Seeing Milan in Style
For years, I’ve envisioned Milan with celebrities attending exclusive designer fashion shows, models posing in glamorous locations, and stylish residents dining in exclusive restaurants. The allure of Milan style has intrigued me and I’ve long wanted to visit. But until last month, Milan was still on my must-see list.
Before heading to the Emilia-Romagna and Puglia regions of Italy for blog projects, I had my chance to visit this cosmopolitan city, one of the fashion world’s capitals and the second largest city in Italy, known for history, culture, architecture and style. In person, I now got a glimpse of Milan style. The model in the wedding dress (shown above) caught our attention at the Piazza del Duomo. We also saw well-dressed Milanese of all ages appearing poised, ready for the limelight, but not ostentatious. Business people confidently rode bicycles and motorbikes through the streets wearing sharp suits and accessories.
Although I wasn’t mingling with the rich and famous during Fashion Week or sipping Prosecco at a villa at nearby Lake Como, I got a wonderful sampling of Milan style during my stay at the Four Seasons Hotel Milano.
Staying in Style
The Four Seasons Hotel Milano exuded luxury and style matching my expectations. The hotel is a beautifully restored 15th century cloistered convent with 67 guest rooms and 51 suites. Portions of 18th century frescoes can still be seen in the lobby (center left in the photo below) and in some of the guest rooms.
Perhaps my favorite design feature of the hotel is the oval spiral marble staircase that goes from the lower level to the 5th floor.
We had arrived earlier than expected, but the hotel made every effort to accommodate us. While waiting for our room, we enjoyed perfectly-prepared and presented lattes in Il Foyer, the lobby lounge. We had a lovely conversation with our server, Roberto, who represented the Four Seasons well with his pride in the hotel, enthusiasm for his work, and friendly demeanor. His friendly, helpful personality was consistent with other staff we met.
The Four Seasons is located in the heart of Quadrilatero della Moda, the premier fashion district mainly bounded by Via Montenapoleone, Via Manzoni, Via della Spiga and Corso Venezia. Many of the top designer shops are at most just a few minutes walk from the hotel. The world famous Teatro alla Scalla (La Scala), Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, and Duomo di Milano (Milan Cathedral) are also in easy walking distance (about one half mile).
Mr. TWS and I window-shopped the designer showrooms such as Armani, Prada, Alberta Ferretti, Dolce & Gabbana, Versace, and Tincati (an exclusive men’s boutique directly across Via Gesù from the hotel). I admired the shopping bags embossed with famous brand names in the hands of passersby. But we were traveling very light on this trip, so I didn’t give in to the many purchase temptations.
So convenient to the city center, Duomo and Galleria, the Four Seasons’ location made it easy to see it all — in fact, multiple times! We went back late one evening to enjoy a stroll in the warm rain, see the sites without the crowds and capture some night photos, which we’ll be posting soon (along with much more about Milan).
Comfort and Style
Our deluxe room looked out onto to a peaceful view of the courtyard (shown below). The view of courtyard garden, with birds chirping and church bells ringing in the distance, was an oasis amid a bustling large city. All the excitement of the city, as well as its historic attractions and extensive shopping and dining options were right at hand, but the ambiance inside was serene and elegant.
After a day of walking miles around the city center, visiting the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II (the world’s oldest shopping mall), walking throughout the Duomo and on its rooftop, exploring the nearby upscale residential neighborhoods, having a spritz at Terraza Aperol, and much more, it was a pleasure to come back to the luxury of the hotel and the comfort of our room.
The two large windows opening onto the courtyard let in plenty of natural light and fresh air perfect for enjoying the fresh fruit and tasty chocolates that had been delivered to our room. The spacious room and furnishings were also conducive to getting some work done in this office away from home.
We twice enjoyed the full American Breakfast in La Veranda, a bright and unpretentious restaurant that looks out to the main courtyard. In keeping with the quality expected at a Four Seasons hotel, he buffet selections (pastries, meats, cheeses, fruit and more) and a wide selection of à la carte entrees including omelettes, pancakes, and Eggs Benedict were a great start to our days.
The fine touches
We admired the interesting and diverse art and decor, tastefully placed throughout the hotel and in keeping with Milan style.
Fresh flowers enhance the ambiance throughout the hotel, including these in Il Foyer.
With only two nights to get acquainted with the city, our stay at the Four Seasons Milan was short, but very enjoyable. Our tour of the city let me experience a good touch of Milan style leaving me with a craving to bask in the glow of Milan again. I’ve told Mr. TWS that the next time we’re in Milan, I’d like to dress in Versace or Ferretti, attend an opera at La Scala, take a day trip to Lake Como, and stay at the Four Seasons again — just for a bit longer.
Disclosure: Our accommodations in Milan were hosted by the Four Seasons Hotel Milano, but the opinions about our experience are totally our own — as always.
Great article, Cathy 🙂
Thanks for being a regular reader! Much appreciated.
I just had to read your post to see what the Four Seasons Milan is like. Beautiful! I also like that oval staircase. Now I want to stay there, do a little shopping and take a day trip to Lake Como, too.
