Milan, Italy

Straf Hotel & Bar

Rates from (ex tax)$258.75

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 21 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (EUR242.10), via, using today’s exchange rate.


Set in concrete


Duomo on your doorstep

An unassuming exterior hides the edgy, yet elegant interior of Straf Hotel & Bar, a style-savvy boutique in Milan that is filled with art. Design by Vincenzo de Cotiis is both minimal and tied to fashion, with bare-concrete walls and rich chocolate lounge chairs in the lobby.

Smith Extra

Get this when you book through us:

A free drink of your choice at Straf Bar, and a platter of seasonal fruit


Photos Straf Hotel & Bar facilities

Need to know


64, including three suites


12 noon, but flexible, subject to availability and a charge (half the daily room rate between 2pm and 5pm; a full day’s rate after 5pm). Earliest check-in, 2pm.


Double rooms from $258.75 (€220), excluding 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.

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 21 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (EUR220.09), via, using today’s exchange rate.

More details

Rates usually include Continental breakfast.

At the hotel

Fitness room and free WiFi throughout. In-rooms: flatscreen TV, minibar.

Our favourite rooms

Book a Wellbeing Room (we heart 504) for its bold burnished brass bathroom, minimal monochrome decor, glittering glass surfaces and, above all, electronic massage chair. These rooms also have an aromatherapy and chromotherapy corner (a suite of mood-improving gadgets which, when activated, change the lighting colour, and emit puffs of scented air). Suite 604 has a moody black stone bathroom; 605’s is dazzling white (both rooms have Duomo-facing balconies).

Packing tips

Pack your most fashionista outfits; huge, extra-dark sunglasses.


Cats and dogs are welcome for free; food and a toy are provided. Just let the hotel know when booking. See more pet-friendly hotels in Milan.


Welcome: extra beds are free for under-12s; €88 a night for teens.

Food and Drink

Photos Straf Hotel & Bar food and drink

Top Table

Sit in the corner booth by the glass wall for the most privacy. For easy access to the buffet at breakfast, sit at the other end, closest to the spread.

Dress Code

As directional as the decor: Jil Sander for the ladies, Alexander Wang for the gents.

Hotel restaurant

Breakfast and lunch are served in a neat little room, with glossy white table tops, square leather seats and textured colour-block canvases. The novel Euro-Asian fusion à la carte lunch menu has dishes such as Thai pasta or salmon with black rice. Dinner isn’t on offer, but a complimentary Milanese finger-food buffet is laid out at 6.30pm.

Hotel bar

Dark, compact and edgy Straf Bar is a magnet for the fashion set, drawn here by the retro good looks (aged leather sofa, acid-green lightshade mushrooming from the ceiling), potent cocktails and generous nibbles. Drinking sessions officially end at midnight, but it’s often open later.


Last orders

For dinner, 10.30pm. The bar closes at midnight but will stay open later for you if you ask.

Room service

It’s drinks-only by day: try one of the exotic teas (sweet pan yong golden needle, or kimono: green tea with rose petals and cherry) from 7am. In the evening, a selection of Italian staples can be ordered until 10.30pm.


Photos Straf Hotel & Bar location
Straf Hotel & Bar
3 Via San Raffaele


Milan has three airports: Linate (30 minutes from Bulgari Hotel), Milan Bergamo (45 minutes) and Malpensa (50 minutes). There are no trains from Linate, but the 73 bus will drop you at Piazza San Babila, just a 10-minute walk from the hotel. There are trains every half hour (until 11.10pm) from Malpensa to Piazzale Cadorna (10 minutes away by taxi). From Linate, your only option is the Terravision express coach, which will take you to Milano Centrale station in 60 minutes (around 10 minutes from the hotel).


The hotel is a 10-minute taxi journey from Milano Centrale station, where you can get local and regional trains to the rest of Italy and elsewhere in Europe. Be warned, express trains cost more than the regional equivalents which make more stops; see Trenitalia (www.trenitalia.icom) for details.


The hotel is right next to the Cathedral, so once in Milan, simply follow signs to the centre or ‘duomo’ to find it. You probably won’t need to drive within the city; plus, Milan is well-served by public transport, with both a metro and tram system. You may well want a car to visit Bergamo, one of the most beautiful cities in Northern Italy and just under an hour’s car drive away. Guests receive a discount at a nearby private garage.

Worth getting out of bed for

Visit Sforzesco Castle, a leisurely 15-minute stroll from the hotel; there’s a museum of ancient art on the ground floor of the Corte Ducale, a stash of antique furnishings, and a selection of musical instruments on the first and second floors of the rocchetta (little fort).

