Armani Hotel Milano,
I'm going to apologise in advance, because this review is going to be extremely picture heavy - because all roads led to the Armani Hotel Milan Review on this trip. Ever since I was 15, I had a fascination for Armani - the brand, the clothes, the colognes (I don't even know where it stemmed from). That fascination only increased the older I got, and was multiplied when my family and I visited the Armani Ristorante in Dubai (located in the Armani Hotel in Dubai) a few years ago. And since I was going to Milan for the first time, I decided to book the Armani Hotel Milano to tick my 'Hotel Bucket list', so to speak.
Booking this stay involved trying to see the rates for this hotel in different periods. The cheapest stay was about $880 AUD per night ($670 USD) on booking.com for a Deluxe Double Room (their lowest), and I was already considering that. Then I thought to check out the Amex Fine Hotel and Resort (FHR) portal - and it showed essentially the same price - and right there and then I decided to book. The only was that the FHR portal was giving me issues booking, so I ended up calling the Platinum Concierge to book on my behalf - which turned out to be a blessing in disguise. When I called, the lady at AMEX essentially told me that there was a FHR deal available with the standard $100 credit, room upgrade, etc - this confused me a little since I could not see that online! As it turns out, The Armani Hotel Milano was planning to become a FHR partner in 2017, but officially when I booked the hotel in 2016, they were not - but the AMEX concierge had access to that deal early it seemed, and I went ahead and booked it on the spot- excited! The only issue with the FHR deal was the price per night jumped up to $1005 AUD per night ($770 USD) - but considering the next room up cost $1,020 per night (without Breakfast or extras!) - I went all in, even though it wasn't cheap. This is how Armani Hotel's officially describe the two rooms (both looked great either way):
Armani Deluxe Room: These guestrooms, up to 44 square meters in size, feature a vestibule entrance, exclusive bedroom furniture and a stone bathroom complemented by a luxurious range of Armani amenities.
Armani Première Room: Up to 50 square meters in size, these guestrooms feature exclusive bedroom furniture, a living space with a multi-use workstation, a private mini-bar and a marble bathroom complemented by a luxurious range of Armani amenities.
Having arrived into Milan at 11, I caught a cab to the Armani Hotel, excitement increasing with every minute - I had worked hard last year, it was time to splurge and enjoy myself a little! The Armani hotel itself is located on one of the main roads towards the Duomo (about a 10 mins walk away), so it's not exactly a quiet entrance, but the hotel itself doesn't shy away from announcing itself, with a gold facade and big bold lettering 'A' & 'H' on a stone/granite exterior, announcing itself to anyone who passes by. Although I was surprised at how subtle it was compared to the Dubai version (though for obvious reasons - that makes sense).
The entire premise is taken up by Armani, with the shops around the hotel on the ground floor (in the same building) selling Armani clothes, chocolates, cosmetics etc, and with a few restaurants like Nobu & Armani Caffe around the back. When my taxi pulled up in front of the enterance way, one of their porters was on the taxi instantly opening my door and helping with the suitcase. He asked me "If this was my first time here" to which I replied "Yep!". He explained that the ground floor was only the entrance and waiting area - and that the check in was on the seventh floor of the hotel. He showed me to the lift, and said he would bring my suitcase up soon. Professional and Friendly - a good start! The ground floor is mostly taken up by the Armani shops (separate entrance), so the lobby waiting area was quite small (and almost never used when I was there).
It was well intended, but a little dark. I made my way into the lift, and was instantly greeted by a great mirror selfie opportunity, thanks to the branding in the lift.
Upon exiting the lift on the 7th floor, I was directed to the left towards the reception. If you turn left, it goes towards the Armani Bamboo bar (more on that later). I walked up to a free staff member and was warmly greeted, and was promptly check-in, however she said that because I was early, I would need to wait at least 45 minutes for them to finish cleaning my room. Because of my FHR perks, I had been upgraded to a Premier Double Room (something I had actually made sure was confirmed in advance). She said I was welcome to wait in the reception lounge behind me, or come back whenever - I decided to walk walk around instead, but not before snapping a few pictures of the Reception waiting area - which was almost not really used by many whenever I walked past.
While I walked around, I came across this old church with a beautiful mural inside.
A little bit later (precisely 45 minutes later) I decided to head back to the reception area, and asked if my room was ready, to which she said it was and motioned one of her colleagues over so that he could show me to my room (an excellent touch if I say so). I'm not sure if he's what the Armani Hotel call's a 'Lifestyle Manager (LM)' or just someone who works at the concierge, because officially, each Guest (or room) is assigned a 'Lifestyle Manager' from my understanding - who can act as a personal assistant if you want, or just guide you with things while you're at your hotel (I never saw or heard from him again though). Either my, the 'LM' took me up and even gave me a brief history of the hotel, and how 'Mr Armani' (Giorgio Armani) wanted to create the perfect hotel in his hometown. I thought this was another great touch, because it really gave you a feel of hotel's concept and background. The coolest thing about this hotel however was the fact that the building was actually shaped to form the letter 'A' to represent the 'Armani' name (and even more so - when they bought this building, it was already in this shape)!
