Galleria Vik is on the uppermost floor of the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, a vast, vaulted arcade in the very centre of Milan. The ornate Duomo is right next-door.
The closest airport is Milan Linate, which can be reached from most large airports across Europe. It takes around half an hour to drive from there to the hotel; the concierge can arrange transfers for two from €95 each way. The next best option is Milan Malpensa, around an hour’s drive away; one-way transfers start at €190. There’s also the Malpensa Express train, which takes an hour to reach Milano Centrale station.
A total tour de force of 1930s architecture, Milano Centrale is an international hub and one of the biggest stations in Europe. Services arrive daily from all over Italy and its neighbours, with high-speed lines running between Milan and Rome, Naples, Venice and Bologna. Once you’re at Centrale, hop on the M2 Metro line to Duomo; the station exit is right outside the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II.
Those unaccustomed to driving in an Italian city may find the experience a little taxing, with unannounced lane changing, liberal horn usage and scooters slipping past at every opportunity. If you do choose to hire some wheels, the hotel has valet parking for €64 a night.
Worth getting out of bed for
Considering the hotel's location, you’d be forgiven for wanting to drop your bags and head right out the door again. Given the breadth of the hotel’s art collection, it’s well well worth setting aside some time for the art tour, led by the resident expert. The treatment room provides relief from the trials of shopping, as does a window seat in restaurant Vikissimo, where you can sip wine high above the crowds passing over the tiled floors of the Galleria.
Art, fashion and design make up the Milanese triumvirate, and you’ll find endless opportunities to immerse yourself in all three… beginning right outside the hotel’s doors. The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is home to vast Gucci, Prada and Versace flagships, and is right next to the Duomo di Milano, a dizzyingly ornate masterpiece that was 600 years in the making. Go early if you want to see inside, as the queues grow by the hour. Shopping needs little in the way of pointers, with boutiques of every description arranged throughout the city centre. The concentration is highest in the Quadrilatero della Moda, four intersecting streets that make up one of the world’s foremost fashion districts. For those with leanings towards contemporary and avant-garde design, there’s the Fondazione Prada, worth seeing as much for its beautiful buildings as the art displayed within. To the north of the centre, there’s the Galleria d’Arte Moderna, which has taken up residence in the grand Villa Belgiojoso Bonaparte. Another worthy contender is the Gallerie d’Italia, which warrants a visit for its decorative floors and ceilings alone. Outside, you’ll see a statue of Leonardo Da Vinci, credited with designing many of the improvements to the navigli (canals) that snake their way through the city centre. The Navigli Grande is a particularly buzzy place to be around aperitivo hour (any time between 6 and 8.30pm).
Named for the 12 black cats that live on the rooftops of the Galleria, I Dodici Gatti serves wood-fired Neapolitan pizzas, grilled meats and hearty pasta dishes. The pizzas are made with the chef’s homemade mozzarella and toppings that range from classic to outlandish. Some of the profits go towards caring for the pizzeria's feline muses. Biancolatte takes the best parts of an Italian café, French bistro and American deli, combining them into one of the best brunch spots in the city. The freshly made pane and pasticcini are a hit, but the soups, pasta, sandwiches and other savoury fare entice just as many people through the door. On the Navigli Grande canal, red-brick restaurant Al Pont De Ferr is a good spot for a casual dinner. Chef Ivan Milani is passionate about his raw ingredients – market-fresh fish, pasture-fed beef, vegetables from slow-food farms and bread that’s made with organic flour. His dishes riff on Milanese classics but play around with tradition; try one of the creative set menus or cherry pick from the à la carte selection of house specials, such as the enigmatically named ‘Candied Version of Red Onion’, which is filled with fresh goat’s cheese and served on sesame bread. For fine dining in a dramatic setting, head to Carlo e Camilla, a refined restaurant in a pared-back factory space dating from 1929. There’s a sense of theatre to the dining room, with long tables set up as if it’s one big dinner party. Crystal chandeliers dangle from the beamed ceiling, adding a patrician touch to the otherwise industrial space. The kitchen is a hive of young talent, making dinners much more than a feast for the eyes.
Baxter captures Milan’s suave soul with interiors dressed in marble, terrazzo, leather and gleaming metal. Every lamp, sofa and table has been chosen with care, creating a retro aesthetic that with a mid-century lean. The mixologists are serious about their craft, shaking up cocktails old and new.