If the Hotel Viu Milan were an Italian fashion-plate, she’d get top marks for accessorising: this sleekly contemporary luxury hotel has been expertly outfitted in caramel, bottle-green and cream by haute furniture design stable Molteni&C. The youthful clientele are just as stylish and can be found milling around the softly-lit bar, posing by the wall of painted flowers and sampling chef Giancarlo Morelli’s heavenly bites in the two wood-panelled restaurants. On sunny days, stretch out (signature G&T in hand) by Milan’s first ever hotel-rooftop pool, from which you’ll have an excellent view of the surrounding Porta Volta neighbourhood, with its many shops, bars and cafés.
Get this when you book through us:
A bottle of prosecco, a small fruit cake and late check-out till 4pm (subject to availability)
Noon. Earliest check-in, 2pm. Both are flexible, subject to availability.
Double rooms from £187.82 (€225), including tax at 10 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional local city tax of €5.00 per person per night on check-out.
Rates don’t include breakfast (€38 a person and free for under-12s).
The state-of-the-art fitness centre has TechnoGym equipment (including treadmills, exercise bikes and weights) and a CrossFit training area. Ask for the services of a personal trainer, or use the expansive city views – courtesy of floor-to-ceiling windows – as your motivation. Book in for a yoga session, which (if the weather’s on your side) can be held on the terrace at sunrise or sunset.
At the hotel
Spa, fitness centre, meeting rooms, free WiFi throughout. In rooms: LG smart TV, minibar, air-conditioning, tea- and coffee-making kit (Nespresso machine in suites), Malin + Goetz toiletries.
Our favourite rooms
All of Viu’s rooms are seductive and modern, designed by Molteni&C studio’s artistic director, Nicola Gallizia: dark wood panelling and contemporary art on the walls, caramel-coloured furnishings and floor-to-ceiling windows are a recipe for understated seriously sultry style. We’re particularly fond of the Terrace King Deluxe Rooms, each of which has a patio, ideal for a private apéritif. If you’re staying with children, a few of the rooms interconnect – ask the Smith24 team for more details when booking.
The hyper-modern, open-air rooftop pool – the first of its kind in a Milanese hotel – is surrounded by a chic stone terrace, dotted with sunloungers and alfresco seating; take a pew for breakfast or a drink and enjoy panoramic (and totally Instagram-worthy) views of the city. The pool is open from 8am to 8pm, from April to October; it’s heated, so you can still enjoy a dip on cooler days.
Try out the impressive range of treatments in the cream marble-accented spa, from massages to facials and chromotherapy. For true lazy indulgence, you can opt to have your treatment in-room, but the spa’s steam room, hammam, ice room and sauna may well tempt you downstairs.
Make space for an armful of Italian designer labels in your case (this is Milan, after all). We’d also pack a clean-lined white shirt and pin-thin stilettos, to match the hotel’s modern aesthetic.
The hotel’s well suited to guests with mobility issues, as all the common areas are wheelchair-accessible. A few of the rooms have been specially adapted, with lift access and larger bathrooms.
Little Smiths are very welcome; the pool is open to children and Bulk Restaurant has highchairs. Baby cots for under-3s (free) can be added to all rooms. Couples, don't be deterred by the family-friendly attitude: there are plentiful treats for twosomes…
Try to sit centrally at Bulk, to revel in its buzzy atmosphere; at Giancarlo Morelli, ask for a spot next to the painted flower wall, which depicts a scene from Francesco Hayez’s Malinconia.
Svelte Milan street-style for Bulk (smart denims and a silky blouse); full-on Fashion Week for Morelli (heels, cocktail dresses and a fabulous blow-dry).
