Bulgari – This private retreat in central Milan is arguably the city’s best hotel.
Although it sounds like it should be an oxymoron, Bulgari somehow manages to pull off unflashy, organic, and intimate opulence. Its color palette of neutrals, browns, and greens – along with enormous windows – allow the hotel to blend in with its spectacular gardens. The contemporary interiors of the renovated eighteenth-century palace give the place the intimate feeling of a boutique hotel, and the enormous grounds offer lots of space for relaxing. While Bulgari is inextricably linked to the fashion industry, those coming to Milan for other reasons will not feel out of place thanks to the friendly staff and convenient location in between Brera and the Quad, which allows an easy walk to most of the sights. And there’s also terrific on-site dining and impeccable service.
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Bulgari – Location
- Address: Via Privata Fratelli Gabba 7/B.
- Nearest Metro: Montenapoleone (0.2 mile).
- Area: Prime location between trendy Brera and the Quadrilatero d’Oro, Milan’s high-fashion shopping district. It’s just 2 blocks from the Metro station, a short walk to La Scala and the Duomo, and in the shade of the Botanical Gardens.
- How to Get There: From Malpensa airport, it’s around 50 minutes (30 miles) by taxi. On public transport, get the bus to Central Station, from where it’s 3 stops on the M3 metro line and a 3-minute walk (0.2 mile). The whole trip will take about 90 minutes.
- Handy to: Pinacoteca di Brera, Quadrilatero d’Oro, La Scala.
Bulgari – The Basics
- Ages: All ages are allowed, though guests tend to be sightseeing couples or creatives on business trips. Bar is 18+.
- View: Views of the gardens, Brera Botanical Gardens, a traditional courtyard, or the historic city center.
- Kitchen: 24-hour bar and breakfast menu available from renowned chef Niko Romito.
- Private Pools/Jacuzzis: No private pools or jacuzzis.
- Parking: The hotel has its own garage. €50 per day.
- Extras: Several welcome drinks on arrival. Laptops provided in each room. Turndown service. Bulgari toiletries.
- When to Book: Reserve 4-6 months in advance if you’re coming during fashion or design weeks (February, April, or September).
- How to Book: Booking.com will have the best rates.
- Phone: +39 02 805 8051
- Email: [email protected]
- Website: bulgarihotels.com
Bulgari – Amenities
- Pool: The serene pool is part of the spa.
- Spa: Excellent spa with pool, sauna, steam, and fitness rooms. Treatments include personalized massages, La Mer facials, and beauty treatments. Open 7:30 am to 9 pm.
- Fitness Center: Outstanding, with state-of-the-art machines (available 24 hours) and use of the pool, sauna, and steam room when the Spa is open. The Workshop Gymnasium offers holistic wellness and personal training programs. Open the same hours as the spa (7.30 am to 9 pm).
- Laundry: Laundry services available at an extra cost. Most is done in-house within 24 hours.
- For Families: Cribs are available upon request, but there are no other specific amenities offered for children.
- For Disabled Guests: The hotel has an elevator and 2 wheelchair-friendly rooms: a Superior Room and a Deluxe Suite.
- Activities: Concierge service can help guests book almost any activity. Special seasonal events – check the “What’s On” section of the website. Workshop Gymnasium offers unusual classes such as Water Barre.
- Other Facilities: There’s almost an acre of garden to explore, with several areas to relax and enjoy meals and drinks, including the delightful Gazebo.
Bulgari – Food and Drink
- Restaurant: Il Ristorante-Niko Romito offers a menu exclusively concocted by the eponymous Michelin 3-star chef of Reale fame. Modern gourmet haute cuisine designed to showcase the best of Italian food and flavors. Decor is classy black resin and wood paneling. Diners can also choose to eat at the bar, terrace, or in the pretty Gazebo. Lunch 12.30-2.30 pm, dinner 7.30-11 pm. $$$.
