Milan has a vibrant breed of arts, culture and food, and among the fashion, car and trade shows happening throughout the year, giving this city its unfair image of industrial town, there’s a serene piece of earthly nirvana to escape to.
Set in the heart of the city, next to the fashion district around Via Montenapoleone, where wafts of divine scents hang in the air and beautifully dressed locals stroll with dogs wearing pearls, sits Château Monfort. It’s a five-star Relais & Chateaux fairytale boutique hotel that was only opened in 2012 and calls itself an urban chateau. And it is.
Built in the early 20th century this historic building was originally a private residence for an important Italian family from Lake Como, a doctor who had three daughters. He wanted a large liberty style home built which included three floors exactly alike, a floor for each of his daughters. Housekeeping had the top floor and the roof, which also wasn’t a bad option.
Today, stepping inside the marble foyer it feels a little like Alice in Wonderland, with hostesses wearing differing flowered dresses. Or you could have stepped into a Dolce and Gabbana ad, with pastel glowing furniture and a white piano. Or perhaps Helena Bonham Carter’s going to pop out and sit next to you.
The décor muses between fairytale and the opera, high ceilings, alcoves and doorways to discreet unknown places. It now has 77 rooms and suites starting at around $250 per night, and they will take care of you. The staff’s discretion and hospitality under Maitre de Maison, Stefano Risolè is precious.
The world famous Duomo is ten minutes’ walk away, with many shopping opportunities in between (so, a tug between religions…). Commencing in 1386 and taking six centuries to complete — and some in Milan say it was never finished — it’s the largest cathedral in Italy and the third largest in the world. (St Peter’s is in the Vatican, so technically not Italy.) Intricately faced, using the pink marble of Candoglia from the edge of the Alps not that far away, the Duomo is the spiritual heart of the city.
But you could have a whole new look by the time you reach the Duomo from when you leave the hotel. We like this concept.
Château Monfort has the Amore e Psiche Spa, suggesting the union of love and soul and named after a famous statue by Canova, depicting Psyche revived by Cupid’s kiss. It’s a good place to disappear for a while. You don’t have to be staying at the hotel, all you need is your swimwear, which of course you keep in your pocket, but failing that there are plenty of stores nearby. So you can always pretend you forgot your swimsuit…
Set in marble and stone Amore e Psiche is a luxurious haven of soft music, divine aromas and plush white robes. You can relax in a Turkish bath, take an emotional shower (it’s this thing that they have, I almost got emotional trying to use it. Maybe that’s the point!), an ice bath, and a sauna. You can float in the saltwater pool or drift away in the candle lit relax room stocked with Marcona almonds and healing teas.
As an extra option, Valentina will whoosh you away to the treatment rooms. There you can have a 24-karat gold facial, or bespoke luxury face and body treatments with organic products from Pañpuri, using a mix of Thai scents and oils; or by Arangara from Calabria Southern Italy using peaches and mandarin.
By the way, spa access starts at 30 euro per person. Yep. Not bad at all! (No medals for guessing that the 24 karat facial is a little costlier…. You can have a mask (like Cleopatra!) of eleven 24 karat gold leaves for around $235/200 euro). You are worth it.
Wine tasting and private dining for up to six people is in the cellar next to the spa, which is open until 11pm and the wine cellar is connected to the spa area which could be useful to know. Which is why it’s good to bring your bathing suit anyway, right?
If you get into trouble, or for any other reason dial 9, someone will come running. (I wish that worked in real life.)
Whilst at the hotel, you should eat at Rubacuori, which means heartthrob in Italian (or literally translated as he steals hearts, which is, let’s face it, cutting to the chase). The restaurant is three themed rooms, is of course excellent, and is popular for its light gourmet lunches and Sunday brunches.
And/or have a cocktail in the lounge bar Mezzanotte, serenaded by soft piano music.
Château Monfort arrange a variety of tours for their guests from visiting an Atelier in Milan to see how high-fashion is made, a tour to the Italian lakes, or even to the French Riviera.
The hotel, a jewel in a city lustrous with the seamless blend of the old and grand and modern sleekness, is easily accessible, including by subway or tram. Closest airport is Linate, although if you’re coming from the States you’ll go into the further away Malpensa. The hotel can arrange for airport transfers.
Corso Concordia 1