Source: Design Hotels

Luxury Travel

The Best New Hotels in Milan, Reviewed

The city is seeing an influx of travelers right now, thanks to Milan Fashion Week and a spate of great airfare sales to Italy. Here’s where to stay.

Milan’s luxury hotels are serious—sprawling, grand venues that can feel a tad stuffy and outdated. But two new hotels are catching up to the city’s fashion-forward status. Fifty House and Hotel Viu are fun, playful, and creatively designed and attract a new generation of posh travelers. Here’s how they compare.

 

The Design 

The Fifty House lobby feels appropriately residential.
Source: Fifty House Luxury Hotel

Fifty House: Once a boarding school, the  50-room Fifty House is now a decidedly modern boutique hotel. The lobby is outfitted with jewel-toned Hollywood Regency-style velvet furniture, plus a fireplace—basically your ideal living room. But the modern art is distracting; it’s the work of one artist, Bisha, and includes a painting of a Stormtrooper imagined as Raphael’s La velata and Salvador Dali’s head floating inside a mason jar. It tips an otherwise lovely space into garish territory.

A view of the Porta Volta neighborhood from one of the Hotel Viu’s terraces.
Source: Design Hotels

Hotel Viu: This newcomer has some of the obvious, current-day trappings of a hip hotel: stark, dark wood, mixed metals, mostly gray furniture with the pop of a green couch. It’s the perfect canvas for a minimalist Instagram post, which is exactly the hotel’s intention. It’s located in the up-and-coming Porta Volta neighborhood, right between Chinatown and funky Isola, and a dramatic vertical garden hangs off the side of the glassy, 124-room structure, while the lobby is filled with tall, dramatic orchids. Viu claims the only rooftop pool in the city—fortunately, it’s more serene than sceney.

 

Staying the Night

It’s best to book a suite at the Fifty House; standard rooms are on the small side.
Source: Fifty House Luxury Hotel

Fifty House: The rooms lack both the romance and creativity found in the hotel’s communal spaces, coming off as sterile and half-decorated, like a pre-furnished apartment rental. The bathroom is tiny; there’s no space to unpack toiletries, though there are Malin+Goetz essentials. Wi-Fi is free but spotty. It takes significant time and effort to turn on the lights, and even then, the room’s too dark. If you plan to spend time in your room, book the 1,600-square-foot roof garden penthouse, with two bedrooms and plenty of natural light; otherwise, take comfort in the fact that there are elegant business-meeting rooms and plenty of communal spaces to work in, alongside an espresso or negroni.

Rooms at Hotel Viu, including suites like this one, are conveniently hooked up to digital control systems.
Source: Design Hotels

Hotel Viu: Viu’s ultra-modern rooms are simple but smartly designed. You can control your entire space’s lighting from a bedside switch. Even the smallest rooms offer both a rainfall shower and bathtub, charging outlets are plentiful, and a smart TV connects to the internet. Plus, the bathrobes are exceedingly fluffy, and you’ll find a chocolate chip cookie on your bed after turndown service. 

 

Grabbing a Bite

There may not be a formal restaurant, but Fifty House has beautiful places to eat breakfast or have a drink.
Source: Fifty House Luxury Hotel

Fifty House: The swanky lounge bar leads into a well-manicured courtyard garden; it’s a beautiful place to have drinks or dine. For breakfast, Fifty House offers a complimentary, if basic, buffet: scrambled eggs, bacon, cereal. For more involved meals, one of the city’s best restaurants, Giacomo Bistrot, is one block away.

The kitchen at Morelli, inside Hotel Viu.
Source: Design Hotels

Hotel Viu: Michelin-starred chef Giancarlo Morelli presides over the hotel’s fine-dining restaurant, turning out avant garde dishes such as veal tongue carpaccio with pineapple-sage extract, available à la carte and via tasting menus ($115 to $169). Reserve the charming chef’s table, styled after an Italian country kitchen. Morelli also oversees Bulk, a more casual bar serving such classic dishes as spaghetti carbonara and veal Milanese. Breakfast is served on the roof with a quick American buffet option at 30 euros ($36) or such made-to-order dishes as scrambled eggs with truffles. If you sleep through that, an impressive all-day pool menu awaits; the salmon tartare is a standout.

 

After Hours

The swanky bar at Fifty House draws a crowd of locals and travelers.
Source: Fifty House Luxury Hotel

Fifty House: The hotel does succeed in functioning like a house. In the small lobby, guests cheerfully gather around the fireplace to read and drink wine. One even felt comfortable enough to order pizza from a nearby restaurant.

The airy bar at Hotel Viu.
Source: Design Hotels

Hotel Viu: Viu’s ground-floor bar, Bulk, stays open until 2 a.m. on weekends (and 1 a.m. on weeknights). While the focus on mixology feels dated (cocktail ingredients include beetroot jam and blueberry ice), it’s nice that there’s a built-in social scene in an otherwise quiet neighborhood. While the bar usually has a refined, low-key temperament, there’s a DJ set on occasion. 

 

Adding It All Up 

One of many sitting areas at the Fifty House.
Source: Fifty House Luxury Hotel

Fifty House: Customer service is inconsistent; the staff kindly accommodated an early check-in and assisted with reservations, but despite requests, never fixed a sink with a faulty drain. Still, the location is ideal—a quiet, peaceful block that’s a 15-minute walk to the Duomo and luxury shops.Via Benvenuto Cellini, 14, from $337 nightly

Hotel Viu’s rooftop pool.
Source: Design Hotels

Hotel Viu: The location is tough—a 30-minute walk from the city’s center—but Viu is close to a train station and 10 Corso Como. The helpful concierge mitigates this inconvenience, offering hyper-specific recommendations tailored to your needs and coordinating affordable car services. With its rooftop pool, sauna, and ample restaurant options, Viu ends up feeling like a veritable oasis. You’ll have trouble leaving the property.Via Aristotile Fioravanti, 6, from $252 nightly

    Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.
    LEARN MORE