Luxury Explorer Review

5-Star Hotel Review

Bulgari Hotel Milan


A stylish and contemporary escape from the vibrant city life of Milan

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Bulgari Hotel Milan


The commercial heart of Milan

Travel Information

Milan Linate Airport - 18 mins (9 km)
Milan Malpensa Airport - 45 mins (50 km)

Top Tips

Explore the Quadrilatero della Moda (The Rectangle of Gold) for hot off the catwalk designs by all the most famous Italian designer brands

5-Star X-Factors

Super slick design

Coolness and clean lines

Arriving at Via Privata Fratelli Gabba, the private drive of the Bulgari Hotel, was an intriguing preamble of what was to come.  The metropolitan hustle of Milan quickly drifted away as we made our way into the hotel’s entrance courtyard, offering a selection of the world’s finest automobiles that would make Jeremy Clarkson blush, along with an abundance of helpful hands to open doors and collect bags.

Walking through the magnificent large glass doors of the Bulgari hotel, the sumptuous yet subtle elegance is a reminder of how well the Italians understand luxury. I had been yearning for a break from my wonderful but over demanding family. The opportunity came when me and my dear friend, Isabella, had to collect our oldest sons from Milan after a school ski trip.

As we were already abroad and in relative close proximity to the airport (me in Chamonix, France and Isabella in Treviso, Italy), we decided it would make perfect sense to collect them from Melpansa Airport rather than have them fly back to London. Besides, it gave us a license to indulge in a few days of much-needed pampering. We jumped at the chance whilst appearing simultaneously to perform our motherly duties.

Many people think of Milan as the fashion capital of the world. Where else would you find the headquarters for Gucci, Armani, Prada, Versace and Dolce & Gabanna within a few streets of one another? But did you know that the concept of 'happy hour' (or as the locals call it, aperitivo I Milanesi) all started in this Northern Italian city? That’s exactly where our Bulgari experience started – Il Bar with the exclusive Bulgari Cocktail. The elegance of the bar and its abundant wall of glass leading the eye to the private garden seemed to make me feel light-headed – or was it the signature cocktail?

There is no need for paintings to adorn the walls. The private garden is the centrepiece of the Bulgari Hotel bar/restaurant, a natural, living 4,000 square metre backdrop that lends itself perfectly to the thoughtfully proportioned room. The lush softness and silhouette of the trees complement the austere marble surfaces. It isn’t a coincidence that the hotel literature is embossed with a leaf.

The gardens were first cultivated seven centuries ago and they are complemented by the cool white, modern fa├žade of the hotel, which is an 18th century renovated palazzo. The marriage between the hotel – with its urban designer-edge, and garden, with its majestic, mature trees – is magical. 

Natural style

Adding to the ambiance, the clientele (and staff!) ooze coolness and glamour. What comes naturally to the Italians is that everyone is artfully conscious of one another. The posing is palpable yet it is not manufactured. The hotel’s staff work together like a well-oiled machine and yet, none of them seem old enough to have learnt the refined etiquette of a five-star hotel. It’s impressive as they strike a balance between genuine warmth and professionalism.

The hotel is designed around beautiful clean lines, which requires high skill and discipline. Ample texture, a splash of warm autumnal colours and the natural contours of granite, marble and wood create a beautiful mix. My impulse was to touch everything: the fabric covered walls, the gunmetal boxes that house the toiletries, dark vases with exotic tropical leaves and the heavy wooden doors. I restrained myself when it came to the handsome young waiters in the bar. 

The Bulgari Private Viewing Package seemed an obvious choice for two tired mums. It offered a spa treatment, a tasting menu dinner and a private viewing of the world famous Bulgari gems. Let’s not forget that the Bulgari Hotel is in the heart of Milan’s most fashionable district. So, there is plenty of retail therapy to be had. If it looks, feels, smells and tastes like an ultimate getaway package, then it is! Just like it says on the tin – or rather, designer, uber-slick, fur-lined tin. Well, this is Milan!

City slickers 

The polished Milanese clientele that use the hotel as a natural resting place remind you that an energetic city lies beyond these smooth walls. Milan is a curious mixture of, what some perceive to be, the superficial, frivolous world of fashion (although a $252 billion industry is nothing to gawk at) infused with the hard-edged commercial, industrial and financial backbone of Italy. If there’s money to be made, then one must find somewhere to spend it.

As we entered our room, the flat-screen TV screen displayed a montage of the Bulgari gems with the drama of Ludorico Einaudi’s Primarvera playing in the background. Our room was elegant and refreshingly spacious, with its neutral colours and textures. We immediately gravitated to the two French doors that look down on to the garden. As well as a sitting area, there was also a desk, walk-in closet and an espresso maker. The two Queen-sized beds were draped with luxurious, crisp linen and beautifully designed lights above the headboards.

The bath was an oasis of marble and glass and offered another set of French doors, a large shower, and bath tub. The room was amply supplied with Bulgari scented candles, incense, bath oils and simple, stunning flowers to frame the bath.

We first hit the cobbled pavement with purpose around midday as we had a pre-lunch engagement. We entered the Bulgari Shop on Via Montepoleone and were greeted by the charming director, Marina Moretto, and her colleague for our private tour of the world’s most exclusive jeweller. A recent renovation of the shop has transformed it into a living museum of gems, handbags and accessories, complete with a wall of planted orchids and exotic plants. 

Wishful thinking

For me, the highlight of the tour was when Marina slipped on to my wrist an extraordinary bracelet made of precious gems and diamonds. My wrist will forever feel limp and lifeless as I had no choice but to hand back the bracelet or alternatively sell my children to cover its extraordinary €110,000 price tag. (I am now back with my family and, as I hear my husband in the background yelling at my two sons for not cleaning their room, I wonder if I made the right choice.)

We had built up our appetite sufficiently to enjoy a wonderful lunch at a restaurant set in a stunning courtyard a few paces from the Bulgari Shop. Afterwards, we decided to take in some sights. The shops were buzzing with activity and the latest designs. It was a short stroll back to the hotel. One of the beauties of the Bulgari Hotel is its location, ideal for travellers with little time to embrace the riches of this town. 

Before dinner, I gazed down from the French doors of our room to the garden far below. Champagne glasses were clinking, the church bells were ringing nearby and there was a soft hush of conversation among Milanese’s high society. The calm sophistication of the outdoor garden bar was fantastic and we couldn’t wait to join in.

Kelly Hail
Kelly Hail

Luxury Explorer
Luxury Explorer