There are two equally delectable restaurants to sample at Viu: Bulk and Giancarlo Morelli. The former is an Italian bistro, serving a more traditional menu of gnocchi with vegetable caponata, saffron-infused carnaroli rice and lime-marinated ceviche. There’s also a raft of small plates: smoked salmon-topped blinis, warm bread with burrata, foie gras, and all manner of fresh focaccia sandwiches. Giancarlo Morelli is helmed by the eponymous chef, who’s well renowned for his incredible creations: lamb shoulder in a lovage crust, langoustine with crispy corn and braised leek ravioli, and a light-as-air chocolate cream. Both restaurants have interiors as delectable as their menus: Bulk is dark and moody, while Giancarlo Morelli is more feminine, with starched white tablecloths and a wall painted with flowers. Breakfast is served on the eighth floor, inside on cooler days, and on the terrace when the sun is shining. Please note, the hotel will only offer room service from 3 June.
Bulk Bar (in the same large, open-plan room as the restaurant) is managed by Mattia Pastori, a top bartender with more than a few mixology awards under his belt. The dimly-lit lounge area attract scores of young, local couples, who sip on Gian Tonics – G&Ts named after the resident chef – and shimmy to the DJ, who spins tunes until the early hours at the weekend. Hunker down inside, where shelves of bottles stacked against the window cast a shimmering light, or grab a spot on the terrace in the summer.
Bulk serves lunch from noon–3pm, and dinner from 7pm–11pm. Giancarlo Morelli serves dinner from 7pm–midnight. Breakfast is from 6.30am– noon.
A 10-minute walk from Piazza Gae Aulenti, the Hotel Viu Milan sits on a quiet, terraced street in the trendy Porta Volta neighbourhood, within easy reach of the area’s bars, shops and the Monumentale Metro station.
Most major airlines fly to Linate Airport, a half-hour drive from the hotel. The Smith24 team can book flights, and the hotel organises airport transfers from €65 one-way. Alternatively, fly to Malpensa Airport, from which it’s a 45-minute drive to the hotel. One-way transfers can be arranged from €120.
Milano Centrale is 10 minutes’ drive from the hotel, and on-way transfers can be organised from €10. Trains arrive here from main Italian hubs including Rome, Turin, Florence and Venice, as well as Switzerland. The Eurostar from Nice and Paris also stops here.
You’re unlikely to need a car, as the hotel is very central and the Milanese streets are notoriously difficult to navigate on four wheels. If you really feel you need a motor, hire one at Linate Airport and take the Via Enrico Forlanini to the hotel, which has a valet parking service for €40 a day.
Most locals take the Metro, bus and tram, or speed around the streets on mopeds. You can buy a weekly public transport pass for just over €10, or hire a moped from either airport (Smith24 can help with this on request).
Worth getting out of bed for
Scouring designer boutiques is practically mandatory in Milan, and the best are situated on Via della Spiga, Via Montenapoleone, Corso Vittorio Emanuele and Galleria Vittorio Veneto. If you’re taking this aspect of Milanese culture particularly seriously, you might even want to enlist the help of a personal shopper – well, you’d ask for a guide at a museum, wouldn’t you? Speaking of which, head to Palazzo Reale and the Pinacoteca di Brera to gaze at contemporary works and Renaissance masterpieces respectively, and the Basilica di Santa Maria delle Grazie, home to Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper. Take a trip around the Italian gothic Duomo, and climb the stairs to the rooftop, where you’ll have panoramic views of the city from a vertigo-inducing height of 215 feet. Once your feet are planted firmly back on the pavement, stroll to the 19th-century Sempione Park: hidden between the trees, you’ll find permanent sculptures by Arman, Francesco Barzaghi, Giorgio de Chirico and Antonio Paradiso.
Don’t miss Ceresio 7, a cutting-edge restaurant in the historic Enel building, five minutes’ walk from the hotel. The menu is as impressive as the location: we’re partial to the ox sirloin spiked with green pepper, and the asparagus risotto with basil and parmesan. Try the caviar and oysters at A’Riccione, where the seafood is routinely rated among the best in Milan (you might want to take a pair of sunglasses for the dazzlingly bright art deco wallpaper). For a quieter, more traditional supper, Il Coriandolo serves up veal chops, tuna tartare and super-thin ‘guitar-string spaghetti’.
