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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.
We've got Milan on our minds today
The "young and rich" luxury brand that is ME by Melia is in the midst of a global expansion, making powerful modern design statements (to put it lightly) in each city it debuts.
With hotels like ME London, a futuristic class act by Foster + Partner; the recently opened sexy cool ME Majorca and ME Ibiza; and the mind-altering ME Dubai, coming in 2016, it should be no surprise that when ME Milan Il Duca opens next year, it, too, will be something very special.
Because who doesn't love a man who irons?
There was one thing that really stood out for us when we stayed at Moxy Milan last week. A free-flow work-eat-drink-socialize space? Nope. A surfeit of millennials selfie-ing their way around said work-eat-drink-socialize space? Nah – although it made a lovely change not to be the only one obsessively photographing every single yoghurt in the to-go fridge.
No, it was the men. Sexy, semi-naked men. Tattooed, ripped, even dressed – man flesh at every turn. Behold!
A shirtless man on the room key:
A shirtless tattooed man in the ironing room (no, those abs aren’t making you see double, he was on the inside and outside wall – and the outside one was more graphic #boxers):
It’s been open a couple of weeks now, and the reviews are starting to trickle in for Moxy Milan, the first opening for Marriott’s new millennial-friendly brand. And they are… mixed. Here’s what the 13 reviews on TripAdvisor have to say, along with some observations from an article in the Financial Times.
A signature of ME by Melia Hotels is the rooftop bar, and this well-positioned one from the upcoming ME Milan this should not disappoint. Interestingly, this perspective appears to be taken from terraces of the hotel across the street, which quite frankly will have one of the best views of this new design feature.
2015 will see two new ME hotels--the extreme ME Dubai and the ME Milan II Duca, a previous modern classic that will be re-affirmed. ME’s first hotel in Italy will be moving into the former Il Duca di Milano hotel, a simple yet balanced contemporary design by the late Aldo Rossi, a Pritzker Prize winning architect and designer, referred to as “a poet who happens to be an architect.” You don't hear that comparison often.
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Moxy Hotels, the hip and affordable hotel brand for young folk, is opening its first location this summer at Milan's Malpensa Airport (Terminal 2) in August, followed by several more European airport hotels next year. We've seen renderings of the exterior for Moxy but today, we've got a sneak peek at the interiors.
Designers David Tracz and David Shove-Brown, co-founders of the Washington DC-based Studio3877, were tapped to do the architectural and interior concepts for the brand and judging from these renderings, they've really nailed the "contemporary design" aspect for Moxy, especially in the guest rooms.
These spaces look so sleek and chic, it's hard to believe they will be at affordable rates. No, really. These are affordable rates. We found a room for 89 Euros for a standard room at Moxy Milan on September 1. And of course, that includes free WiFi.
[Renderings by Neoscape]