Local restaurants

Modern, elegant Cracco on Via Victor Hugo is where chef Carlo Cracco brings Milanese food into the 21st century – and has earned it two Michelin stars for his trouble (closed Sunday). Don Carlos on Via Manzoni is another Michelin-garlanded eatery serving up beautiful-looking dishes – shame about the price tag. Sparkling-white Chatulle on Via Piero della Francesca serves imaginative Italian cuisine in sophisticated surroundings. Locals are justly proud of Antica Trattoria della Pesa on Viale Pasubio. Go there to sample Milanese favourites – risotto, plate-sized breaded veal and osso bucco with gremolata. La Libera on Via Palermo is an unassuming little restaurant (it calls itself a beer cellar plus kitchen) with dark wood decor and accomplished comfort cooking. Try the mustardy veal kidneys or the excellent seafood. Claudio Sadler prepares seafood with a nouvelle approach at Sadler on Via Troilo. Giulio Pane e Ojo on Via Muratori, is a low-key option for good Roman cuisine. Nobu on Via Croce Rossa does Japanese-Peruvian fusion like its global siblings, in a corner of the Armani mini-mall.

Local cafés

Pasticceria Marchesi, on Via Santa Maria alla Porta, is renowned for its coffee and cake. Cova on Via Montenapoleone is famous for its rice pudding – stop here for post-shopping star-spotting. 


Local bars

At aperitivo time, the Porta Ticinese area gets packed out; a few hours here is a quintessential Milanese experience. Stay up late for Bar Basso and its potent cocktails at 39 Via Plinio. Executive Lounge (aka the Fiat Open Lounge) on Via di Tocqueville is a candlelit Indonesian-style  bar with cushions and low wooden tables, open until 2am. By the entrance to Parco Sempione on Via Luigi Camoens, Just Cavalli Café is as flamboyant and sexy as one of designer Roberto Cavalli’s clinging mini-dresses, all oriental fabrics and antelope furs, open until 2am. 


Photos Straf Hotel & Bar reviews
Sarah Jappy

Anonymous review

The architect and artist behind Hotel Straf is meditating atop a mountain peak in a toga, chewing goji berries and ruminating on his future hotel’s interior design. He fingers his mala beads. ‘Coloured soft furnishings? Pah. Wallpaper? So last season. Carpet, schmarpet. Door knobs? Such bad energy.’ He turns to a gnomish devotee beside him, and intones: ‘My one indulgence shall be: the Wellday massage chair – more knot-kneading than a thousand masseuses, more relaxing than a thousand bubble baths. And – the people – they shall come.’ With that, he levitates.

Now, I can’t verify that Vincenzo de Cotiis actually designed Straf quite like that. But it’s how the minimalist and modern interiors should have been conceived. When Mr Smith and I arrive at the hotel’s secretive, beetle-black entrance, we trip over a smiley man in a hoodie and trainers, who opens the glass door for us. ‘Wow, what polite staff – even off-duty,’ we muse. Turns out he’s wearing the front-desk uniform. We’re in Milan, remember: a hoodie here is as smart as an amorphous garment can be.

Minutes later, our room-inspection routine is underway. Surroundings are surveyed. Soft furnishings: nil. Walls: concrete, putty-coloured. Floor: concrete, putty-coloured. Bed: low, topped with putty-coloured cover. A splodgy black artwork has an acid-yellow lozenge on it: the room’s sole non-putty hit. Soaps have batch numbers. The bathroom is a vision of oxidised brass. (I later discover that showering here is like bathing in a giant tin. And it’s surprisingly sexy.)

Such aesthetic severity does funny things to Mr Smith. I can hear mutterings from our metallic bathroom: ‘What? That’s the tissue dispenser?’ Locating the minibar is tantamount to seeking out the Holy Grail. We stand helplessly before a giant sliding glass door. ‘It must be hidden down a trap-door,’ we conclude. ‘A secret underground passageway that leads to the Duomo perhaps?’ suggests a getting-carried-away Mr Smith (our hotel is steps from the sacred stone behemoth). Thirty minutes later, we reach an anticlimactic conclusion: the glass panel is stuck. With an almighty shove, Mr Smith uncovers a little fridge, stocked with wine and nibbles.

Snacks demolished, and massage chair tested (I’m saving up for one; they’re only $2,795), we venture out. I wasn’t sure I’d like Milan. I’d heard it was industrial, unsightly, even hostile in parts, and I’d read somewhere that if you aren’t wearing Gucci, waiters actually cannot see you. Yet coming here proves like falling in love with a friend’s ex-boyfriend: they’ve warned you against him, but all you can see is his sexy side.

