Housed within four 18th century buildings in the heart of Milan’s most exclusive shopping neighbourhood, the Mandarin Oriental offers Milanese elegance with hints of oriental luxury.
Originally built as an extravagant manor house, the buildings have lived many lives. Once serving as a city tax office, it later became a bank adorned with frescos depicting historic coats of arms from the Lombard Provinces, still visible today in the hotel’s courtyard.
Now, thanks to a rigorous restoration project undertaken by well-established Milanese architecture firm Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel, the hotel is a testament to the rich history of Milan with all the modern touches of a world-class luxury hotel.
The hotel stays true to its roots, giving guests the Milanese luxury experience while offering the distinct trademarks of a Mandarin Oriental property.
The first thing that hits you when you walk in is the elaborate floral arrangements. The middle of the lobby hosts a raised platform containing rows upon rows of glass vases with delicate white flowers, though the concierge told us the flowers arrangements are changed every week. Almost every surface in the lobby is filled with the vases. It feels like a modern take on a living area from the Milanese manor once housed within its walls.
The hotel is located on via Andegari in the uber-fashionable Brera neighbourhood.
It’s right next to the world-renowned opera house, La Scala and a three-minute walk to Milan’s most exclusive shopping streets: via Montenapoleone and via della Spiga. The area is also home to many of Milan’s cultural hot spots, with the magnificent Duomo and Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II just five minutes away and the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie, home to Leonardo Da Vinci’s The Last Supper around a 20 minute walk away.
Rooms and suites
There are 70 guestrooms, 34 suites and junior suites each with contemporary, uniform interior design but a different layout and city view. However, two speciality suites pay tribute to the creative luxury of Milan, with one paying homage to designer Piero Fornasetti and the other keeping with the minimalist rationalism of Milanese design.
The room reviewed was a deluxe junior suite situated on the second floor with views of the historic Milanese streets. The second floor is part of the hotel’s “noble” lower levels where aristocratic homeowners once resided and therefore has much higher ceilings than the upper levels.
Featuring a large sofa showcasing the signature “hug” headboard of the hotel beds, a desk, minibar, two TV’s and a king sized bed the room gave an air of Milanese functionality and luxury. The colour palette consisted of warm oak panelling softened by shades of purple and beige with a grand black Italian marble bathroom.
Drinking and dining
The Mandarin Bar & Bistrot is a spectacle in itself. Featuring black and white marble geometric patterns tied together with mirrors and reflective surfaces, it can be accessed through the reception area or via its own street entrance on via Monte di Pietà. With a range of delicious signature cocktails, the bar is the perfect place for a traditional Milanese aperitivo accompanied by a gourmet selection of appetisers.
The Seta restaurant, also accessed either through the bar or via Monte di Pietà, boasts traditional Italian fare with two Michelin stars under its belt. It features wide glass windows merging inside and out to create a spacious, airy atmosphere while emerald green velvet seating keeps the room grounded and cosy. Head chef Antonio Guida’s offering is heavily rooted in southern Italy’s Puglia region with influences from Tuscany and France.
Mandarin Oriental hotels pride themselves on their wellness focus. The spa is dedicated to physical, emotional and mental equilibrium through the philosophies provided by the hotel’s oriental heritage. Like the rooms, the spa has elements of feng shui principals woven into its spaces to encourage relaxation and rejuvenation.
The spa features six treatment rooms including one dedicated Thai massage room and one spa suite. Beauty treatments are available at the beauty studio and the spa also features a hair salon by celebrity hairstylist Massimo Serini. The fitness centre has hi-tech training equipment and a pool.
Verdict: eight out of 10
The Mandarin Oriental’s Milan property is the perfect haven for international fashionistas, culture fanatics and business travellers alike. With the contemporary design elements of its brand and echoes of the Milanese aristocratic lifestyle, it seamlessly blends luxury and tradition in a way only the Italians can.