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.
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.
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.
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.