In this two-part feature, Editor, Simon Wittenberg, explores two of the newest properties of the ME by Meliá hotel brand
The ME by Meliá five-star chain belongs to the Majorca-based Meliá Hotels International group, and describes itself as a collection of contemporary resorts and urban properties in the global capitals of culture and cool. There are currently seven properties in the portfolio, spanning ME’s London flagship location to Mallorca, and Cancún in Mexico. But it doesn’t stop there. The company is currently on a real charge, with plans to expand its offering in the cities of Miami, Dubai (designed by Zaha Hadid), Barcelona, Doha (Qatar) and Caracas (Venezuela).
The ME by Meliá brand prides itself on exceptional design, its music and a very personal service, courtesy of a team of Aura Managers who are on-hand 24/7 to tend to the every need of guests. Although every ME shares this common ‘DNA’, and a distinct aroma named ‘Essence of ME’, each stays true to its roots and the distinct character of the city in which it is based.
ME Milan il Duca in northern Italy is the latest ME by Meliá to open its doors, having officially launched in May of this year. The General Manager who was responsible for creating the masterpiece that it is today, and overseeing the recent opening, is the Milan-born Alessandro Misani. He is a man with a wealth of experience when it comes to launching new properties, having previously masterminded both the creation of the nearby sports-themed Yard Milano boutique hotel, and the unveiling of ME Ibiza.
The building was originally designed by the renowned late architect, Aldo Rossi, and sits in the heart of the city overlooking the Piazza della Repubblica, near to the Fashion District. It was once known as the Hotel Duca di Milano (hence the current name), before undergoing a beautiful transformation at the hands of Mortini’s Studio. The contemporary-looking décor boasts a clever use of lighting and mostly dark tones, resulting in a distinctly urban feel. There are 132 exquisitely-designed rooms, and we stayed in one of the 32 spacious and well-insulated 45 square-metre Chic Suites which came complete with a very comfortable king-sized bed, two 47-inch flatscreen LG TVs and Bluetooth soundbars, a lounge area with a central table, soft seating and well-stocked mini-bar, as well as a marble-lined bathroom with a spacious slate-coloured walk-in shower dressed with a small helping of toiletries from Apivita. Mirroring the latest technological trends, everything is digitised at ME Milan, from the touchscreen-controlled lighting and air conditioning right down to calling the lift, meaning this is one of few occasions where you actually have to lift a finger.
When it comes to dining on-site, the principal eatery is the busy STK steakhouse restaurant from New York (the first of its kind in Milan), where there is a comprehensive menu of meat and seafood-based dishes to tantalise the taste buds.
For guests wanting to really relax and soak up the atmosphere of this truly vibrant city, the buzzy Radio Rooftop Bar situated on the tenth floor has its own outdoor terrace, and grants spectacular panoramic views of the Milan skyline. It has quickly become one of the coolest destinations in town, and ‘the place to be seen’. Fully booked most evenings, there is a minimum spend of €35 when making a reservation, such is its popularity.
With a more than adequate menu of nibbles and cocktails on offer (at €15 each), we sampled the ‘Che Storia’, a deliciously-smooth, albeit highly-fattening concoction of Amaretto di Saronno, strawberry liqueur, strawberries and double cream, whilst being serenaded by a live DJ and a glorious sunset. Breakfast on the opposite side of the Radio Rooftop Bar serves up a different kind of outlook and ambiance in the morning – a glimpse of Milan’s hustle and bustle joined by a comprehensive buffet hosting delicacies such as fresh fruit, smoked salmon, pastries and cheeses. There is also a good selection of hot options which may be cooked on demand, such as omelettes, and eggs.
For those venturing beyond the confines of ME Milan, local attractions include Leonardo da Vinci’s famed Last Supper mural at the Santa Maria Delle Grazie – a Dominican convent which is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the City’s harbour – La Darsena, as well as a one-hour boat tour of the architecturally-interesting Naviglio Grande canal.
Prices in September for the Chic Suite start from £364.64 per night (including breakfast). For more information, or to make a reservation at ME Milan, visit www.melia.com/en/hotels/italy/milan/me-milan-il-duca/index.html.
About Simon Wittenberg