20121 Travel Guide
“Imposing” is the word we probably would have used. Or “magisterial”, maybe. But definitely not “like a psychiatric hospital”, which is how Roberto Cavalli just described the Armani Hotel Milan.
“Between Armani and me there is an abyss. Have you seen that new hotel? It looks like a psychiatric hospital” were the exact words he used when talking to La Repubblica newspaper.
The most embarrassing thing for Armani in the whole affair is that you know what? Now that he’s said that, we look at pictures and go “You know what, it kinda does.” But then again, it’s hardly out of place in Milan, a city whose buildings are way more severe than the flouncy terracotta stuff you expect in the Italy of your textbooks.
Everyone knows that the first stop for fashionistas on a jaunt through Italy is Milan. It's got designers. It's got Fashion Week. And it's got the man himself, Giorgio Armani.
A man, who, as much as he's making a name for himself now in the hospitality biz, first got introduced to the world as a fashion person. Clothes, retail, couture: those are his roots, not necessarily beautiful hotels. But the new Milan property, with all its 95 textured monochrome guest rooms and eighth floor "hat" lobby, actually manages to contain both those worlds under the same roof—the hotel is built right on top of an Armani store. How convenient!
Hotel Design / Design Thursdays / Armani Hotels / Milan Hotels / Hotel Lobbies / Fashion Hotels / → All Tags
Though we took a quick look last month at what Tripadvisor reviewers were saying, we still feel a little out of the loop about the new Armani Hotel Milan, which has been open for almost two months now.
What kind of fancy Armani unforms do the staff wear? Are the rooms really that big? How do the hotel's Lifestyle Managers fit in, exactly?
Sadly, the hotel provided little in the way of a response—choosing only to reiterate Giorgio's vision of creating a "precisely defined ambiance of total comfort." But we have managed to scrap together at least a fragmentary sense of the interiors. For starters: similar to the property in Dubai, the Armani Milan's rooms are homogenized in soft beiges, tans, and dark browns. Emphasis here is more on texture—with limestone bathrooms, backlit shingled headboards, and cabinets that vanish into walls. All of which, hopefully, don't get in the way of comfort.
We can hardly believe it ourselves, but the Armani Milan is over the one month mark, as it finally made its debut back on November 10. It may still be piping hot and fresh out of the hotel-baking oven, but it's time to start reading what people are saying about it.
One thing is important to remember, however, and that's that Italy doesn't have it all together on the social media/online sharing front. Case in point: the place has been booked up, but both Hotels.com, Expedia, Venere, etc have not a single review of it (barring this nice photo gallery).
Thus, for now we turn to Tripadvisor:
In just over two weeks, the world will have a second Armani Hotel to drool over. At least, that's the hope. After delaying and missing the hubbub of Milan Fashion Week earlier this season, the Armani Hotel Milan has posted an official opening date to their website: November 10.
Okay, so actually we've known this for a little bit, but the magic of it is that the hotel seems to be sticking to the day. When we snooped around the property earlier this year, we noted that the place looked very much finished from the outside, but that filling out the 96 roomsboasting the largest hotel room sizes in the whole cityis likely the cause of the autumn date.
Despite the fact that it's totally crunch time at the Armani Milan, they are not yet taking reservations. That, however, doesn't mean you can't add it to your holiday wish list.
Hotel Construction / Armani Hotels / Fashion Hotels / Milan Hotels / Italy Hotels / Hotel Hype / Photo Gallery / → All Tags
Well, we're more than halfway through 2011 already, the year that Armani Hotel Milan swore it'd be finished and ready, and yet we've got no set opening date yet. Regardless, we swung by the construction ourselves while last in Italy, and it's really coming along.
The Armani Hotel Milan will not be like the original Armani Hotel, in the Burj Dubai building in the United Arab Emirates. It's to be more of an elite boutique hotel, built atop the Armani flagship on Via Manzoni. Sleep in one of the 96 rooms herewhich they boast as having the largest room size in Milanand only a few floors down, you'll be able to shop the Armani/Dolci, Armani/Fiori and Armani/Casa shops (sweets, flowers and home, respectively), in addition to the clothing. Plus, round the corner there's the Armani/Nobu restaurant for fully blowing out your expense account.
Milan Fashion Week has only just drawn to a close (for now), and the well-heeled flock are up to Paris for another round of runway shows, leaving the halls of the Bulgari Hotel Milan a bit quieter and the room rates a big less expensive, even if they do average $750 per night. When we stopped by recently, it was our final evening in Milan as well, and although we weren't into the idea of paying more than airfare for a single night here, we did grab a light dinner and drinks.
The Bulgari has a reputation. It's snobby, conservative, and mostly perfect for those on generous expense accounts. This is all true, but it also makes a pretty great 15 Euro bowl of spaghetti.
