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Armani Hotel Milano, Milan 

31 Via Manzoni
Italy 20121
Tel: 39 02 8883 8888
view web site ›'s insider take:

The 95-room Armani Hotel Milano, a joint venture between Giorgio Armani and Emirates-based Emaar Properties group, occupies floors two through eight of a rationalist palazzo in central Milan. At street level, there's an Armani superstore—a one-stop Giorgio mall of fashion boutiques, café, bookshop, florist, and Nobu restaurant—but the hotel keeps a refreshing distance from the branded retail hoopla below. Discretion, calm, and privacy are the key concepts in a design scheme that nods winsomely, but never brazenly, at the building's 1930s origins. The city view is sliced up and made oddly virtual by sun-screening louvers on all the windows. Inside, marble and semiprecious stone (such as the translucent onyx panels behind the bar) are used not to dazzle but to impose a tone of sober luxury. A palette of earthy taupe, subdued greens, ivory, cream, and black soothes the soul of the stressed urban explorer. Even the smallest rooms feel large, and you could host a small dinner party in the handsome, luxe-minimalist bathrooms. All the sixth-floor rooms have bamboo-fringed balconies, and on the top level is a full-featured spa where you can enjoy a panoramic massage or simply work out with a Duomo view. But it's the seventh-floor Armani/Bamboo Bar and adjacent Armani/Restaurant, with its unfussy Mediterranean fusion menu, that have proved the greatest hits. Locals enjoy the skewed view of their hometown, so if you're planning to eat here, you'll need to book well ahead, even if you're staying at the hotel.—Lee Marshall

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