My plan sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? Hope you get to experience the same.
Sounds like a plan Cathy. I visited Milan for less than a day and saw so much that I liked. I would definitely return, and probably will as Milan seems to be enroute from Australia.
Glad you enjoyed the city, too. Definitely worth another look.
I love Milan…it’s one of my favourite cities. We often pop into the hotel for a drink when we are there. It’s in a fabulous position. I can just imagine staying there and popping back with all the shopping bags from those fabulous nearby shops!! Back to reality!!
I’ve got the same shopping fantasy. It’s funny…. I’m not really much of a shopper at home, but I could easily get in the habit there — if the budget would allow it. 🙂
We love Milan as well and each visit it shows yet another side of its very complex self. We’ve stayed in historic charmers, usually those within walking distance of the train station. We visited the Four Seasons six years ago during one such stop and planned to have a drink at least there. When we saw that a “Bud” was $12 US we decided there were equally as interesting places to have that glass of wine and moved on to find them. 🙂 Glad you had the opportunity to experience the Four Seasons luxury during your Italian travels. A great report, Cathy.
I’ve got a feeling there’s lots more to learn about Milan on our next trip. I’ll come to you for some tips!
Fabulous! I would not have been able to resist the shopping temptation though…
It was probably for the best that we weren’t staying for a longer time — I would have given in at some point.
Looks like you had a blast and I’m very jealous of your stay at the Four Seasons! 🙂 But next time you come, please let me know. If I’m home, I’d love to hang out a bit with your and Mr TWS!
I would love to see you in Milan! Let’s hope our schedules are in sync next time.
Love that spiral staircase, Cathy.
I agree with you, next time you must attend the opera at La Scala and wear Versace or Feretti and stay at the Four Seasons. Assolutamente!
Every time I think about it, my plan just sounds better and better.
When you combine Milan and Four Seasons, great things are bound to happen. Beautiful hotel, definitely my kind of place!
Yes, I can’t say that I was surprised to find Milan and the Four Seasons to my liking. 🙂 Everything lived up to expectations.
It must have been quite hard not to give in to the temptation of purchasing some of those top brands. I love the spiral staircase.
So much temptation in that city. But I just used my imagination and enjoyed the window shopping.
My husband was in Milan with his job, I didn’t manage to be there yet. I definitely want to visit this city though!
One thing is for sure though: I love to stay in such luxurious places;) It looks like you had an amazing stay at the Four Seasons Hotel Milan and that it is a place I should take in consideration when I’ll book my trip there! Loved the photos and article – great as always!
Thanks! Let them know I sent you. 😉
What a great introduction to Milan. After sleeping in a tent for two weeks I can only imagine the level of luxury you experienced – but I do look forward to my own Four Seasons stay in Costa Rica come November. Sounds like quite a trip you had to Italy.
I’m sure the Four Seasons in Costa Rica will be awesome. You certainly deserve a little luxury after two weeks in a tent — although that kind of travel can be lots of fun, too.
What a fantastic introduction to Italy! Milan is very fashionable indeed and the Four Seasons is always stylish.
It was indeed a great way to start an amazing trip!
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Oh, Cathy, really?! Four Seasons OR Milan would have been fabulous enough. But Four Seasons IN Milan? Beyond!
I know… it’s almost sinful.
That looks like a hotel I wouldn’t mind staying in:-)
I’ve only been to Milan once and I was there during the only days of that summer that it was less than 20°C and raining regularly.
The weather conditions might have played their part, but Milan didn’t really steal my heart. Everything was so expensive and people seemed to be grumpy all of the time. But maybe they knew that I had brought them bad weather:)
Shame on you for bringing the bad weather! 🙂 Sorry you ran into some grumpy people there. That really can affect your opinion of a place.
The lattes upon arrival is a nice touch. The Four Seasons thinks of everything.
And we had such a lovely chat with the server. Made us feel very comfortable right from the start.
I’ve never met a Four Seasons I didn’t like but this one sounds delightful! I can see why you’d like to return and stay a little longer. I’ve never been to Milan but you make it sounds wonderful.
Haha — I haven’t either, I like that each of the Four Seasons hotels have their own special character, too.
The Four Seasons and a visit in Milan sounds like a notch up the ladder of luxury. Milan is still on my must see list and I’m glad it doesn’t disappoint. Love the courtyard and spiral staircase. I like your future plans and hope you get to return soon. I think my husband would be nervous letting me loose in Milan 🙂
There’s really a lot more we’d like to see of Milan. We just scratched the surface, but I do have more to come.
I went twice to Milan this year and both times it rained, looks like you had the same luck 😉
The four seasons looks wonderful, I would love to stay there.
I like Milan but I just cannot believe how expensive this city is.
The weather was actually nice and clear during the day. We really liked taking a walk in the rain that one night. Gives you a whole different perspective of a place.
Beautiful description, though I wouldn’t be too sure the bride is a model. Italian like to pose for their wedding pics in front of big sights.
Thanks, Mette! We did see several wedding couples having photos taken while we were in Italy, but this one wasn’t a real bride.
Looks like a lovely property in a great location! (even in the rain:-)