Excelsior Hotel Gallia,
Booking a hotel in Milan was an interesting task as I was up against a few challenges. The first, was that I was against the clock - my flight had only been confirmed 6 days before I needed to actually fly out to Milan, that meant I had to do a lot of research in a short amount of time (I generally like to take my time researching). The second, was that The Milan Fashion week was on - so almost every hotel in the city was on supercharged pricing structures - something I wanted to avoid (considering the hotels I wanted to stay at). As a Starwood Gold member, my first response is generally to go to the SPG website to see what my options are (simultaneously with Tripadvisior and Booking.com to compare ratings).
Being one of the most renown hotels in Milan (and part of SPG's Luxury Collection), it ended up being a no brainer - especially with the proximity to the train station, which was a requirement for me after a long 24 hours of travelling from Australia. However, being Fashion week - the $720 AUD per night rate x 2 (for 2 nights) was a bit rich for my blood - especially since I had a long trip to go still. The good thing with SPG however, is that it allows you to use use either points or cash+points.
Since I was staying 2 nights, 40,000 points didn't seem like a good deal to me. However, 10k points + $180 USD ($230 AUD) seemed like a very good deal, especially considering the paid rate - so without hesitation, I booked it and was set.
Heading into Milan city was straight forward, but long - the train took at least 50 mins, but I passed the time talking to a new friend I had made at the Airport (she was also from Australia). I was a little confused where to go once I was outside, as I didn't realise just how close the station was to the hotel (I literally walked across the road, and reached the hotel). The hotel was buzzing when I arrived, and the weird thing is no one took my suitcase from me until I was inside (the way I was dressed, having come from a massive travel sesh, I get it, but it annoyed me a little). I waited a little bit behind some other people in line, then walked to a guy behind the counter and said "Checking-in''. He said "I'm actually off duty, but I'll check you in anyways" - gee thanks? Anyways, after that he was really quick and professional in getting me my room key - he explained a few of the hotel ammeneties (including a free Masareti service to the Duomo!) and I was on my way to the room.
The hotel looked incredibly stylish, and so it should have - considering it was recently renovated and upgraded in every manner. Unfortunately with the hotel being so full - an upgrade wasn't possible, so I was given the King Bed room - which as it turns out is nothing to sniff at! The room was actually very well done, and it oozed stylishness and luxury, without the tackiness (looking at you Emirates). It was a very warm an inviting room, which made me really happy with the choice overall.
Seriously - this room was very well made. Turns out while Marco Piva was the designer in charge, he worked from Cassina Contract, the famous Italian Furniture brand's offshoot that do custom interiors across the globe. There was very little, if anything about the room that I really hated (okay well maybe the desk chair was terrible on the back). I decided to take a look around the room at what made it so special.
While the view wasn't stunning - it did overlook the Milan Train station (like I said - literally across the road), and I was glad to at least have a balcony - even if it was tiny. The amenities in the room seemed decent as well. Complimentary water and tea/coffee was a given - but it was nice to have complementary shoe shines per day as well. I really did like the layout of the coffee case, and how it was presented - super classy.
I really liked how the switches in the room curved outwards as well, making it easier to reach from the bed (especially for the alarm). Again the finishing was top notch.
The phone system itself was also an advanced touch screen version which made it easy to dial any of the services easily.
The bathroom was also quite impressive - big, bright, and with a nice border backlit mirror which really defined the space.
I especially liked how big the shower was, and even with an open, but fixed door shower, the water never ran outside due to the size. I grabbed a quick shower once I was done with my photo session, as I was meeting some friends for dinner and drinks. It was a great night out, but I didn't manage to grab any photos - however if you're looking for a cool place to go in Milan for a drink, then check out Dry (They make some mean cocktails - but their espresso martini's need some work). That night I went back to the room and crashed, with jet lag finally getting the better of me. I did grab one pic of the turndown service before crashing however.
The next day (with breakfast NOT included), I slept it and decided to explore a little of the city (before my dinner/drink plans with another group of friends). I decided to call down and book the hotel Maserati (seriously how cool of a perk is that!), and while I waited, I explored the lobby of the hotel.
Even the attention to detail in the lift was interesting.
Being as it was Milan Fashion Week, and I was in one of the fancier hotels in Milan - you can bet your behind that there were some gorgeous people in the hotel (but no one well known to me at least). There were only 2 out of 3 Maserati's were working, hence booking was essential if you wanted to get dropped or picked up from the Duomo/Galleria Vittorio Emanuele area. By this time, my Maserati Quattroporte had arrived, and I was whisked away by Paolo, who I also had for the next few rides (Paolo did mentioned there were 1 or 2 famous models staying at the hotel, but didn't know who). Honestly, being chauffeured around Milan in a Maserati is one of the coolest perks I've had at a hotel - and I took full advantage of it during my stay. Paolo was great at giving information, and even gave me a snippet of the car's power, but the ride was over in less than 20 minutes unfortunately. Paolo did have some interesting things to say about the next few hotels I was staying at "Armani hotel is one of the best, but I prefer the Bulgari hotel" "why?" I asked. "Armani hotel is on the main road, Bulgari is behind in a private area" Fair enough I suppose. "Room Mate Guilia not so good, because it's only a 4 star hotel" Banter!
I even called the hotel to come pick me up from the same spot once I was done with my sightseeing and shopping - Milanese sights are interesting, but there's not much going for it that I could see outside of the Duomo and the Galleria.
When I got back that night, I realized I had my drinks voucher still available as a SPG Gold member (free gift or bonus points) - so I headed to the bar on the ground floor for a quick nightcap.
It was rather empty when I arrived, so I just sat at the bar, got a quick recommendation and was served some nibbles while I waited. My drink arrived soon thereafter (I don't recall which one I had - but it was strong).
Soon I was back in the room, and again I crashed - the jet lag still not fully gone. I was up the next morning at 10am, as I needed to head over to the next hotel (Room Mate Gulia) to catch up with the work crowd I was in Milan with. Checkout was smooth, and since the Room Mate Gulia was just next to the Duomo, I asked the concierge to get the Maserati to drop me off at the Duomo with my suitcase, and they happily obliged. And with that I was on my way - happy with the hotel overall (Tripadvisor ranks it as the 10th best hotel in Milan - and it's certainly worth of a top 10 place). It's been renovated beautifully - and it really was a nice hotel to stay at. I did one to leave you guys with one annoying thing about the hotel - everytime I plugged my phone charger in, they unplugged the charging cables when I left the room, and folded it up like so:
Yea it's nice of them to tie up my cable - but ever damn time I unwrapped it to plug it back in, it was folded like this again. Just why?