The longtime leader in fashion, Milan is a top destination for designer shopping – especially the glittering Vittorio Emanuele II arcade. However, the historical and profoundly cultural city has much to enchant besides. Spend a night at La Scala, one of the world’s most famous opera houses; see Leonardo da Vinci’s mural The Last Supper, an iconic artwork housed in the Santa Maria Delle Grazie convent; sample Milanese cuisine; and visit the Gothic Duomo di Milano cathedral. We recommend visiting in spring or autumn, as winter gets chilly and the summer is sweltering in this northern enclave of Italy.
Aethos Milan (The Yard)
Stay in one of 32 suites, each fully customised with a handpicked collection of vintage Italian furniture, king-sized beds, original decor and Under Your Skin toiletries. Many have their own balconies, but the sassiest room of all is The Loft, a penthouse suite with a private roof deck providing views of Porta Ticinese, a kitchen, two bathrooms, a library stocked with art and design books and a walk-in closet. Downstairs, you can eat and drink in The Doping, an Art Deco-inspired bar that’s a treasure trove of collectables; be sure to sample some of its molecular cocktails imaginatively served (one comes hidden in a Russian doll).
This boutique guesthouse follows an ethos of authenticity and personalised service, catering to a new generation of travellers. It comes from Neri Baccheschi Berti, whose family launched the award-winning Castello di Vicarello in Tuscany, and it only recently became a hotel; prior to this, it had been the Legnano racing bike factory and the Baccheschi Berti family’s fashion brand studio/showroom. Guests can curl up in the sitting room with a good book from Vico Milano’s curated library, work out in the gym and spend evenings in the hotel’s speakeasy bar, sampling Baccheschi Berti award-winning organic wines and nibbling on classic Italian snacks.
The Gray Sina
Found only 100 meters from the Duomo, The Gray Sina is a five-star design hotel with an impressive Art Nouveau façade. Inside are 21 rooms and suites, decorated in a sophisticated contemporary style that utilises steel, glass, silk and natural woods, offset by daring touches, such as animal print textiles. Some are especially unique with features including suspended beds, private gyms and Turkish baths. It has three places to eat and drink; Le Noir restaurant for modern and delicate dishes in a cleverly lit dining room akin to a black container; the on-trend GBAR, and Aria, The Gray Sina’s alfresco lounge.
Magna Pars L’Hôtel à Parfum
So named as it’s housed in a perfume factory, Magna Pars L’Hotel à Parfum features olfactory motifs throughout its spaces. As such, each of its 60 subtly decorated suites takes on a floral, fruity, aromatic, woody or resinous theme. Some bedrooms have their own bars, libraries, seating areas with chaise longue, jacuzzi baths and outdoor terraces with sun loungers; all have paintings by up-and-coming Milanese artists. The alfresco dining room has two fireplaces and a state-of-the-art open kitchen. And, when you fancy a beverage, enter the secret door (made from copper, by artists at the Academy of Fine Arts of Brera) to Liquidambar.