Milan Fashion Week ended late last night with the big presentation of Giorgio Armani's Spring/Summer 2011 fashions, and the sentiments from editors all around were positive on the Italian collections. Milan was a winner! And the hotel that shined brightest amidst all the optimism was the Bulgari Hotel, not the Principe di Savoia or Maison Moschino as we would have expected.
No, the Bulgari stood out at first for a livelier cocktails scene, serving as unofficial headquarters for the buyers from Net-A-Porter and the top editors from publications like InStyle and French Vogue. Secondly, and most importantly, the Bulgari emerged as one of the hottest party spots during Milan Fashion Week, when British designer Matthew Williamson took over the hotel's garden to launch his capsule collection of bags for the Bulgari luxury brand. The Bulgaris themselves stopped by, as did Rachel Bilson and Rita Wilson plus a slew of the usual fashion folk.
Now that Milan is over for the fashion season, the room rates have dropped to more manageable levels. So, if you weren't on the guest list for the big party, you can still experience the garden. Room rates for the Bulgari Milan begin at $450 per night.
[Photo: Bulgari Hotel/Facebook]
A trip to Italy usually on the pursuit of one or all of three things : history, fashion and wine. With Milan being Milan, not only does it have all three in spades, but it's got the seven-star Town House Galleria Hotel to give you top-tier access to them.
Launching the first hotel-based "wine stock exchange," or an in-house cellar where guests may store their fine wine and champagne purchases, the Town House Galleria seeks to expand their ridiculously luxurious amenities, which already include personal butlers for every guest. Rooms here regularly fetch $2,500 a night, so we're not surprised at this extra icing on the cake, but they'll even be going so far as to sell their own stock. What exactly do they have buried down in their wine caverns, you ask? Only the best: the pink case of six bottles of Dom Perignon designed by Karl Lagerfeld, which alone costs $143,000.
Apparently the Town House has more than enough interest in both the cellar and the Lagerfeld case to warrant the offering of it. Explains the hotel: "This is for wine belonging to our guests. They travel, they like to buy wine in Italy, and so they will be able to leave it here." Fair enough, but will they snub their noses at our Freixenet?
[Photo of Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II: sciamano]
Contemporist featured a few shots of the 21-room Gray Hotel in Milan, designed by Florence architect Guido Ciompi, that totally turned us on. All 21 of the hotel's guestrooms are unique and, if you ask us, pretty stunning we do love us some design hotels.
But a photo of a particular feature caught our eye. Behold: the famed floating stairs (which have been making the rounds on the Internet this week) in one of the rooms.
As always, we have several questions: do we see a handrail? We're clumsy and, well, we know we wouldn't make it up these stairs without some sort of an incident. Second: as a Contemporist commenter so eloquently pointed out, "Not to be prudish, but couldn’t someone sitting at the bar/table see up m’lady’s skirt?" Um, so true though we're pretty sure this is a guestroom and not a public bar so it may be less of an issue. Thank goodness.
At an average price of around $2,300 a night, the seven-star Town House Galleria in Milan has got to be fairly exclusive. And it is. Every guest even gets allocated their own personal butler, who is responsible for all manner of duties designed to make your stay more comfortable.
Basically, your butler will do anything for you. Craving a particular kind of chocolate bar? They'll run out and grab one for you, or a whole bag full. Needing tickets so you can skip the queue at any Milan attraction? No worries at all.
The butlers at Town House Galleria are also available to take care of all the needs of your small dog (large ones, apparently, are not included).
To get things straight, the Townhouse in Milan doesn't yet have its seven stars, but it claims to be the first hotel in the world to have applied to Swiss accreditors SGS to get them. Apart from having (we admit) a fairly luxurious looking website, it also claims to be "a precious jewel in the crown of Italy's fashion city" and to have "unparalleled ambience". They also provide quite impressive services like playing your favorite music in the luxury car that collects you from the airport, sending a pianist direct to your suite if you want, and providing a butler to unpack your luggage for you.
Inside the suites, the accessories are--if they live up to the website--no less impressive. Including, they say, "the best Italian coffee machines and the most sought after books", seven-star luxury means everything you want should be at your fingertips. Even for kids, apparently: illustrated fairy tale books, adventure games and jigsaw puzzles are amongst the kit they can provide. Suites can cost up to $5300 a night so we're probably talking pretty privileged kids here. Since the Townhouse Galleria opened last December, none of its guests have left reviews at TripAdvisor--is that because their WiFi doesn't work or 7-star people are not the type to share their experiences?
[Photo: Malcolmm ]
· Townhouse Galleria reviews [TripAdvisor]
· Future WiFi Hell in the World's Next 7-Star Hotel? [HotelChatter]
· Milan Hotel Aiming For Ultra-Deluxe Seven-Star Rating [e-hotelier]