“This palazzo hotel in Milan’s fashion district charmed me from check-in”

Recently refurbished, Hotel Senato is a chic confluence of prime location, elegant decor, pillow menus, excellent caffé – and winning staff

The hotel lobby features stylish black and white marble flooring and bronze and brass furnishings
The hotel lobby features stylish black and white marble flooring and bronze and brass furnishings

When visiting large cities, I’m not one for boutique hotels; I typically prefer an old-school grand dame, complete with voluminous curtains, sumptuous beds and endless amenities that are just a call away. I was recently won over, however, by Milan’s undeniably chic 43-room Senato Hotel.

There’s an elegant minimalist water feature in the hotel’s courtyard
There’s an elegant minimalist water feature in the hotel’s courtyard
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Set in a white neoclassical palazzo on Via Senato (which forms one side of the city’s fashion district, Quadrilatero della Moda), the hotel charms from check-in. A sleek black counter takes the place of a traditional registration desk and it’s offset by a stunning wall of bronze gingko biloba leaves courtesy of local maker Bottega Gadda. The concierge informed me that these are symbols of renewed creative energy and are a recurring motif throughout the hotel, such as on the bedside sconces. Local architect Alessandro Bianchi oversaw the recent renovation, one that includes plenty of contrasting black and white marble and bronze and brass furnishings that work beautifully with plants by local floral designer Rosalba Piccinni. It’s a stylish welcome and, as I saw very few other guests, I felt as though I were staying in my own old-world Lombard manse.

Guests are seated in bijou booths in Senato Caffé, which serves a menu that includes fine cheeses from Lake Maggiore and bresaola cured in Valtellina
Guests are seated in bijou booths in Senato Caffé, which serves a menu that includes fine cheeses from Lake Maggiore and bresaola cured in Valtellina
An enormous gilded door, which once served as the house entrance, forms the backdrop to the patio where lunch is served
An enormous gilded door, which once served as the house entrance, forms the backdrop to the patio where lunch is served

I was shown to a room with views of the courtyard and minimalist water feature below, which added to the serene atmosphere. My room was uncluttered – all white walls, crisp linens and oak herringbone floors, with simple accents such as pared-down brass lighting fixtures by Bottega Gadda.

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The team behind Senato has thought of everything, from pillow menus featuring ergonomic, orthopaedic and natural feather options to mega-soundproofing of the windows that completely blocks out any surrounding street noise. One element that the owners clearly put a lot of thought into is the charming design-led Senato Caffé. A lunch outside on the patio, overlooking an enormous gilded door that once served as the house entrance, was a trip highlight. The menu, conceived by food curator Maddalena Fossati Dondero, editor-in-chief of La Cucina Italiana, has standout ingredients including fine cheeses from Lake Maggiore, sea salts from Cervia and bresaola cured in Valtellina.

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