The Crazy Cat Café has one (very furry) difference: it’s hosted by nine cats, who’ll pad around and purr while you sip hot coffee and munch on sugar-dusted apple pie. Although it doesn’t have any feline friends, Pavé Milano does do a wicked brew (and tasty ice cream to boot).
If you’ve always fancied a tipple in a former church, La Chiesetta will be right up your street: set in the heart of Milan’s Chinatown, the light of votive candles glimmers on original frescoes and Gothic stone archways as cocktail worshippers test out the extensive menu. Traditionalists will love the pink-hued Bar Basso, with its glittering chandeliers, while night-owls should head to the technicoloured B38 Clubwhich thrums with dance beats until the early hours.
A girls trip was in order: two nights of shopping, eating and pasta-eating in Milan to be precise.
As we neared Hotel Viu, our cases laden down with our chicest threads (cool enough, we hoped, for Italy’s cosmopolitan fashion capital), we couldn’t help but notice the city’s conscious effort to break up its bland concrete jungles by draping the outside of newer buildings with pretty greenery. It’s a striking feature of the hotel’s exterior; one that makes it all the more appealing.
After check-in, among the lobby’s dark wood-panelled walls, black basalt tiles, sink-into-soft furnishings and moody lighting, we bombard the brilliantly knowledgeable concierge with the crucial questions: where can we find the best pasta, pizza and gelato. They happily oblige our uncool requests and point out some go-to places and even make reservations for us.
Content we’d soon be indulging in Milan’s finest, we head up to see Hotel Viu’s pièce de résistance: its rooftop pool. The views are breathtaking – the perfect spot for breakfast, lunch, pre-dinner cocktails and general sun-soaked lounging, always alive with chattering swimmers.
No sunbathing yet, though – we had to unpack. Our rooms (we all check each others, naturally) are sleek and stylish, decorated in taupe and coffee shades with floor-to-ceiling windows, city-spying terraces and bathrooms stocked with Malin + Goetz products and Marvis toothpaste. Everything is carefully curated, but never showy – less flounces-and-frills, more swagger-and-swish.
We quickly empty our suitcases and head from our base between Chinatown and the up-and-coming Porta Volta neighborhood into the bustling tourist area. We explore the Duomo, sample some of the best pizza the city has to offer (Maruzzella, FYI) and attempt some shopping before heading back to our hotel hot, tired and ready for some relaxing (turns out we were a little overdressed for Milan's August heat – now it makes sense why so many leave the city at this time of year).
Rested, refreshed and ready for the night ahead, we eat dinner at the hotel’s informal Bulk restaurant in a plant-lined, light-twinkled courtyard. We’re shown to the chef’s table: a perfectly picturesque place to enjoy a bellini and a delicious plate of pasta.
We wake early the next day ready to tackle the shops. Fuelled by a fine rooftop breakfast we head straight for Via Montenapoleone, home to all of Milan’s designer boutiques, this time a little more appropriately dressed for pavement-pounding in the heat. We wander on to the boho streets of Brera, a quirky area full of cafés, boutiques and, for some reason, fortune tellers. Famed concept store, 10 Corso Como, is a must-visit if only for their restorative sickly sweet hot-chocolate.
Later we settle in for dinner at Ceresio 7 – a clever and classy combo of pool, bar and restaurant conceived by fashion siblings Dean and Dan Caten (Dsquared2). It’s popular; great for dinner, drinks or poolside posing.
We were saving sunbathing for our own rooftop pool, though. And that’s exactly where we spend our final few pre-flight hours, doing nada bar reading magazines, eating delicious fresh fruit and gossiping in the sweltering heat.
One last lunch overlooking the city (the burger is so, so good) and we’re back at the airport – our whirlwind weekend was over. You can't beat quality girls time, but Hotel Viu sure proved a pitch-perfect setting for it.