Walk into a good boutique hotel in Milan and you’ll understand something about the city itself. This is Italy’s financial center, the capital of industry, presiding over one of the largest economies in the EU. It stands to reason that the best hotels in town are a far cry from the romantic waterfront palaces of Venice or the quirky pied-à-terres of Rome. The Milanese ideal is smart and sleek, stylish yet eminently suited for business, and always quietly but forcefully impressive. Senato Hotel Milan is an excellent example — but not in the dark, heavy, masculine manner that’s become something of a Milanese luxury-hotel trademark. It’s located in a historic building, though one that’s practically new by Italian standards: a Neoclassical urban mansion, dating from the early 1900s, once a wealthy family’s private residence. But there’s little nostalgia here for days gone by. Apart from the facade, and structural details from high arching windows to a wrought-iron railing snaking up the rear staircase, there’s little to remind you of the building’s past. Lined with smooth marble, the place is modern and elegant — minimalist with extravagant accents, from the lobby’s glowing lamps, handcrafted in the shape of a ginkgo tree, to its unusual wood furnishings and brass tables, each unique and custom-designed by the Italian architect Alessandro Bianchi. He was the mind behind the entire project, in fact, his visions brought to life by a meticulous team of Italian craftsmen. Upstairs, the 43 guest rooms are spare and silent. The sophistication is in the details, from the Carrara marble bathrooms to the handcrafted brass lamps. In classic Milanese style, the floors are laid with herringbone oak, but the decor is almost entirely white; state-of-the-art soundproofing blocks the noise of the city outside. The result is a space so calm and pristine that you almost feel guilty unpacking your suitcase and disturbing the balance. Some of the better rooms have small private terraces, while spacious Junior Suites have larger garden terraces with views over the Duomo and the city skyline. You’ll sleep surprisingly well here: appropriate, as you, like everybody else, probably have plenty on your Milan agenda. Stop by the Senato Hotel’s buffet breakfast for a pick-me-up caffé — if you’re truly doing as the Milanese do, it’s sure to be one of many. Text Courtesy of Tablet Hotels
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