My room was located on level 6, so it wasn't too far to go. The lifts were different to the one's I came up in, so you can't go straight to the ground floor from your room's floor.
The Armani hotel gave a very manly feel - clean, cut, and sophisticated in every angle - though I can't say the seating in the lobby was too impressive. The color tones kept the same theme throughout the hotel as well - so if you like bright crazy colors - maybe this hotel is more up your alley - though as it turned out, this was more my style. The cool thing here was that there were no doors or door handles per-se, as the doors were built flush against the wall - and the key needed to be tapped on the digital lock which had the lights formed in the shape of the Duomo on it. Honestly if the LM hadn't been there - I would have struggled to find the door, even with the number marked on top of it. And with that - we were in my 'Premier Room'.
One thing I found out as soon as we stepped into my room, was the fact that I had a balcony! This was a huge surprise to me because it's not written on the booking websites, the booking.com website doesn't even show pictures of it! Definitely a huge perk of the Amex FHR upgrade. I'm pretty sure not every Premier room is going to get a balcony however, as the balconies are only on the outer edge of the building - and my room was overlooking Via Manzoni (the same side as the enterance). I was later told that only rooms on level 6 had balconies as well.
As soon as I stepped in I was in love with the room. When you walk into the room, you enter a circular 'receiving area' which features a section which can be closed off from the front door. The LM explained it that you can receive and talk to people or staff at the entrance without having them enter or see your room for privacy reasons - I thought the concept was good, but it did take quite a lot of space! I suppose the 'home away from home' concept was in play here, but for me it was unnecessary staying alone - but I can see it being good value for other people where staff can technically enter your room, but not be 'in the bedroom'. It only featured a curved table and a lamp however, it wasn't big enough for seats.
On the right hand side of the room is the walk in closet, where my suitcase was already waiting for me. Draped entirely in timber and veneer, it was a really cool addition to the room, and even more so - it had automatic lights which turned on when you opened the door, and turned off when you closed it.
I then turned my attention the the actual 'bedroom' part of the wall, which featured a Queen sized bed with two side tables, a Flatscreen tv in front, and two couches in either side in case you wanted to chat with people. Armani designed furniture filled the entire room.
I honestly thought it was a gorgeously designed room - as my pictures don't do it enough justice. Just walking in is a breath of fresh air compared to almost any hotel I've ever stayed at, if not all - there were find touches everywhere that brought the room together. Since this was a Premier Room - there was a desk in the corner as well (Armani designed, which you can find at Armani Casa) - which was useful since I did have to do some work during the trip. The table was beautifully designed, and reminiscence of an older time, with a modern touch. The chair not so much - it wasn't the most comfortable to be sitting at for working. It had a few tips on Milan, the Hotel guide, and some Armani brand info on it. It also had some welcome Strawberries on it which were incredibly Fresh.
The Lifestyle Manager gave me a quick tour of the room, the balcony and the bathroom. He explained all the features and where everything was kept in the bathroom, then he explained the most important part of the room - the iPad aka the brain. No seriously! Turns out, Armani Hotel rooms are smart rooms, and everything is controlled from the iPad within the room. From the curtains, to the tv, to the lights, to room service, room requests, room temp - everything! Once my LM manager left, I took a deeper look at the iPad's functions.
Light functions were vast.
The Pillow menu was my favourite - I made good use of trying to find my favourite pillow.
The iPad even had free movies provided to watch, though there were only around 10-12 movies in English available, which was a shame. As soon as you selected play on the movie, it automatically streamed it to the TV, and you could control everything on the TV from the iPad - though the controls were super clunky at times.
It was a beautiful day - so I checked out the Balcony, which was a gorgeous setting, like the room. It was designed to be like a mini garden, with real plants lining the inner side of the balcony. Two lounge chairs and a table also were placed, and together with a wooden deck - it was a great place to enjoy a drink or host company if you knew people in the city. The only thing is it won't be too private if one of your neighbours decided to come out as well. However, this was the greatest perk as on a nice day, you could just lounge away the afternoon here.
I decided to check out more of the enormous bathroom which was not only stunning, but the star of the room. The floor and walls were all lined with Silk Georgette, giving it an extremely elegant and upscale look - while still being inviting (*cough* Emirates *cough*). This is honestly the look and feel of the bathroom of my dreams, so I was right at home! The bathroom featured Armani branded toiletries & towels - and more impressively, Armani Prive body wash + shampoo (they smell amazing). I really liked the Prive bottle quality and the rest of the amenities were top notch as well. I'm not sure how much Prive amenities cost - but I know they're $300 USD+ for the perfumes.
I'm not really sure what happened to the picture, but I had a photo with both the glass doors in the image above open. The door on the left was the toilet, the door on the right the shower. Both were 1 way mirrors, where I could see outside from the inside. The shower was large and comfortable, though a little on the dark side for me with the lighting.
