Sophisticated Milan is not only the fashion capital of Italy but also a fascinating mosaic of vibrant districts. Go beyond the Duomo and high-end shopping – both admittedly outstanding – and discover what makes this innovative city stand out. Stroll along the old waterways of Arty Navigli, past cafes and bars line the route that 18th-century boats once sailed. There’s more art in store on Brera’s cobbled cultural streets, where you can tour La Scala with the Old Masters at Pinacoteca di Brera.
Shoppers can get lost in the streets of Milan’s Quadrilatero d’Oro, the golden rectangle of cobbled streets – Via Monte Napoleone, Via Sant’Andrea, Via Manzoni and Via della Spiga – near the Duomo, where haute couture rules. While Milan has plenty of five-star luxury palaces to match its glittering fashion boutiques, there’s also a wide range of hotels to suit every budget.
The best hotels in Milan are:
Neighborhood: Central Station
NYX Milan is like an art gallery like a hotel – a place that wittily celebrates street art created by Milanese artists. Constructions are scattered around the common areas and walls – along with video games – but do not overwhelm the small rooms. You’ll have three terraces from which to see the rooftops of Milan, and the colorful Clash bar has a playful atmosphere.
Price: Doubles from €153 (£131)
Overlooking the Navigli Grande Canal, this warm 4-star boutique hotel offers views of the canals, as well as a large courtyard and attractive lounge. Rooms are upgraded again but have exposed beams and parquet floors, and you should upgrade to one of the canal rooms. The hotel’s Bugundè restaurant serves a fusion of Piedmontese and Italian cuisine within its brick walls.
Price: Doubles from €199 (£170)
Neighborhood: Porta Ticinese
Yard Milano, a quirky boutique hotel with vintage and vintage furnishings, fits perfectly into the bohemian atmosphere of the Navigli area. The golden age of both travel and sport is evoked in the rooms and common areas, with old leather pants and sports equipment strewn around artfully. There’s a decadent atmosphere about the Doping Club cocktail bar, and there’s also great food in the Gipsy restaurant and Dirty Gym pizzeria.
Price: Doubles from €217 (£185)
Centrally located but tucked away in a quiet side street, Ostello Bello is a lively hostel that resembles a laid-back version of a flea market. Inside its communal areas, all feature deliberately mismatched vintage furnishings and creative artwork, along with a cute little garden where you can relax in a hammock . Treat yourself to complimentary food in the shared kitchen and enjoy complimentary breakfast and evening snacks.
Price: Dorm beds from €38 (£32)
Neighborhood: Porta Garibaldi
This 4-room bed and breakfast is housed in a 19th-century townhouse conveniently located near Porta Garibaldi train station. It’s a warm, welcoming place, with a wonderfully eclectic design approach in a mix of mid-20th-century decor complemented by classical and Indian touches. Two of the rooms with kitchenettes and direct garden access are actually quite lovely, open to all visitors.
Price: Doubles from €105 (£90)
Neighborhood: Quadrilatero d’Oro
All the shops can be found within an amazing distance at Hotel Manzoni, housed in an elegant 19th-century townhouse. Its traditional rooms are a study in polished wood and honey marble, and if you relax in an apartment, you can enjoy views of Milan from your terrace. The sophisticated vibe extends to the grand piano at the Caminetto Bar and the Don Rodrigo restaurant, where Piedmont cuisine is served with flair.
Price: Doubles from €280 (£240)
Neighborhood: Republic Square
One of Milan’s sexiest bars is the Radio Rooftop Bar at ME Milan Il Duca, so you might as well indulge in it. The modern rooms have typical Milanese flair – a delightful minimalism that retains warmth. The restaurant, STK Milan, draws influences from New York steakhouses, so offers an appetite.
Price: Doubles from €371 (£317)
Neighborhood: Porta Volta
At Hotel Viu, you can cool off in Milan’s first rooftop swimming pool, which, logically, remains open during the all-important aperitif. Inside, the interior is as sleek and design-conscious as you’d expect in Milan, with neutral tones and Molteni & C furnishings. Food is served by Michelin-starred chef Giancarlo Morelli and his creative seasonal menu.
Price: Doubles from €258 (£220)
Perched on the western edge of Navigli, Nhow Milano is typical of the disused industrial buildings in the area that have been newly leased. Color is everywhere in this former powerhouse, from the original installations that change every six months to bright, modern rooms filled with attractive minimalist furnishings. . When the lively terrace isn’t in use for the Milan Design Week events, you can relax on the awesome chairs overhead. There is a hotel restaurant and bar, all decorated in a fun, colorful way.
Price: Doubles from €153 (£130)