As a city whose name is all but synonymous with style and high fashion, it seems apt that one of Italy’s most glamorous hotels is perched atop the gorgeous Milanese skyline.
Acquired by the luxury Dorchester Collection in 2003, the Hotel Principe di Savoia, in Milan’s bustling Piazza della Repubblica, first opened its doors in the late 1920s and remains an impressively grand spectacle, its semi-neoclassical facade towering over the lush green square below.
Although this opulent establishment retains its original art deco stylings, a $50m refurbishment in 2009 by renowned architect Thierry Despont has added a noticeable flair, mixing beautiful old-world luxury with vibrant 21st century flourishes.
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Under the sleek black awnings of the hotel’s main entrance, a team of diligent porters and doormen stand ready to welcome you through the revolving doors into the grand main foyer, a stunning space with tasteful gold finishes, classical paintings and an Alicante marble floor.
Sitting directly across from the exquisite reception desk is the inviting Il Salotto Lobby Lounge, one of the top celebrity-spotting hideouts this side of Hollywood: the hotel has been host to everyone from Charlie Chaplin to Queen Elizabeth II in its 90-year history.
After taking one of the gilded express lifts up to the rooms, one of the first things you notice is the silence on the upper storeys. The hotel houses 257 rooms and 44 suites across ten floors, and sits in the centre of one of Milan’s busiest junctions just a stone’s throw from the mammoth Milano Centrale train station, yet guests are spared any extraneous noise by the property’s remarkable soundproofing.
The myriad rooms are where Hotel Principe di Savoia really hits its stride, however, with even the lowest-priced Classic rooms harbouring plenty of frills to impress, including a 40in Samsung flat screen TV, luxury linen, and a white marble ensuite bathroom packed with Acqua di Parma toiletries.
The even more opulent Ambassador, Principe, Imperial and Royal suites have their own distinct colour palletes, and are spread out across mutiple spacious rooms.
But the height of indulgence is reached with the famed Presidential Suite, on the top floor. A remarkable complex of three bedrooms and an enormous lounge, the suite, priced at around €17,000 (£15,000) per night, boasts its own “Pompeii-style spa” with a large swimming pool, whirlpool, Jacuzzi, sauna and Turkish bath. The suite comes with its own personal butler, complimentary canapés and Champagne, a balcony with views over the city, and a private entrance.
Also located on the lofty top floor is Club 10, one of Milan’s best-equipped spas, which is free to use for all hotel guests. Featuring a heated swimming pool, hydro-massage tub, sauna, steam room, massage options and a hi-tech fitness suite, Club 10 is the perfect way to detox and decompress before heading back to the foyer for an evening of culinary delights.
And these delights are abundant. Hotel Principe di Savoia has joined forces with some of the finest gastronomic and mixological minds in the region to create a stunning food and drink collection. Before dinner at the hotel’s acclaimed Acanto restaurant, take time to enjoy a drink at the Principe Bar, a bustling hotspot of high-end Milanese nightlife serving an eclectic mix of cocktails beneath a vast crystal chandelier.
Once sufficiently refreshed, make your way over to Acanto, an atmospheric food-lover’s heaven overseen by chef Alessandro Buffolino, who offers a menu of old-school Italian-style dishes with innovative modern twists.
To experience a full arsenal of flavours, try the tasting menu, featuring a mango and green pepper foie gras, and Supreme Bresse chicken with Ragusano, potatoes, black truffle and chanterelle mushrooms. The aromatic Autumn Flavours dessert, presented with dry ice pyrotechnics, completes a perfect meal.
As well as the amazing food, Acanto has another weapon up its sleeve: an enormous and diverse wine list compiled by expert sommelier Mara Vicelli, who has brought together some of the most unusual and delicious flavours that northern Italian winemakers have to offer. A particular highlight is the 2008 Maculan Torcolato dessert wine from the Veneto region, which is rich and sweet without being cloying.
When it comes to high-end hotels, even some of the world’s most famous establishments fail to truly distinguish themselves from the pack. The Hotel Principe di Savoia, however, is no regular high-end hotel. Its expert refurbishment, attention to detail and superb staff lend this hotel a unique boutique-like charm amid all the grandeur. With the fabulous spa, world-class restaurant and rooms fit for a queen, Hotel Principe di Savoia really is hotel royalty.
Hotel Principe di Savoia, Piazza della Repubblica 17, 20124, Milan, 00 39 02 62301, www.dorchestercollection.com
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