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Boscolo Exedra, Milan 

4–6 Corso Matteotti
Italy 20121
Tel: 39 02 7767 9611
view web site ›'s insider take:

The Boscolo group gave post-postmodern Italian architect and interior designer Italo Rota carte blanche to revamp a former bank headquarters on central Corso Matteotti and turn it into a five-star. The result, opened in September 2009, is a playful clash of harlequin patterns, textures, and colors—some will find it bold and glam, others decidedly over-the-top. Things calm down a little in the 154 spacious bedrooms, which mine a rich1970s seam with their bucket chairs, huge fabric lamp shades, and rainbow-shaded shower gels. Downstairs is Milan's biggest hotel spa, designed by Simone Micheli in jaw-dropping Barbarella-meets-Clockwork Orange style. The hotel's Made in Italy mandate, not to mention its ironic flirtation with the down-market, comes through in the Lambruscheria wine bar: Its list centers on the sparkling Lambrusco red wine from Emilia-Romagna that is often (unjustly) considered a cheap party lubricant, and its menu highlights Bologna's hearty bolliti (boiled meats). There's also a pricey seafood restaurant done in disconcertingly shiny black marble. The hotel's stated aim of being open to the city seems to be working, at least around aperitivo time, but if you're staying here, you'll need to weigh the fairground fun of your surroundings against the not always spot-on service and the steep room rates.—Lee Marshall

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