24-Hour Room Service: Hotel Principe di Savoia, Milan

The Principe is a bastion of old-guard glamour among the minimalist hotels that are cropping up across Milan. There's marble everywhere, Murano glass fittings and wood-panelled walls. All in all the hotel's decadent interiors stand out against the Armani-grey furnishings and raw cement surfaces that prevail elsewhere.

During Milan Fashion Week, which starts today, the hotel is the bolthole of choice for the couture industry. Usually the clientele is a mix of business travellers, celebrities and even royalty (Her Majesty the Queen has stayed – and if she'd brought the corgis, she'd have discovered that there's a dinner option on the room service menu for guests' dogs).

Founded in 1927, the hotel was taken over in 2003 by the Dorchester Collection, and the group spent €14m (£10.7m) to ensure that the Principe was restored to its former glory. The main restaurant, Acanto, reopened in May 2006, with a new chef, Fabrizio Cadei, who focuses on traditional Italian food by using regional seasonal produce. In addition, 48 "Deluxe Mosaic" rooms have been refurbished, with particular attention being paid to the bathrooms. The rooms are Neo-Classical, Venetian or Florentine in style– with heavy velvet furnishings and damask walls.

But the overall style of the hotel is perhaps best appreciated in the "winter garden" bar, where panels of marble adorn the walls, Art Nouveau-style carpets cover the floor and white marble statues frame a tinkling fountain. This eclectic mix may feel over-the-top, but it all begins to make sense if you have a chance to check out the three-roomed Presidential suite. One of Europe's largest suites, it is modelled on a Roman bath house.

The service, too, is imbued with a belle époque air. When I asked to book what turned out to be an overpriced and overrated restaurant, the concierge carefully steered me towards a simple but fantastic alternative in the Brera district called Bebel's.



LOCATION

Hotel Principe di Savoia, Piazza della Repubblica 17, Milan, Italy (00 39 02 6230 5555; www.hotelprincipedisavoia.com). Location is the Principe's main weakness – the Piazza della Repubblica, a large square of office blocks and advertising hoardings which it overlooks, has certainly seen better days. Having said that, Il Duomo and the centre of town are only a 20-minute walk away and a complimentary limousine service runs from the hotel to the Piazza della Scala every 15 minutes (depending on the time of day), so you can arrive at the Armani store on Via Manzoni in some style.

Time from international airport: the most convenient gateway, Linate (served by BA and Alitalia) is a 20-minute drive. Orio al Serio, the low-cost hub, is a 45-minute drive; Malpensa is the same distance.



COMFORTABLE?

The guest rooms are lavishly decorated, with the decor firmly moored in turn-of-the-century traditional Italian. Our room, one of the refurbished Mosaic Rooms, was in the Florentine style, with soft grey and blue furnishings, a vast bed towering with pillows and cushions, embossed leather covering the wardrobe doors, and traditional rosewood furniture. The highlight was definitely the bathroom, almost as big as the bedroom, with a huge bath and state-of-the art power shower, all in white marble except for the beautiful blue mosaic which mirrored the colours of the bedroom. If pampering yourself in this kind of bathroom isn't enough, the hotel has a health and beauty centre on the top floor, with a gym and a pool as well as a spa offering every type of treatment from shiatsu to lymphatic massages.

Freebies: soft drinks in the mini-bar, plus regular treats delivered each afternoon before dinner – chocolates, small cakes or glacé fruits; in the bathroom, Aqua di Parma products quietly breed.

Keeping in touch: LCD high-definition flat-screen TVs, complimentary Wi-Fi in all the rooms and direct-dial telephones.



THE BOTTOM LINE

Classic double rooms start at €345 (£265), room only.

I'm not paying that: The Hotel Cavour (Via Fatebenefratelli 21; 00 39 02 620 001; www.hotelcavour.it) is a traditional hotel with a good central location, just off the Piazza Cavour and near the central shopping district. Doubles start at €219 (£168), room only.

News
The surrealist comedian at the Q Awards in 2010
people
News
Russell Brand arriving for the book launch in East London
peopleRussell Brand cancels his book launch debate due to concerns about the make-up of the panel
Sport
Christiano Ronaldo enjoys his opening goal
champions leagueLiverpool 0 Real Madrid 3: Ronaldo and Benzema run Reds ragged to avenge thrashing from their last visit to Anfield
Arts and Entertainment
Awesome foursome: Sam Smith shows off his awards
music22-year-old confirms he is 2014’s breakout British music success
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Six of the 76 Goats' cheese samples contained a significant amount of sheep's cheese
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Contestants during this summer's Celebrity Big Brother grand finale
tvBroadcaster attempts to change its image following sale to American media group
Extras
indybest
News
Wilko Johnson is currently on his farewell tour
people
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Dales attempts to sell British Breeze in the luxury scent task
tvReview: 'Apprentice' candidate on the verge of tears as they were ejected from the boardroom
News
Call me Superman: one of many unusual names chosen by Chinese students
newsChinese state TV offers advice for citizens picking a Western moniker
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Voices
New look: Zellweger at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
voicesRenée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity, says Amanda Hess
Arts and Entertainment
Julianne Moore and Ellen Page are starring together in civil rights drama Freeheld
film
Voices
'Irritatingly Disneyfied': fashion vlogger Zoella
voicesVicky Chandler: Zoella shows us that feminism can come in all forms
Life and Style
health
Arts and Entertainment
Pink Floyd on stage at Live 8 in 2005. From left to right: David Gilmour, Roger Waters, Nick Mason and Rick Wright
music New album The Endless River set to overtake boyband for most pre-ordered of all-time
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    SCRUM Master

    £30 - 50k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a SCRUM Master to joi...

    Franchise Support Assistant

    £13,520: Recruitment Genius: As this role can be customer facing at times, the...

    Financial Controller

    £50000 - £60000 per annum: Sauce Recruitment: A successful entertainment, even...

    Direct Marketing Executive - Offline - SW London

    £25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A fantastic opportunity h...

    Day In a Page

    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

    A crime that reveals London's dark heart

    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
    Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

    Lost in translation: Western monikers

    Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
    KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

    KidZania: It's a small world

    The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
    Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

    'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

    The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
    The 10 best smartphone accessories

    Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

    Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
    Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

    Liverpool v Real Madrid

    Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
    West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

    Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

    Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
    Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

    A new American serial killer?

    Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
    Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

    Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

    Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
    Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

    Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

    Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
    Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

    Wildlife Photographer of the Year

    Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
    Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

    Want to change the world? Just sign here

    The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
    Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

    'You need me, I don’t need you'

    Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
    How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

    How to Get Away with Murder

    Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
    A cup of tea is every worker's right

    Hard to swallow

    Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right