- Lounge/Bar: Il Bar offers an intimidatingly huge list of wines, liquors, and cocktails, as well as loose-leaf teas. Its menu features meat and cheese boards, sandwiches, burgers, and a good selection of mains and desserts by Niko Romito – all available 24 hours. Bar is open until 1am, aperitivo 6-9 pm.
- Breakfast: Included in some package deals via the hotel website. Available 24 hours. A la carte options range from €10-24, or choose a set Italian or dim sum breakfast for €37.
- Room Service: Il Bar menu is available 24 hours.
Bulgari – Rooms
- Room Types: Superior • Deluxe • Premium • Junior Suite • Deluxe Suite • Premium Suite • Bulgari Suite • List of all Rooms
- Smoking Rooms: Smoking is allowed on the terraces, in the garden, and in the fumoir in the restaurant.
- Best Room: The Bulgari Suite, which takes up the whole top floor (over 1,000 sq ft), offers unrivaled privacy and an enormous wrap-around furnished terrace (almost 1,000 sq ft) with views of the historic center and the Botanical Garden. There’s a living area that has a fireplace and fully stocked bookshelves, as well as a dining area, walk-in closet, and fully-stocked complimentary bar.
- For Families: No family rooms, although some rooms are interconnected. The hotel can accommodate an extra bed in several of the rooms and suites (extra charge).
Bulgari – Local Transport
- Walking: Milan’s center is surprisingly walkable. Most sights, including the Quadrilatero d’Oro, Duomo, and Sforza Castle are within a 10 to 15-minute walk. Within 35 minutes (2 miles), you can be in the Navigli Canal district, where much of the city’s nightlife is.
- Metro and Bus: Milan’s Metro is very easy to navigate, with just 5 lines. The hotel is nearest to Montenapoleone station (0.2 mile), on the M3 (yellow) line, which snakes North-South via Central Station (known as Centrale FS). There are a good tram system and an excellent network of shared transport systems, including electric bikes, scooters, mopeds, and even cars that only need quick signup in an app.
- Taxis, Uber, Lyft: City taxis are white and can be hailed from the street. Ubers are widely available.
Bulgari – What’s Nearby?
Recommended Nearby Tours
- Fashion Tour – A well-established outfit (pun intended) with a mission to help you understand this fashion-obsessed town. The same company also runs perfume tours and offers personal shopping services. The classic tour starts in Via Montenapoleone. (0.2 mile).
- Segway Tours – You’ll see lots of people whizzing around on Segway tours; they allow you to cover more ground. Both Italy Segway Tours and Milan Segway Tours are equally reputable and offer alternatives such as night tours or canal tours. The meeting points for both companies are in Brera. (0.4 mile).
- Free Walking Tour – Look out for the yellow umbrella in front of the Museo del Novecento (just by the Duomo) at 10 am every morning. An excellent free walking tour that takes in most of the main sights in 2-3 hours. It’s best to reserve your place online. (0.6 mile).
Best Nearby Restaurants
Many Milanese restaurants have good-value set menus for lunch. Dinner doesn’t usually start until at least 8 pm; go for an aperitivo first.
- Seta – Outstanding Michelin 2-star contemporary Italian restaurant from Chef Antonio Guida in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel. Book ahead. Strict dress code. (0.2 mile).
- Il Salumaio di Montenapoleone – Prestigious deli-restaurant that has fed well-heeled shoppers in the Quad since 1957. (0.4 mile).
- T’a Milano – A chocolate shop, bar, restaurant, and boutique – this place has it all. Try the award-winning white chocolate bar with caramel and Hawaiian sea salt. (0.5 mile).
- Cracco – A Michelin star, superb wine cellar (over 2,000 labels), cafe food, and haute cuisine, all in the Galleria. What’s not to love? (0.5 mile).
- Spazio – Run by pupils of Niko Romito (of the Michelin 3-starred Reale restaurant), this ‘space’ at the top of the Mercato del Duomo gives you a taste of excellence for a fraction of the price. (0.5 mile).