Strolling around, we unwrap Milan bit by bit. Cherry trees in blowsy blossom billow by the cathedral. Friendly and funny waiters feed us delicious pasta. The fashion capital is of course full of shops (and retail is my religion). The sun shines. Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II glitters with fripperies, and there are people wearing dandified uniforms. There’s a moment of panic when I realise I’m sans sunglasses (this is akin to going without trousers in Britain). I purchase some. Disaster averted.

We shoot up to the top of the Duomo in a lift. The roof is slanted like a giant Toblerone. A billion feet (roughly) above ground, I make an inconvenient discovery: I suffer from vertigo. We come down again, sharpish. We wander inside the Gothic cathedral and watch a service. A lady sings like an angel, and a shockingly embarrassing thing happens: whenever her voice soars into the silence, rivers of tears run down my face. Worried I might start speaking in tongues, and unable to fight the spiritual tremors, I quickly drag Mr Smith into the secular security of outdoors.

Religious highs give way to fleamarket thrills. At Fiera di Senigallia, in the canal district, hipsters mingle and vintage Prada luggage costs €100. We pretend to be Italian. We are in love. We are also at our most glamorous. For my funeral I want pictures of us in Milan emblazoned across my coffin. I shall pretend this is how I always looked: clad in black cape and skinny jeans, black pumps, Chanel bag, giant sunglasses, and a bouffant up-do that is admired (bizarrely) by an Italian stallholder. (Him, pointing at my head: ‘Thees ees from your miiind?’ Me: ‘Sorry? What?’ Him: ‘Youu cam up with thees look from your miiind?’ Me: ‘Er. Yes.’ Him: ‘I liiiiike. Iz niice!’ Me: ‘Thanks. Goodbye.’)

After obliterating our earnings, it’s time for an utterly futile mission. A minibreak wouldn’t be complete without one fruitless pilgrimage. We trundle around: footsore, thirsty, seeking a phantom restaurant. An hour later, we arrive. It’s closed. We perk up with espressos at Pasticceria Marchesi, followed by Campari and olives at Resentin. Because we’re hungry, we linger. Since landing in Milan, I’ve been dreaming about risotto Milanese. We order big bowls, and tuck in. The saffron lends a flavour I can only describe as mediaeval – try it, you’ll understand.

It’s testament to Straf’s greatness that, amid Milan’s many distractions, we miss our neat-as-a-bento-box boudoir. We hop on an apricot-yellow tram, and 10 minutes later, I’m back in that massage chair, being rubbed robotically, and listening to opera on the TV’s inbuilt stereo. I’m so happy, I start bawling like a baby. (Again.) Mr Smith has no choice but to order a bottle of prosecco.

Our stay in Milan has had the emotional range of a Shakespearean drama: tears, laughter, lust (luggage-induced) and love. I’ve felt my knees wobble with fear, and I’ve cried buckets. It rained. Twice. Despite this, here at Straf Hotel, Mr Smith and I have had a blast. Vincenzo de Cotiis – grazie mille.

The Guestbook

Whenever you book a stay at a Smith Hotel with us, we’ll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in Straf Hotel & Bar’s Guestbook below.

We loved

Boutique hotel feel. Kooky decor. Take time to walk/tram/metro to the canal area. Good cafes and restaurants.

Don’t expect

A headboard...!


Stayed on 9 Jul 2017

We loved

Great location, really cool décor and furnishings. The Straf bar is great for cocktails and for mingling with the locals. The Asperol roof top bar is worth a visit. 


Stayed on 23 Jun 2017

We loved

Position right by the Duomo and within easy walking distance of La Scala. Lunch at Peck is gorgeous.


Stayed on 24 Oct 2016

We loved

Location and staff were helpful and friendly. Bar and tapas hour excellent.

Don’t expect

Luxury...concrete walls and floors with minimal soft furnishing. Quite dark and industrial. I found the breakfast room claustrophobic.


Stayed on 8 Aug 2016

We loved

The location. The staff were great. The massage chair was amazing! Go to the Aperol Spritz Bar – yes, it's touristy, but great view of the square.

Don’t expect

For the bar to be open late – it closes quite early.


Stayed on 26 Jul 2016

We loved

Location was fantastic, the room was quiet (4th floor at the back) breakfast was simple but nice. The bar downstairs served a great happy hour - apertivo.

Don’t expect

Terrible Wifi


Stayed on 29 May 2016

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