98 rooms and 34 suites inside the hotel, dressed in “natural tones” and “based on the principals of yin and yang, as guests pass through a flow of gradual spaces”. Above an entry-level Aura Room, which has a mix of woods, browns, and greys; there is a sofa at the foot of the bed, creating a seating area with the chair next to the desk, and a freestanding minibar in the corner. We’d guess / hope / expect that those are large sliding panels that allow you to close off the hallway and bathroom.
Expo is en route to Milan, as are a smattering of new hotels. Making its debut this month is TownHouse Duomo. Never heard of TownHouse? They're probably our favorite hoteliers in Milano, and have the unmissable, insanely spectacular Seven Stars Galleria, which is right inside the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II (one of Milan’s must-see sights) and other beautiful places in Milan and Turin.
TownHouse Duomo by Seven Stars is on Piazza Duomo, overlooking the gothic cathedral (the largest in Italy). It claims to be the “only existing luxury hotel” with this view, plum on the square – and they’re probably right (other hotels have side views, but we can’t think of one directly on the piazza).
A Milanese Eataly
Two of our favorite things coming together in union just in time for Valentine’s Day – we’re talking about Eataly and Starhotels, both brands we love from the Bel Paese, which have just announced they’re striking up a liaison.
This will be Eataly’s first hotel relationship, but it’s bringing a lot to the table: not just mini restaurants in Starhotels properties, but the creation of special menus, and special events with Italian chefs around the country.
The Nu Hotel, which will check you in for under €200
We’ve talked a lot on both HotelChatter and Jaunted about Milan’s Expo, running May to October this coming year. We’ve talked about the new hotels opening for it. The one thing we hadn’t done yet was speculate on prices. Glad we hadn’t because this news causes a few wrinkles.
If you want to visit Milan during Expo, your average hotel rate will be up by 300 percent.
Eight years ago, Mandarin Oriental announced they would open a hotel in the heart of Milan. A long silence followed, during which the planned 2013 opening came and went. Then, just over a year ago, we saw the four 19th century buildings that will make up the hotel with our own eyes when we walked down Via Monte di Pietà, preparing ourselves for more waiting until 2015.
Shockingly, our calendar tells us that it is now officially 2015, and like magic, we found an actual dedicated website for Mandarin Oriental Milan, with more details and most of all, renderings. Let’s dig in. Above the entrance, which will be a block behind Monte di Pietà on narrow Via Andegari; a quick look at Google Street View shows an imposing gate and rectangular courtyard, where we assume this is a close up of the right-hand corner. Read on for a look at rooms and the spa.
It may not be your first choice for an Italian trip… yet. But Milan is going to be so hot next year with the Expo Milano 2015, which will draw people from all around the world.
In preparation for the Expo, expect lots of hotel openings and renovations. Following the man-meat of Moxy, two of the first to come through are the B&B Hotel Milano Cenisio Garibaldi, which supposedly opened last week (though it’s not showing availability till 1 January), and the Lagare Hotel Milano Centrale which is scheduled for February.
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Next stop: Italy
While the rest of the world is courting millennials, Italy, apparently, is going after the budget market. According to a new report, budget accommodation is predicted to be the fastest growing sector globally for 2014-2018; and Italy – land of ridiculously lavish palace hotels – is playing catch up.
Swift on the heels of the Moxy launch in Milan, the Meininger group from Germany is planning an Italian invasion: from next year, they’ll be opening in Milan, Venice, Florence and Rome.
You may not have heard of Meininger before, but they bill themselves as a hotel-hostel fusion, have been in operation for 15 years, and currently have 16 hotels in 10 European cities: mostly in Germany and Austria, plus one each in Brussels, London and Amsterdam.
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Verdura Resort in Sicily
We knew a couple of months ago that Rocco Forte was sniffing around Venice, but plans really are coming to fruition now. Last week, it was announced that Forte is getting a $95m cash injection from Italian investors (in return for 23 percent of the company) – which he’ll use to open hotels in Venice, Milan, Naples (YES) and Sicily.
It gets better. In an upbeat interview with Il Giornale, in which he says that luxury travel will save Italy's economy, Forte said this:
We want to create a network of uber-luxury hotels in Italy – one that’ll be capable of attracting travellers wanting to rediscover the Grand Tour, that was so tantalizing to the aristocrats of the 18th and 19th centuries.
According to Forte, they’re currently sifting through potential sites in Venice, Milan and Naples. He is also “convinced of the unexplored potential of Sicily” (where they already have one resort outside, Verdura, in Sciacca). Taormina or Siracuse are on the hitlist there. Paris, New York, Moscow and the Middle East are priorities after Italy.