- Gino Sorbrillo – Italian mini-chain – with an international branch in NYC – serving reliably fantastic and inventive Neapolitan-style pizzas. (0.5 mile).
- Pasticceria Sant-Ambroeus – Refined and opulent patisserie-bar-restaurant. (0.5 mile).
Best Nearby Cafes
- Corsia del Giardino – Simple but elegant cafe – think high-class burgers and club sandwiches – tucked into a courtyard in the Quad. (0.3 mile).
- Pasticceria Cova – Another classic Milanese patisserie, opened in 1817, now owned by one of the big fashion houses – Louis Vuitton. Superb breakfasts and lunches. (0.4 mile).
- Luini – It’s worth braving the queues to get your hands on Luini’s authentic Pugliese panzerotti (empanada/pasty). A cheap and delicious fuel (or sweet treat) on the fly. (0.5 mile).
- Pasticceria Marchesi – Historic patisserie, now owned by Prada. Visit the original 1824 store on Via Santa Maria della Porta (0.8 mile), or the sumptuous green cafe above the Prada store in the Galleria (0.5 mile).
Best Nearby Bars and Breweries
Milan’s version of the happy hour is the famous aperitivo: cocktails served with ‘free’ tapas-style appetizers. Every bar offers it in some form and is a great way to keep yourself going until dinner, which doesn’t usually start before 8 or 9 pm.
- Armani Bamboo Bar – Where better to drink when shopping than at the Armani Hotel? Classy, cool, and spacious, with views over the Quad towards the Duomo. (0.2 mile).
- Terraza Aperol – Try-hard trendy bar owned by the eponymous and ubiquitous liquor brand of ‘spritz’ fame with a great terrace overlooking the main square. Enter through the Mercato del Duomo. (0.5 mile).
- Camparino – Camparino is a thoroughly Italian liquor whose inventor started this bar in 1867. Go for an evening Negroni or Americano aperitivo and drench yourself in Italian history and tradition. (0.5 mile).
- Bar Straf – Immensely popular hotel bar that locals love for its outdoor seating, good aperitivo buffet, and central location. (0.5 mile).
- N’Ombra de Vin – Historic wine cellar that has served everyone from Mozart to Napoleon over the years. One of Milan’s favorite restaurant-bars, specializing in rare wines and cured meats. (0.5 mile).
Nearby Shopping & Cool Shops
- Matia’s Fashion Outlet/DMAG – If you’re dismayed by designer prices, but can’t get out to one of the outlet villages, it might be worth seeking out one of the many outlet stores in town. Matia’s and DMAG each have several convenient central locations.
- Pellini – Famous and fabulous costume jewelry. (0.2 mile).
- Pettinaroli – Historic luxury stationers for handmade paper and leather-bound notebooks. Also has a great selection of globes and antique maps. (0.3 mile).
- Quadrilatero d’Oro – The ‘golden quad’ refers to the 4 streets – Via Montenapoleone, Via Manzoni, Corso Venezia, and Via della Spiga – that bound some of the best designer shopping in the world. Everyone who’s anyone has a store here. (0.4 mile).
- Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II – As far as Milanese experiences go, strolling through the Galleria, which runs between La Scala and the Duomo, is a must. Find the worn spot in the mosaic floor where Italians spin around for good luck. Visit eminent Italian designers, have a pastry and an espresso at Pasticceria Marchesi (above Prada) or an aperitivo at Camparino, and simply soak in one of the world’s oldest malls. (0.4 mile).
- Borsalino – Make like Humphrey Bogart and head for this luxury hat-maker, whose name has long been shorthand for a felt fedora. (0.4 mile).
- La Rinascente – One of the best and biggest department stores in the world. The top floor is a food court and deli selling the best Italian produce. Look out for money-off coupons on free tourist maps. (0.5 mile).
