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Language: Italian | Currency: Euros (€) | Local time: CEST | Avg. Flight time: 1.45 hrs
What about Milan’s best city-centre hotels? These are predominantly found in the Brera district, or just within the fashion-focussed Quadrilatero della Moda – often called the Quadrilatero d’Oro or just Montenapo, in reference to Via Montenapoleone.
Brera is the main area: often referred to as a ‘Milanese Montmartre’ and dusted with cafes, cobbles, ateliers and markets, it also offers grand buildings and perfect privacy only a skip and a hop away from the Duomo.
Five-star hotel standouts include the Mandarin Oriental Milan, blending Italian style with an Oriental approach in a high-ceilinged former bank, and the longstanding, family-run Grand Hotel et de Milan, but the luxury options are widespread and many. Wherever you stay, spas, pools and illustrious cuisine, plus beautiful design and large rooms, are a given.
Scala itself also boasts some grand establishments, all of them boastfully close to Piazza del Duomo.
The streets surrounding Parco Sempione, Milan’s biggest green space and the home of UNESCO-protected Sforza Castle and its Michelangelo sculpture, are another preserve of the upscale crowd.
Also near here is the Santa Maria delle Grazie church, and thus Leonardo’s ‘The Last Supper’, and Cadorna railway station has direct trains to Malpensa Airport.
With its hipster atmosphere and bustling canals, the southwestern Navigli district is well worth a visit. As befits its trendy vibe, there are slick, design-led boutique Milan hotels in which to bed down here, plus cheaper hostels.
Still, Navigli is quite removed from the main action in Milan. A good compromise is the Carrobbio quarter, which is just a short stroll away and equidistant from both Navigli and Piazza del Duomo. There are some excellent mid-range options to be found here.
To the north of Scala begins the bustling, trendy Porta Garibaldi district, including its eponymous station. Beautiful concept store Corso Como 10 is well worth a visit. Trace the invisible city walls west and you’ll come to more residential Porta Nuova, known for its handsome Giardini Pubblici (Public Gardens) and Galleria d’Arte Moderna.
Further on from Porta Nuova is Milano Centrale station, which, despite its name, isn’t especially central: it’s located almost 3 kilometres (2 miles) north of Piazza del Duomo, Milan’s de facto city centre. This temple-like terminus nevertheless remains the city’s primary rail hub, and this always ensures a cluster of accommodation.
The surrounding area is an especially good bet for chain hotels. You’ll also find most cheap Milan hotels and B&Bs here – compare them using TravelSupermarket’s search tools.
Other good areas for a budget stay include edgy Ticinese, next to the Navigli, while Casoretto, east of Milano Centrale, has heaps of hostels, some basic, some stylish.