“Sleek, contemporary and well-priced apartments and suites in or near the vibrant Brera district (sleeping 2-6)”
The 3 Brera Apartments are roomy, open-plan spaces, complete with air-conditioning. You enter the block via big wooden doors on the Via San Fermo, which open into a private cobblestone courtyard, and a little lift delivers you to your floor.
Each apartment has high ceilings, white walls and a wide, low queensize bed with downy duvets and crisp white linen. White floor-length curtains waft at the windowsand your dining table and chairs are designer creations of leather and tubular steel.
Brera 1 and 3 are slightly larger than Brera 2 (and able to sleep an extra person on a rollaway divan bed). We stayed in Brera 2 and found it very clean, elegant and comfortable - though we couldn't get the espresso machine to work! The bedroom/sitting-dining area felt nicely minimalist and spacious; the bathroom was more compact but perfectly sufficient.
On the 5th floor of a 1950s steel-and-glass block off the Via Amfiteatro (with a concierge on duty from 8am-12pm and 1-5pm), the stunning split-level Garibaldi Apartment is also open-plan and counterpoints whites with designer lamps and polished parquet floors. It has a sea-green feature wall, twisted glass steps to the mezzanine bedroom, a slim glass dining table overlooked by cool arc lamps, and a plump, retro sofabed. Its bathroom is bigger, with blue-green tiles and a washing machine.
Since our visit, the owners have added a variety of apartments and smaller, simpler suites/studios (the latter lack kitchens). Each appears to have its own distinct style, but bear in mind, they are spread around the city, and may not be located in Brera itself. We’ve haven’t personally visited any of them yet, so check the rates page for full details and street locations.
You'll have to rely on dining out if staying in the Borgonuovo or Gio Ponti’s Building Studio - they have little more than a minifridge, kettle and coffer maker - but this could work well for shorter stays or those wanting to enjoy Milan's culinary offerings.
In contrast, the apartments are well set-up for self catering, with little kitchens (hob but no oven) and cool dining spaces for 4. You get a full quotient of crockery, and a range of pots and pans, as well as some useful equipment (good knives etc). A welcome pack awaits you, with tea, coffee and bottled water, and for everything else there's a Carrefour Express supermarket Via della Moscova, as well as various smaller shops in the various neighbourhoods.
Brera is one of Milan's top drinking and dining hubs, so there are plenty of dining choices nearby. At Il Verde, an elegant yuppie favourite in the Piazza Carlo Mirabello, we enjoyed a delicious risotto con Ossobuco (traditional Milanese saffron risotto with veal), and their chocolate mousse is heavenly. You can't book for lunch but can for dinner, and they'll deliver phoned-in orders, too. Just doors from the Brera Apartments is the popular Fioraio Bianchi Cafe, an old flower shop become bijou restaurant, which does its own baking. And, on Via Palermo, there's the cosy Gran Italia where we had a scrumptiously fat yet light slice of Diavolo wood-fired pizza. The Neapolitan restaurant here, Anema e Cozze, is recommended by Brera's owners.
Children up to 3 stay for free and there's space for a baby cot in each of the apartments.
Babies (0-1 years), Children (4-12 years)
The Porta Venezia and Fiori Chiari Apartments are the largest, sleeping up to 6 plus a baby. Most of the others can sleep 4 plus a baby. Families may want to avoid the Gio Ponti’s Building Studio and Borgonuovo Suite, both of which lack self-catering facilities.
Children will need to take care around the Garibaldi's glass and metal spiral staircase.