- Il Cirmolo – Vintage and retro curio emporium. An excellent selection of Disney collectibles, especially. (0.5 mile).
- Libreria Internazionale Hoepli – Big bookstore with a great selection of books in English and other languages. (0.5 mile).
Milan’s museums have variable opening hours throughout the week and many will have reduced rates or free entry on certain days; it’s always worth checking their websites before heading out. It’s also a great idea to buy a Milano Card, starting at just €11 for unlimited access to some of the city’s top museums and attractions, as well as public transport.
- Piazza della Scala – One of central Milan’s main squares, with a statue of Leonardo da Vinci and several sights of note: the Scala opera house and museum, one of the entrances to the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II shopping arcade (see shopping section), the important Gallerie d’Italia art gallery, and the tourist information office. (0.3 mile).
- Teatro alla Scala – The world’s most famous opera house, set in a beautiful plaza. If you can’t see a show, go on a tour via the adjacent museum. (0.3 mile).
- Gallerie d’Italia – In a historic stately home. Some of the best 19th-century Lombardian art, including by ground-breaking futurist Umberto Boccioni. Closed on Mondays, and open until 10:30 pm on Thursdays. (0.3 mile).
- Pinacoteca di Brera – Set in the traditional artists’ quarter of Brera in the 17th-century Palazzo Brera. Houses some of Italy’s most important works, including Rafael’s The Marriage of the Virgin. Closed Mondays. (0.4 mile).
- Duomo – Gothic cathedral whose construction started in 1386. Love it or loathe it, the cathedral is the heart of the city. The incredible views from the top over Milan, and as far as the Alps on clear days, are unmissable. (0.5 mile).
- Piazza del Duomo – The city’s main square, which features many of the main sights: the cathedral (Duomo), Museo del Novecento (modern art museum), Palazzo Real (Royal Palace), Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II (see shopping section above), and Corso Vittorio Emanuele II, one of the prime shopping thoroughfares which leads to the Quadrilatero d’Oro. (0.5 mile).
- Museo del Novecento – A huge collection of 20th-century Italian art, featuring a Guggenheim-like spiral ramp with great views over the main square and the Duomo. (0.6 mile).
- Palazzo Reale – Tour the royal palace to get to grips with the various rulers of this part of Italy, which has been held by the Spanish, French, Viscontis, Sforzas, Habsburgs, and others. (0.6 mile).
- Parco Sempione – A wonderful park that houses the Sforza Castle, Peace Arch (Arco della Pace), rolling gardens set around lakes, Triennale design museum, a cool viewing tower, and some great al fresco cafes and bars. (0.6 mile).
- Castello Sforzesco – Dramatic fort at the top of Via Dante, leading to Parco Sempione. Built by the all-powerful Visconti (later Sforza) family in the 1360s, it now houses several museums, including cool stuff for kids. Closed Mondays. (0.7 mile).
- The Last Supper at the Basilica di Santa Maria delle Grazie – One of Milan’s biggest draws. Book months ahead if you want to go as an individual or use a tour company like City Sightseeing, whose ticket price includes access to hop on-hop off bus tours. (1.5 miles).
Nearby Markets or Grocery Stores
Milan has around 100 specialty/local markets.
- Peck – This is no ordinary deli, but a self-declared ‘temple of gastronomy’. The counters display all kinds of delicacies made on-site, the incredible wine cellar has over 3,000 wines and liquors, and the restaurant does an elegant lunch. (0.7 mile).
- Carrefour Express – Several outlets dotted around the city. The closest one isn’t far from the Duomo and is open 24 hours. (0.8 mile).
- Eataly – Three-story Italian food emporium with every gourmet and regional specialty food you could ever need. Features the Michelin-starred VIVA restaurant, as well as fantastic pizza and pasta cafes. Definitely worth the trip outside the center. (1 mile) to the Smeraldo branch.
Bulgari – The Hotel
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