Something fabulous this way comes; this time in Italy’s fashion capital where Portrait Milano, the latest in the Ferragamo family, is getting ready to welcome the city’s best dressed movers and shakers. Architect Michele Bönan has been busy restoring the storied bones of this former Archiepiscopal Seminary (itself largely unknown to locals until now) and while interiors are set to be unmistakably contemporary, there’s no shortage of Renaissance flourishes – historic colonnades, baroque stone walkways, an imposing, squared courtyard and a swimming pool with ancient columns rising from its depths. The restaurant and spa menus are a closely guarded secret, for now, but if the hotel’s neighbours are anything to go by (a checklist of Italian greats – think Gucci, Prada, Versace…) you can bet they’ve got their jewel-dripped fingers firmly on the pulse.
Get this when you book through us:
A bottle of wine and Salvatore Ferragamo bath products
Noon, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 2pm.
Double rooms from £673.11 (€783), 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 but a buffet-style start to the day is available for €50 a head, plus VAT.
Built by Lombard Baroque in 1565, the building is among the oldest seminaries in Europe. Over its lifetime, it has also housed a library, printing shop, school, and more recently – from 1980 to 1990 – a studio for the master of Italian modernism, Mario Bellini.
The spa and pool will not be available until spring 2023.
At the hotel
Spa, gym, pool, bar, restaurant, free WiFi throughout. In rooms: Bathrobes and slippers, free movies, minibar, Ferragamo bath amenities.
Our favourite rooms
Claim your own slice of untempered dolce vita with the fairy-tale views of the Studio Deluxe Garden View. For something a little more opulent, the no-expense-spared Suites have floor-to-ceiling marble bathrooms, huge walk-in wardrobes and a spacious living area splayed with lifestyle books – some have their own private terrace, too.
Prepare for a Rinascimento throwback with ancient columns rising from the heated waters – coming spring 2023.
Why, of course – the hotel’s wellness centre (opening in spring 2023) which will include two intimate treatment rooms and fully-equipped gym is designed to provide guests with a tranquil escape from the flurry of urban life. We’ve heard their massage menu is just as thorough as their design, covering everything from backs, necks, hands and feet, as well as the signature full body.
Pack only your coolest ‘fits – not too many, though; you’ll want to leave plenty of room in your case for a few Italian investments.
Unfortunately, the hotel is not accessible for those with mobility issues.
All ages welcome. Babysitting is available with advanced notice, subject to an additional charge.
Modest but noble. There’s no single-use plastics used in the bar or restaurant, and what plastic amenities there are in rooms are recycled. Across the building, there’s LED bulbs and light sensors as well as water saving devices on taps and showers. The hotel also partners with voluntary organisations to minimise food waste and help those in need.
The hotel is perfectly poised for all manner of urban affairs, straddling the bustling Corso Venezia and the high-brow fashion district of Via Sant’Andrea.
Most major airlines fly to Linate Airport, a twenty minute drive from the hotel. Alternatively, Malpensa and Bergamo Orio al Serio are each around a 50-minute drive away. Transfers can be arranged from €150 to €435 depending on distance and vehicle.
Milano Centrale is 2km away; the hotel can arrange transfers starting from €120 for three people.
You’re unlikely to need a car in Milan’s urban sprawl, though if you’re planning on venturing out to the Lombardy countryside, parking is available underneath the hotel for €65 a day. Opt for petite Vespas over heftier vehicles though – there’s a height limitation.
Worth getting out of bed for
You’ll be greeted in the morning by the most stylish of neighbours – Gucci, Prada, Versace, Dolce & Gabbana and Bottega Veneta, to name a few. But, while the hotel is perfectly poised for shopping, there’s a whole lot more to the city than glam garms and showrooms. Contemporary art lovers are spoiled for choice with a selection of diverse offerings, from the uber-chic to offbeat. Start in the city’s industrial periphery where the formidable Hangar Bicocca, a former train factory turned gallery, houses a number of large-scale installations, including a permanent exhibition by Anslem Keifer. Next, head to Santa Maria Annunciata in the Chiesa Rossa neighbourhood where Dan Flavin has transformed the church’s interiors with a procession of green, blue, pink, golden and ultraviolet neon lights. Finally, get lost in Fondazione Prada, a remarkably cool complex of Rem Koolhaus gallery spaces including, but not limited to a haunted house clad in 24-carat gold leaf, a cinema camouflaged by mirrors and a Wes Anderson-themed cafe. And don’t forget Design Week each April, when the city turns into a sculptural playground showcasing the work of both established and up-and-coming makers. But don’t stress if your tastes are more Crivelli than Castellani, Castello Sforzesco is home to an all-star collection of Michelangelo, da Vinci, Titian and Tintoretto, Milan’s gothic Duomo is a meta-verse of masterpieces with a sculptural anatomy lesson courtesy of Marco d’Agrate and the apex of Christian painting, Leonardo’s Last Supper, can still be found in its original spot within the Dominican convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie. By night, head to Navigli to join the city’s cool kids as they congregate canalside and sip negronis into the small hours.
There’s something very ethereal about IYO, Milan’s first Michelin star Japanese joint, and it’s not just the food – exposed brick, raindrop chandeliers, swirling marble floors and mood lighting conspire with Giampiero Brotzu’s menu of delicate sashimi and sculptural tartare dishes to make a dining experience that hits on all five senses. For similarly haute cuisine, reserve a spot at Constraste – a narrative journey told in whimsical acts of amberjack fish mosaics and Piedmontese bagna càuda.
Vintage chairs, syrupy espressi, counters full of tarts, and pastries so pretty you’ll want to mount them on the wall; welcome to Pavé, a one-stop-shop for all things sweet and caffeinated.
Make Nottingham Forest your first stop – if not for the eccentric, bric-a-brac interiors, then for the inventive takes on classic cocktails; opt for a dry Mondrian martini with molecules of absinthe, Campari, saffron and Pimm's in a classic martini cocktail made with vodka or gin or satisfy your sweet tooth with a BonBon made with mango, licis and eastern fruit liquor accompanied by a small assortment of candies. For more traditional tipples head to N’Ombra de Vin, a former refectory of the Friars of the Agostine order turned wine cellar with more than 2,500 bottles of expertly curated grapes.
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 fashion-forward break in Italy’s most stylish city and unpacked their Ferragamo goodies and floral Gucci garms, a full account of their TKTK break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Portrait Milano in Milan…
A hidden gem in the fabric of this cosmopolitan city – Ferragamo’s newest addition, Portrait Milano, occupies storied terrain set back behind a Baroque stone gate first built by Lombard Baroque in 1565. So hidden, infact, that many locals have never set foot inside, but all that is about to change. In the hands of architect Michele Bönan – a master of Italian craftsmanship – this exclusive address will connect vibey Corso Venezia to the fashion district of Via Sant’Andrea, offering guests (and residents, with restaurants and shopping arcades) the opportunity to rediscover a forgotten piece of Renaissance history for the first time in decades. Spread around the interior piazza, double loggia colonnades house 73 rooms, each meticulously styled in understated Ferragamo chic (and that’s not to say boring – splashes of colour, luxe wood, marble and velvet give them a whiff of that great Italian excess). There’ll be a Mediterranean restaurant on site, with tables lining the portici, a secret garden, neo-classical style swimming pool and intimate wellness area, too, but, like all great portraits, the full extent of its beauty will remain closely guarded until the moment of its unveiling…