Mi­lanese Makeover

An in­no­va­tive team has trans­formed a his­toric palazzo into a show­case of mod­ern Ital­ian de­sign. Jacqueline Kot checks in at the Man­darin Oriental, Milan

Hong Kong Tatler - - Life -

North­ern italy is home to the lat­est ho­tel with roots in the East. A black stair­case sweeps down from the lux­u­ri­ous, softly hued suite, land­ing in a strik­ing bath­room of black-and-white mar­ble, its stand-alone tub, glass-fronted rain­for­est shower and twin hand­basins swim­ming in an acre of space. This is Milan!

Where else but in the his­toric cen­tre of Ital­ian fash­ion and de­sign could one make such an el­e­gant en­trance to a bath­room? Wel­come to the lat­est ad­di­tion to the Man­darin Oriental fam­ily, a daz­zling makeover of 18th-cen­tury premises that be­gan life as Palazzo Con­falonieri and once head­quar­tered a provin­cial bank.

You can bank on the Man­darin Oriental brand. It has de­liv­ered all the op­u­lent touches it’s known for in this swanky Ital­ian job. Bang

in the mid­dle of the fash­ion­able Quadri­latero dis­trict, it’s sur­rounded by the city’s lux­ury bou­tiques and fash­ion houses, and is just a short walk from its fa­mous opera house, La Scala, and the Duomo.

In its reimag­in­ing of the palazzo, An­to­nio Cit­te­rio Pa­tri­cia Viel Interiors has taken in­spi­ra­tion from 1940s Mi­lanese decor to cre­ate a thor­oughly mod­ern at­mos­phere that pays homage to the city’s de­sign pedi­gree—with a touch of the East. Think pas­tel-coloured walls, oak wood fit­tings, comfy Ital­ian fur­ni­ture, leafy court­yards and ter­races, dis­plays of calla lilies and orchids, and un­der­stated lux­ury. The 104 rooms and suites look onto the court­yards, or across his­toric streets and rooftops.

The ho­tel’s main en­trance, which is via a discreet side lane, opens into a lovely lobby of warm pas­tel shades and a wel­com­ing open fire­place. The adjacent Man­darin Bar steps the re­laxed am­bi­ence up a notch with walls and floors clothed in vi­brant mo­saics of black-and-white mar­ble, off­set by a picturesque court­yard and se­cluded lounge area. It’s a hive of ac­tiv­ity day and night, start­ing with break­fast. Forget the big buf­fets of other ho­tels; the Man­darin Oriental’s is a ser­vice-ori­ented af­fair, with the choice of a char­cu­terie plat­ter or dim sum to aug­ment the fruit and pas­tries from the con­ti­nen­tal canon.

Come the evening aper­i­tivo hour, the bar, which can be en­tered di­rectly from the ex­clu­sive shop­ping mecca of Via Monte di Pi­età, is the place to be. While its decor shares sim­i­lar­i­ties with its Hong Kong sis­ter, MO Bar, the cock­tails have a de­cid­edly Mi­lanese twist. Try the Coppa Meneghina, a


unique twist on the clas­sic Cam­pari spritz, which com­bines vanilla liqueur, red fruits, ap­ple, cu­cum­ber, mint and the refreshing cit­rus soda Ce­drata Tas­soni with Cam­pari, the iconic herb-in­fused liqueur in­vented in 1860 just west of Milan.

Award-win­ning Puglia-raised chef An­to­nio Guida, whose for­mer restau­rant won two Miche­lin stars un­der his tute­lage, is the mae­stro of the Man­darin Oriental’s kitchens. For the bar, he over­sees a va­ri­ety of de­li­cious light meals and snacks served through­out the day, and an à la carte menu for lunch and din­ner. For the ho­tel’s fine-din­ing restau­rant, Seta—where din­ers can sit al fresco at white-cov­ered ta­bles be­tween pot­ted trees in an­other charm­ing court­yard—he com­bines the cook­ing styles and flavours of Puglia and Tus­cany with a dash of France.

The new Milan es­tab­lish­ment in­cludes a branch of The Spa at Man­darin Oriental Ho­tel, a sump­tu­ous re­treat de­signed with the prin­ci­ples of feng shui in mind. Lo­cally sourced in­gre­di­ents such as honey, olive oil and rose oil are in­cor­po­rated into its re­lax­ing, East­ern-in­flu­enced ther­a­pies—all the bet­ter to get you recharged and back out onto Via Mon­te­napoleone for more shop­ping.

lap of lux­ury Clock­wise from left: The im­pres­sive Pres­i­den­tial Suite; the dra­matic black-and-white decor of the Man­darin Bar’s bistro area; the el­e­gant court­yard area at fine-din­ing restau­rant Seta

The Man­darin Ter­race Suite has a long bal­cony that looks down onto the court­yard and across the tiled rooftops of down­town Milan

el­e­gant sur­rounds From left: The mar­ble-clad bath­room in the Pres­i­den­tial Suite; one of the ho­tel’s Deluxe rooms

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