Recently we were excited by the news that the first Mandarin Oriental hotel opened in Italy. Located in the center of Milan, the Italian fashion capital, it promises a mix of Italian flair and tradition with Asian hospitality. Keen on experiencing that combination we drove to Italy and stayed at the Mandarin Oriental Milan for four days.
The new Mandarin Oriental features 104 guestrooms of which 32 are suites. Blessed with one of the best locations in Milan with the famous Duomo, Teatro alla Scala and via Montenapoleone with it’s countless boutiques all in walking distance. It took no less than 8 years to complete the hotel construction within four 18th century buildings.
The hotel is designed by Antonio Citterio, an architect from Milan. Due to the history of the buildings all of the guestrooms have a different layout but still feature the same style, with exception of some of the suites that are finished according to specific themes. Make sure to ask the hotel for these suites if you are looking for something really special.
Throughout the property Antonio Citterio used colors to emphasize the functions of the area – a reference to manor houses in Milan in previous centuries. The architect used a lot of Italian marble in his designs, especially the black and white mosaic in the bar is a work of art. The rooms also feature a lot of marble and classic warm materials.
We stayed in room 112, one of the larger rooms on the first floor. The rooms on the first and second floor feature exceptionally high ceilings as they used to be the floors where the noble men and women that lived in the houses had their quarters. The rooms on the 4th and 5th floor have lower ceilings but feature floor to ceiling windows and some have exceptional views of Milan and the Duomo.
Our room was very well equipped with a large marble bathroom with separate bath tub and rain shower. The bed is very comfortable and arched by a curved head rest. Worth mentioning are the night stands that come equipped with a hidden power- and USB socket and controls to switch on and dim the lights and even control the do not disturb sign. This night stand designed by the lead architect is by far the best execution of night stand and convenience controls I have seen in all those hotels I have travelled to in recent years.
Now that I mention electronics, all rooms have large LCD TVs complete with hundreds of TV channels and AirPlay connectivity as standard. Our room also had a sofa with a working desk, mini bar with Nespresso machine and plenty of storage space. Altogether an exceptionally comfortable room with all that I need available.
The Presidental Suite is located at the 2nd floor and features a large living room, bedroom with walk-in closet and large bathroom with a family-sized bathtub. It is the only room in the hotel that features marble from outside italy as the architect envisioned light blue for this room and that color marble can only be found in Brasil. The presidential suite can be connected with the suite next door in order to add a second bedroom and bathroom.
The hotel also features a full spa, pool and gym in the basement. The spa is finished with dark Italian stones and the design is built upon the Chinese Feng Shui principle including Fire, Earth, Wood, Metal and Water. There are several treatment rooms including one VIP treatment room with its own jacuzzi and sauna. The cozy atmosphere invites to relax and enjoy a swim in the pool. The spa staff seemed always ready to assist in every possible way; from serving tea at the pool to massages. In the mens and womens dressing rooms you also find a steam room and sauna.
In addition to the Spa the hotel features valet parking and several meeting rooms for meetings and events.
Restaurants & Bar
Milan is a city of courtyards, unlike many other cities in Europe there is a vibrant life in the courtyards of the historic buildings in Milan and the Mandarin Oriental is no exception. Our visit being in February the weather wasn’t that great but it was easy to see the attractiveness the two courtyards of the Mandarin will have in Summer. One is dedicated to the Seta (Italian for Silk) Restaurant and allows for views into the kitchen of Michelin starred chef Antonio Guida. The other courtyard belongs to the Mandarin bar.
Having opened only a few months ago the Mandarin bar has already built quite a reputation for it’s aperitivo, the typical after work drink best enjoyed with some small appetisers. The bar is open all day long and is also a great place to enjoy a casual lunch or dinner. The menu features everything from typical hotel classics to typical Italian cuisine.
Seta is the fine dining restaurant of the Mandarin Oriental and was recently awarded with the first Michelin star. The chef Antonio Guida combines ingredients and dishes from his birth region of Puglia with Tuscan and French influences. The indoor areas of the restaurant have a very cozy and residential feel – instead of one large room there are many separate corners that serve as the ideal place for a romantic dinner.
The hotel has a very extensive in-room dining menu as well which features typical hotel classics but also more gourmet Italian and Asian dishes. We had in-room dining twice and both times it was excellent and brought to the room as quick as humanly possible and definitely a lot faster than in most other luxury hotels.
I can be very short about the service; from the moment we pulled up with the car until the moment we left the service has been outstanding. In comparison to many other European luxury hotels the Mandarin has a lot of staff so there is always someone ready to help or to serve. Sadly I got sick during my stay and had to see a doctor but it couldn’t have happened at a better place, I also enjoyed it that the chef called to ask how I want my chicken soup with sticky rice.
The Mandarin Oriental is not just a great addition to the Milan hotel scene but to that of Italy as a whole. It is blessed with the perfect location just a short stroll away from all the sights and shops that Milan has to offer. The rooms are top notch and so is the service. It will be hard to find a hotel in Europe that offers a better mix of quality, atmosphere and service.