Palatial, parquet-floored Palazzo Parigi in Milan is a grand hotel housed in a former bank. Within the city’s artistic Brera district, it’s an antidote to edginess, perfect for when you need a little old-school glamour. The French designer has ensured a certain Parisian je ne sais quoi – but the rest is firmly Italian, with the very best interior design, for which the country is famed the world over, everywhere you look. Each room has a city-showcasing balcony; the staff prefer friendliness to formality; and a spectacular spa awaits after long days spent sightseeing.
Get this when you book through us:
A bottle of prosecco and fresh fruit in your room on arrival
Noon, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 3pm, but also flexible.
Double rooms from £500.76 (€554), 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 (from €25 a person).
Just in case you didn’t feel fancy enough, the hotel has a ballroom with a terrace that overlooks the historic 18th-century gardens, for up to 300 party-loving guests.
At the hotel
Spa, gym, free WiFi throughout and valet parking. In rooms: TV, iPod dock, minibar, tea and coffee facilities and Clarins bath products.
Our favourite rooms
Every room has a balcony, which can only be a good thing – especially if it’s one facing out onto the city’s historic centre. For epic views, book the Duomo Suite, named after a certain landmark – though predictably, the Presidential Suite is the most spectacular, with a vast terrace from which to take in the Milanese-skyline panorama.
There’s a heated, family-friendly pool in the spa with its own current-simulating system.
The aptly named Grand Spa has some impressive credentials: namely, a hammam, steam room, sauna, Jacuzzi, gym, Pilates equipment, personal trainers and hairdressers on standby and Valmont treatments on offer.
This is a country with serious style and Milan is its fashion capital – wear black to blend in with the fashionistas, and pack your dose of designer labels (Italian ones, of course).
All of the hotel entrances have ramps, but only Classic Rooms are accessible for wheelchair users. Pets are allowed; dog beds, biscuits, bowls and a toy are all provided free of charge.
One of the cosy corner banquettes in the restaurant; or out amid the trees if it’s sunny. In Caffè Parigi, nab one of the stools to watch the barmen work their magic.
With 17th-century artworks on the walls in the Gastronomic Restaurant, it’d be rude not to dress up. Elsewhere, you’ll feel out of place without a huge pair of sunglasses.
There are two: Caffè Parigi, for breakfast, snacks and afternoon tea – currently courtesy of a Ladurée pop-up; and a gourmet restaurant with ceiling cornicing, chandeliers and grand, gilded mirrors, serving elaborate takes on Italian classics at dinner. The salted codfish is a particular highlight. Food can also be served in the garden, weather permitting.
There’s a bar in Caffè Parigi where you can enjoy namesake mules made with fresh mint and raspberry purée to a soundtrack of classical music.
Breakfast is served between 7am and 10.30am. Lunch is served between 12.30pm and 2.30pm, Tuesday to Friday; dinner is available from 7.30pm until 10.30pm, except on Sunday. Caffè Parigi is open daily between 7am and 1am.
A menu of caviar blinis, Parma ham, ceviche and risotto is available 24 hours a day.
Palazzo Parigi is in Milan’s Brera district, close to the famous shopping streets and the Teatro alla Scala.
Milan’s Linate airport is closest, eight kilometres and 20 minutes by car from the hotel; transfers arranged through the concierge cost €140. From Malpensa, the drive should take 50 minutes; hotel transfers from this airport are €280. Alitalia flies to Linate from London Heathrow; British Airways serves Malpensa.
The city’s Centrale station is two kilometres away; the drive shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes. From here, Trenitalia and Italo run services to other Italian cities, including Rome, Venice, Florence and Turin, as well as to other European cities such as Paris. Hotel transfers can be arranged on request. The nearest metro stop is Turati.
As with other Italian cities, Milan is not a place to drive if you’ve a fear of blaring horns. The hotel is in the city centre; helpfully, there’s a carpark on-site (€50 a night).
Worth getting out of bed for
Palazzo Parigi – in the arty, historic Brera quarter – is perfectly placed for enjoying Milan, with the Golden Triangle shopping district, the Duomo and the stylish cafés and shops of the Corso Como all within a short walk. In Brera itself, don’t miss the Pinacoteca di Brera’s impressive exhibition schedule.
For sublime seafood, try Assunta Madre on Via Vittor Pisani, which has an amazing array of that day’s catch on display; and for authentic Italian food, head to Osteria Stendhal or Solferino.
N’Ombra de Vin on Via San Marco takes Goethe’s ‘Life is too short to drink bad wine’ motto as its starting point and, since its previous patrons include Napoleon’s army and Mozart – as well as some 5th-century friars – we think the fabled cellars’ selection can be trusted. The helpfully named Ceresio 7 (at 7 Via Ceresio) is where to head for sundowners with a swim.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this luxury hotel in Italy and unpacked their Gucci and Prada shopping bags, a full account of their city break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Palazzo Parigi in Milan…
Poor old Milan; it doesn’t have the pinch-me landscape of Venice, the alfresco-museum feel of Rome or the artistic authority of Florence. Often overlooked as the great Grand Tour cities’ industrial northern sister, Milan is fighting back, with an indefatigable fashion scene, stylish concept stores – and a cathedral with a roof you can walk on. If that wasn’t enough, there’s Palazzo Parigi: a marble-filled masterpiece of a hotel, with all the artworks, chandeliers and sweeping staircases necessary to afford grande-dame status. Every room comes with a balcony, some of which offer the best views in the city. The hotel lies in the bohemian Brera district, a short walk from the Via della Spiga and all its glossy boutiques. Along with a fine-dining restaurant, there’s Caffè Parigi, hewn from eight different types of wood into a very glossy affair. At every turn, there’s parquet flooring, marble columns and Murano-glass chandeliers. We think it’s time to re-route that Grand Tour.