If you raised the shades (manually, not from the iPad) - you looked into the balcony and the view of the town, which was nice. It's worth noting that it's quite difficult for a neighbour to look into the bathroom from their balcony due to the mirror like glass on the outside (much like the shower/toilet), though it might be different at night.
But wait - there's more! A hidden cupboard near the enterance revealed the snacks, coffee and mini-bar section. This was all explained by my LM after all - but dramatic effect and all. All Armani guests have free access to the mini-bar (though admittedly there's not much), and it was restocked twice a day.
Considering it was late in the afternoon by now, and I was hungry - I decided to order room service using my $100 USD food and bev credit. I stuck with a Diavola, the Italian Pepperoni pizza for something of a local touch, along with the Armani Cheesecake. The coolest thing I found out when it arrived, was that whenever someone rings the door bell, the camera outside the door comes online, and you see a video of whomever is outside on the iPad. The only issue was that you only saw the top of the person's head if they were shorter.
You can then actually open the door.. through the iPad. Say what! Meaning, if I'm being lazy in bed - I can just tap to open the door, and they'll have access to come in and drop the food, then leave. Can I get this at home please?
The food was delicious, and I cleaned every part of it. Even if I was paying them for it (think 36 Euro for the Pizza), I would have enjoyed the food. I went out for a bit after this to walk around, and when I came back - the turndown service was in full effect. They had removed the gold covers on the bed, and I had ordered a few pillows from the Pillow Menu to try out.
The bed was decent quality - but I still didn't find the pillow I wanted so I kept that in mind for the following night.
The next morning I headed down for Breakfast, which was a Amex FHR perk. Breakfast is held near the reception at the Armani Ristorante, which is also a Michelin starred restaurant for lunch and dinner. As soon as I arrived, I was directed to a table and asked for a coffee or tea. They had a menu for Breakfast, but I stuck with the buffet (I'm not sure if it was paid or not - didn't ask). The lit up glossy checkered pattern was a huge win in my books, as it really glammed up the place (though I know some people have told me they hate it).
The Buffet section wasn't massive (though there was variety) - but everything looked amazing!
I really liked how the crust was cut off the bread, and the fruits were already sliced up in smaller bowls. My favorite part was how all the bacon was actually crispy! So many hotels have soggy, half crispy half oil soaked bacon - the Armani Hotel did the crispy bacon perfectly for a buffet! I ended up really enjoying breakfast both days, though I'm not sure it's worth $55 AUD paid. I had a tour planned with the Marketing team at the Armani Hotel - and I'll write about that in another post, but while I waited I explored some of the other lounges.
The Armani Bamboo Lounge had a nice atmosphere - and they make the best Espresso Martini's in town (least to for me)!
It even featured Mr. Armani's own Grand Piano. By this time the tour was about to start - and I had to run out for some errands after the tour. I came back closer to dinner time to a neatly cleaned room.
Since the sun was going down, I decided to take a bath - something I almost never do. Here - it just made sense to try (the water is blue because of the Bath Salts). I'm 6'1, and I just wish hotels made bathtubs a little longer for the taller people!
Following that, I decided to order some more room service dinner and watch a movie that was provided on the iPad. I ordered a burger with a milkshake, and the image below is shaky because of how much I was laughing. Due to the language barrier, they must have heard banana sliced instead of banana milkshake - because that's exactly what I got - sliced bananas! They even tried to make it look pretty - I couldn't be bothered complaining because they didn't charge for it, so whatever right?
The burger was quite good as well. The bananas were okay 😉
I got stuck into the Room Pillow menu as well before hitting the hay early, as I had to be out by 8am for my flight back to Melbourne.
Oops, maybe I overdid it this time? In fairness, I did have an amazing sleep.
I had breakfast again the following morning, and while it was quite similar - it was equally as good, and following that I checked-out quickly and headed for the door, giving only one last look of regret at leaving, after a magical stay. Overall - this is probably one of the best, if not the best hotels I've ever stayed at. While it's a Boutique hotel and I don't get any points for staying here, the experience was incredible from top to bottom, from the warm and friendly staff, to the classy, though minimalistic rooms, to the service, the design - just everything. I've never enjoyed staying at a hotel so much - yet I've never paid this much for a hotel either. While everything about the hotel was almost perfect, the only two issues were with the location - good for shopping, bit of a walk (10-15 minutes) to the central part of Milan (and no car was provided like the Excelsior), and the cost - $1,000 per night is an enormous sum.Was it worth it for the experience - yes, why not! However, I'm torn in the sense of money versus experience, especially if I ever return. The other thing I suppose is that if there was a Lifestyle Manager, they never got in touch with me to check-in (and that might not be part of the service), but it would have been nice if they proactively did that. Perhaps the next time I may even check out the Bulgari Hotel Milan or the Mandarin Oriental Milan - both which require similar prices.
However, as far as this stay goes - I have no regrets, and I leave with nothing but an amazing experience (and would even recommend people to try it out if the finances make sense). Mr. Armani - if you ever read this, you've nearly achieved perfection - till next time!