The fascinating story of a boutique hotel with a unique character
The more stories are told about a hotel, the more charming it is…
Senato Hotel Milano has been in every list with new cool hotels in Milan lately, so when I recently found myself in the Italian city, I could not but visit it. Although I had little free time I arranged to have lunch at Senato Caffe and look around the hotel. Two hours in Senato Hotel were enough to fascinate me!
There is a whole world behind the classic palazzo façade of Senato, that’s for sure! The place exudes creativity, rigor and a unique character. The guest gets to explore the history of the hotel by walking around its spaces.
It all began when Ranza family decided to convert their private residence into a space where one can experience the real Milan. Fourth generation entrepreneurs with experience in construction, the family sought a new more personalized approach to running a city hotel.
The five-storey Neoclassical-style building dates back to the early 20th century. Following a two year restoration that preserved its facade and central courtyard, it has been transformed into a 43-room boutique hotel.
Inside Senato Hotel
The moment you get in the Senato, you are standing in front of the most impressive reception ever. The reception offers a luminous welcome with a wall of lamps, shaped into ginkgo biloba leaves by gifted local artisans from Bottega Gadda (their Lombard workshop was founded by Carlo Gadda in the Navigli district in 1970 and their expertise with metal is well known).
As you move further in, you find the mood board of the hotel on a dark green wall; it is a collage of all inspirations behind the creative forces of Senato, something I personally found inspiring and a brilliant idea!
Then comes the lobby. This brass and marble interior paradise. Every piece – every armchair and table – is unique, each designed by architect Alessandro Bianchi who arranged and designed the hotel down to the smallest detail.
There is also the Chester Room, where a few tables, side table lamps and candles create a cozy atmosphere next to a velvet sofa that strangely extends up to the ceiling! Here one can view a screening of looped film scenes where the city of Milan is the cinematic protagonist.
Lunching at Senato Caffé
It was around noon that creative director Pier Lomascolo, welcomed me at the recently opened Caffé, which is less a restaurant and more an all-hour venue for guests and Milanese alike.
This is the place to discover gastronomic delicacies, from Coda Nera Riserva smoked salmon to bresaola cured meat prepared using the Piero Poretti method.
We had some delicious zucchini spaghetti and a vegan club sandwich and accompanied our lunch with a glass of Franciacorta as Senato Caffé happens to be the world’s first Franciacorta Bar. The menu, along with all the provision of the ingredients, has been meticulously put together by food curator Maddalena Fossati, a noted food critic and journalist. Yet another brilliant concept one finds in Senato Hotel. There is also a back yard with a gold door which in good weather turns into a true urban oasis.
Some more reasons to love Senato
- The rotating wine menu at Senato Caffé that offers 15 of the best traditional sparkling wines of Italy. Along with the Franciacorta wines there is a well curated list of small-scale vintners -many of them from Lombardy- that have been selected by Alberto, Lorenzo and Silvia, the founders of enoteca Bicerìn Milano.
- The good sleep! Box spring beds with ergonomic mattress and Myfoam topper deliver nightly comfort that is unparalleled. Add to this, lightweight, high thread count Egyptian cotton bed linen, soft duvets and pillows, with the possibility to choose different types during your stay.
- The rooftop with an art project that changes every year
- The music: the varying soundtrack is from a tuned in Music Director from Down Under, the Sydney DJ and sound designer Kitten Jam, who offers a future soul genre that is attuned to each moment of daily life at the hotel: from breakfast to lunch, from a morning coffee break to the evening aperitivo or an after-hours drink. The five Hotel Senato playlists are available on Spotify. It is the first hotel to offer this genre of music where vocals are front and center.
- The incredibly cool mini bar in the room: One can find Stella Alpina mineral water in glass bottles which is from a small spring near Bergamo and is complimentary and a lot of quality Lombard products: craft beer from Birrificio Milano, Crodino and chocolate from T’a Milano as well as Mandarin Orange Soda from Niasca Portofino in Liguria.
- The breakfast: with fruit tarts and naturally leavened bread; croissants from local patisserie Pasticceria Valentina; yogurt and apple juice are delivered from Cooperativa di Chiuro in Valtellina; milk, eggs, butter and cream is sourced from Latteria Soresina in the Po River Valley; the Val Baganza prosciutto, Bitto and Quartirolo cheeses are from Luigi Guffanti di Arona, a specialty cheese shop rated among the world’s ten best.
And there are so many more to say about the amazing Senato Hotel