Palazzo Segreti

City centre, Milan, Italy Book from

Reviewed by Maia Tarrant
Hip and classy design hotel tucked away on a quiet side street, slap-bang in the heart of Milan
Pulling up in a taxi outside this unassuming 19th-century building on the tiny Via San Tomaso, I’m not expecting the dramatic interior masked within: a sleek, strikingly bold mix of raw concrete walls, antique wooden floors and bursts of intense colour, complemented by incredibly clever lighting. To the back of the lobby, a small bar is buzzing with a style-conscious, sophisticated crowd, all clutching wine or cocktails in fishbowl-sized glasses. I check in and decide to join them.

Later, with the chatter fizzling out behind me, I walk through the narrow hallway and climb the all-grey stairwell, the varying lighting effects transforming the ambiance from cosy to stark and back again. In my minimalist all-white room - one of 18, all decorated differently but with the same blend of contemporary furniture and flowing cotton curtains - the mood is calm and serene. It might be the comfy bed, the wonderful darkness provided by the heavy wooden shutters, or perhaps even that second glass of delicious Aperol Spritz, but I soon slip into a deep, peaceful sleep. In a city as buzzing as Milan, that's quite a feat.

Highs

  • A fantastic location close to La Scala, the Duomo, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, and the trendy Brera district with its antique shops, vintage boutiques and cafés
  • Stylish and comfortable rooms with large ensuites; I particularly liked their breathtaking lighting design
  • Very knowledgeable and friendly staff, who can point you towards the best places to eat, shop and sightsee
  • There’s a beauty salon next door - ideal for a quick blow dry or manicure to help you fit in with the perfectly groomed Milanese
  • You'll find countless restaurants within a short stroll, and breakfast is included in the rates

Lows

  • The room layouts and narrow stairwell aren’t particularly child-friendly (the hotel is best suited to couples and friends), though all ages are welcome
  • Some rooms have open-plan bathrooms; if you'd prefer a fully enclosed ensuite, ask when booking
  • Only the Suite and some Junior Suites have bathtubs; all other rooms have rain showers only
  • The ongoing renovation of the building opposite is a tad unsightly, but it doesn’t generate any noise

Best time to go

Milan is great all year, but try to avoid the hot summer months - particularly August, when many locals flee to the seaside. Unless you’re prepared to pay hefty room rates, also stay clear of Fashion Week in September.

Our top tips

  • Shoe heaven Guja (Via San Giovanni Sul Muro 13) is only a 5-minute walk from the hotel - allow time for an extended pit-stop and prepare to switch from hand baggage to checked luggage on your flight back, as I had to. Five fabulous pairs in under 20 minutes - a personal best!
  • A bit further afield, Ceresio 7 (Via Ceresio 7) is a glamorous rooftop playground in the historic Enel building, with a restaurant, a bar, 2 pools and cabanas in spectacular surroundings. It faces the skyline of the Financial District and has a super-cool vibe

Great for...

City Style
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 18
  • Breakfast & bar (restaurants nearby)
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Concierge Service
  • Bicycles Available
Room:

Rooms

The décor in the 18 rooms varies wildly: sleek elegance with petrol-blue walls and contemporary wooden furniture in one, breezy Spartan chic in the next, industrial minimalism with cool-grey concrete in another. There’s even country romance in one of the Junior Suites (12), with antiques, vintage rugs and a four-poster.

All rooms have kingsize or twin beds, WiFi, safe boxes, phones, TVs, minibars and a designer chair or two. Bathrooms (some open-plan) are spacious, bright and ultra-modern, with rain showers, hairdryers, fluffy white cotton towels and fabulous organic toiletries by L'Occitane.

Most rooms fall into the Standard category, and I stayed in one of these: the all-white Room 3, which was very comfortable and zen, with painted floorboards and brick walls. Also lovely is Room 5, which has a small courtyard-facing balcony, and the super-modern grey-and-white Room 4, which is very popular with guests and would definitely be my first choice.

If you can afford to splurge a bit, get one of the 3 Junior Suites or the sole Suite, all a bit larger with separate sitting areas. The all-grey Suite (8) is truly stunning, with dramatic décor and a large Jacuzzi bathtub by the bed, as is the ultra-classy, colourful Junior Suite 18, which has a huge tub in its ensuite. I was less keen on the dark mood of Junior Suite 6 and found its black tub a tad dingy, though its modern four-poster is certainly appealing. Note that Junior Suite 12 has no tub.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Central heating
  • Cots Available
  • Extra beds
  • Fan
  • Hairdryer
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Phone
  • Safe box
  • Toiletries
  • Tv
  • WiFi

Eating

Breakfast is included in the room rate. It’s a relatively simple Italian affair with cereal, a range of breads, yoghurts and spreads, fresh fruit, several delicious homemade cakes (almond, apple, raspberry) and savoury tartlets. Cooked options are limited to eggs any style; I had the omelette, which was rich, tasty and served with cherry tomatoes.

No other meals are available at the hotel, but delivery from a nearby restaurant can be arranged on request (except Mondays), and The Winery bar is an excellent place for an aperitivo or nightcap. It carries a selection of fine wines from Tuscany and Sardinia, as well as a few cocktails.

There’s no shortage of great eateries on the doorstep. Pescheria da Claudio (Via Cusani 1) is a casual, very popular fish restaurant a short walk from the hotel; for hearty, traditional Italian food and an old-fashioned atmosphere, head to Emilia & Carlo (Via Guiseppe Sacchi 8) or Trattoria Milanese (Viale Gorizia 30; known for its excellent ossobuco). Truffle lovers should check out Tartufotto (Via Cusani 8), a contemporary truffle bar, restaurant and shop whose products also make great take-home gifts. If a quick sandwich fix is all you’re after, then try De Santis (Corso Magenta 9), a wildly popular hole in the wall with over 200 sandwich concoctions.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Room service
Eating: Breakfast room
Activity:

Activities

  • Visit the Duomo, which took 500 years to complete, and check out the panoramic views from the roof
  • Go shopping! Head to the designer boutiques of the Quadrilatero d’Oro and the beautiful Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, and fully expect to remortgage your house when your credit card bill arrives
  • If antiques, vintage clothing and boho-chic are more up your alley, then head to the Brera district, particularly the area around Via Madonnina
  • Catch a performance at Milan’s world-famous opera house, La Scala
  • Take a stroll through the antiques market along the Grand Canal in the Navigli area, which happens on the last Sunday of every month
  • Explore the city on 2 wheels - there are rental bikes right outside the hotel
  • View ‘The Last Supper’ by Leonardo da Vinci, considered the greatest Renaissance painting ever and on display at the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie. Pre-booking is essential
  • Take a day trip to beautiful Lake Como, just over an hour from central Milan by train. Board a boat cruise across the water, and stop at the scenic village of Bellagio for lunch

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Boat trips
  • Cycling
  • Historical sites
  • Museums / galleries
  • Nightlife
  • Private guided tours
  • Shopping / markets
  • Wine tasting

Kids

The hotel accepts children of all ages, and baby cots and extra beds can be provided in some rooms for an extra charge. However, neither the layout of the rooms nor the tiny stairwell or lift make it particularly suitable for families, and we’d say it’s best suited to couples or friends travelling together.

Family friendly accommodation:

Cots Available, Extra Beds Available

Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

9/
Rooms
8/
Food
9/
Service
8/
Value
8/
Overall

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