While Milan isn’t exactly short on swish five-star hotels, there is only one seven-star accommodation: the appropriately named Seven Stars Galleria. As the only hotel inside the city’s famed 19th-century Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II (the oldest shopping mall in the world), the place is in a league of its own, from the building’s hand-painted vaulted ceilings and original frescoes to touches like grand pianos in the rooms and the racing-green Bentley Continental Flying Spur that whisks guests around the city in style.
There are 24 rooms in total, though the tall ceilings and mezzanine levels make them feel much more like private apartments than rooms. Designer furnishings and high-tech amenities complement the building’s original features and antiques, and guests get their own professional butler-concierge (all languages catered for), a choice of bed linen and pillow type, and as much vintage wine and champagne as they can handle. Personal laptops and shopping trolleys from the best luxury brands are also available on request.
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Being situated right inside the art nouveau shopping mall of Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II means that Milan’s plethora of exclusive designer shops—Prada, Gucci, Versace, and Armani—are right at guests' fingertips. There’s even more shopping in the nearby Golden Triangle district (the name given to the retail-heavy boulevards of Via Montenapoleone and Via della Spiga, and the streets that run between them). There’s also abundant culture and nightlife in the surrounding area. Piazza della Scala and the Duomo are both around the corner, and the low-key but fashionable district of Brera is wonderful to stroll; drop into the Antica Osteria Stendhal for some excellent traditional cuisine and a cozy, romantic ambience.
Need to Know
Rooms: Seven suites, from $910. Check-in: 2 p.m.; check-out: noon. Dining options: La Sinfonia restaurant, right above the Gucci store in Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, offers some of the best food in Milan. Since it’s not open to the public, staying here is the only way to get at it. The chef offers a daily changing menu of Italian and nouvelle international cuisine, and guests can also order anything they want to their rooms, making this the perfect option for those with dietary preferences or allergies. The restaurant also has a lounge for aperitifs or after-dinner drinks. Spa and gym details: The hotel’s heritage-listed status means there is no spa or pool on site, but guests can ask their private chauffeur to whisk them to one within minutes.
Who it’s for: The most discerning and well-heeled travelers (everyone from celebs to royalty have stayed here). Our favorite rooms: Though the suites differ in size and decor, all are designed by architect E. Mocchetti under the direction of the Italian Institute of Arts. Each has lavish antiques and direct views inside the Galleria. The Ambassador Wing is probably the most indulgent, with its three bedrooms (all en suite), additional powder room, five LED TVs, computers in each bedroom, and a wet bar. Game time: Families can request that the lounge or one of the mezzanines be transformed into a play area, equipped with PlayStations and Wiis.