Travelling to Milan for business? Here's our pick of the best hotels.
Dogged individualism has helped propel Milan’s GDP to the fourth highest in Europe (poet Eugenio Montale called the city “an enormous conglomerate of hermits”). As an example, entrepreneurs such as Gianni Versace, Gianfranco Ferré and Giorgio Armani saved the city from a slump in the 1970s by committing to Milan when Florence was Italy’s fashion capital. They did it alone, working with equally small but ambitious textile manufacturers in the urban hinterland.
The city of Milan is a wheel with the glorious, many-pinnacled Duomo as its hub. Major financial institutions, fashion-brand headquarters, design and media companies, the Quadrilatero d’Oro shopping district and La Scala opera theatre all cluster within a few blocks of this city landmark, as do some of the most sophisticated hotels.
In the area between and around the two main train stations, Centrale and Porta Garibaldi, is the Centro Direzionale business district – home to Cesar Pelli’s spiralling UniCredit Tower – and its gleaming new rival, Porta Nuova. Beyond the city limits, to the north-west, is the huge Fiera Milano trade fair complex.
During Fashion Week (February and September for women’s fashion) and the Salone Internazionale del Mobile (a furniture fair in April), finding a hotel room or hailing a taxi in Milan becomes a Darwinian struggle. Both events spread out city-wide, with a focus on the Zona Tortona (an area south-west of the centre), where converted industrial spaces such as Teatro Armani host shows and ultra-exclusive parties.
SEE ALSO: Vogue's Guide to Milan
Park Hyatt Milan
￼There’s something timeless about this elegant, understated luxury player just off centralissimo Piazza del Duomo, though it only dates back to 2003. The cultured vibe is enhanced by an evolving contemporary art collection that includes a 2013 work by Anish Kapoor. Head concierge Nicola Balitro is a fount of local knowledge. And with standard doubles starting at a roomy 38 square metres, you can afford to be modest.
Business facilities: The compact but functional ground-floor business centre even has a shredder. Boardroom 1 is the most elegant of four small-to-large meeting rooms.
Wi-fi: It’s free and fast. They’ll even lend you a laptop for €180 (about $280) per day.
Food and wine: At flagship restaurant Vun, southern Italian chef Andrea Aprea is still at the top of his game five years in. Mio Bar, with its terrace overlooking the shopping arcade Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, is good for a quick business meeting and the club sandwiches are legendary.
Fitness and wellbeing: The cool basement spa has Turkish baths and a hot tub. The spacious gym is open from 9am to 9pm daily.
Run route: There’s a well-signposted 3.2-kilometre running loop through Parco Sempione, starting at nearby Castello Sforzesco.
Via Tommaso Grossi 1, Duomo
Mandarin Oriental Milan
Distilling the Milanese talent for hiding in plain sight, this suave 104-room urban resort, inaugurated in the summer of 2015, is set discreetly back from the fashionista drag of Via Manzoni in a former bank headquarters. Inspired by smart townhouses of the mid-20th century, the design is a series of distinct, “clubbish” spaces with a look halfway between La Dolce Vita and Mad Men.
Business facilities: Two well-equipped function rooms seat 50 and 70; there’s also a private dining room for up to eight.
Wi-fi: Unless you’ve booked a free wi-fi rate, it costs €15 (about $23) a day.
Food and wine: Upscale Seta restaurant bases its mod-Med creations on seasonal Italian ingredients. For casual dining, go to the black-and-white Mandarin Bar.
Fitness and wellbeing: The heated pool in the stylish basement spa is mini, unlike the facilities in the maxi fitness centre.
Run route: From 6am to 9am, pick up a towel and a bottle of water from the jogging station at the hotel entrance and run one kilometre to Giardini Pubblici Indro Montanelli, a public park with a perimeter running route of about two kilometres.
￼Via Andegari 9, Scala
Vintage chic rules at this 28-room boutique hotel in the buzzy Navigli canal district that feels like the home of a quirky young Milanese collector. Each room is dedicated to a sport and filled with tasteful retro items. And you’ve got to love a place that calls its artisan cocktail bar The Doping Club. Fashion and design industry mavens like its proximity to the Tortona district – the place to be during Fashion Week and the furniture fair.
Business facilities: None, but the courtyard and downstairs lounge – the latter carved up into intimate private nooks – invite informal business chats.
Wi-fi: Complimentary throughout.
Food and wine: There’s no on-site restaurant but complimentary biscuits, juice and mineral water are available in the lounge. Ask the staff to book dinner for you at Al Pont de Ferr, one of Navigli’s best eateries.
Fitness and wellbeing: No facilities but there’s a BikeMi bike-sharing station around the corner.
Run route: The Naviglio Grande canal is a favourite. The return run to the entrance to Corsico city is 10 kilometres.
Piazza XXIV Maggio 8, Navigli
Excelsior Hotel Gallia
One of a trio of historic Milanese five-stars (the others being the Grand Hotel et de Milan and the Hotel Principe di Savoia), Gallia was showing its age until a refit was completed in 2015 by architect Marco Piva. No longer just the smart choice for those keen on its proximity to Milano Centrale train station, this 235-room “Neo-Art Deco” pile has now become the kind of glitzy place where you could happily invite clients for a drink – before whisking them downtown in one of three Maserati courtesy cars.
Business facilities: This is one of the best-equipped hotels in town. There’s a business centre with six workstations and 12 meeting spaces that include La Cupola, a dazzling private cinema under a spectacular dome, and the Duomo ballroom.
Wi-fi: It’s free throughout. The hotel’s PressReader service allows you to download a selection of media publications.
Food and wine: The hotel’s top-floor Terrazza Gallia bar is a stand-out. This “21st-century-Gatsby cruise liner” beached on a Milanese rooftop has great city views, bartenders with impressive cocktail credentials (try the all-Italian G&T) and a fine restaurant.
Fitness and wellbeing: The glamorous Shiseido Spa is one of the biggest in town. It has a heated pool that you can actually swim in and high-definition Virtual Golf. The gym is open 24/7.
Run route: It’s 1.5 kilometres to the start of the running track that follows the Naviglio della Martesana canal for 38 kilometres (go far enough and you’ll run through Gorgonzola – the town, that is).
Piazza Duca d’Aosta 9, Milano Centrale
Top Image: Excelsior Hotel Gallia