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alking into the Armani Hotel Milano feels a bit like walking into the mind of the celebrated fashion designer. This 95-room hotel is as minimal and sleek as one of Giorgio Armani’s iconic suits—and as elegantly determined as I imagine the man himself to be. The whole

setting conspires to make you feel as if you’ve been airlifted out of life, that busy and rumpled otherworld. In this spare new realm made up of monochromatic tones of grey and cream and black, there isn’t a single detail that hasn’t been integrated into the clean line of the hotel.

Armani Hotel Milano is located on Via Manzoni, which, fittingly, is part of the haute fashion district. Simply by walking out the door, one encounters the cosmopolitan style that is expected of Milan. The hotel itself is part of a sprawling complex presided over by the ever-present Armani, including his showrooms, his home and flower shops and Nobu Armani, the sophisticated Japanese restaurant chain that the designer opened along with celebrity chef Nobuyuki Matsuhisa in 2000. (Armani, himself, also lives nearby.) Venture just a few steps further along Via Manzoni and you’ll come across Via Montenapoleone, another mecca of fashion lined with Prada, Cartier, Pucci and Gucci.

Photos: Above: Entrance to Armani Hotel Milano; Opposite page: Clockwise from Top Left: Milano Suite at Armani Hotel Milano; Linguine di Gragnano dish at Asola; Matteo Torretta e Manuel Pranzo at Asola

After exploring a bit—and feeling famished from the strenuous exercise of shopping—I hit one last style outpost: the Brian & Barry Building. This boutique department store—Milan’s style equivalent to Barneys New York, but with restaurants such as Eataly added to the mix—opened just last March. The industriallooking complex, largely comprised of glass and steel, also boasts Asola | Cucina Sartoriale, a modern restaurant perched on the top floors of the building with an amazing view over the rooftops of the city. This is where I settled in for an exquisite meal that included gamberi crudi as well as calamari alla griglia.

Photos courtesy of Armani Hotel Milano & Asola | ©Paolo Picciotto

I spent 24 hours in Milan—happily mixing the glamorous bustle of the city with the restrained luxury of the hotel—before heading off to the Italian (and George Clooney’s) summer retreat of choice: Lake Como. For my short stay in Milan, I wanted to experience a blend of the high style and refined culture this northern city is known for—along the way, however, I also happened upon some of the lesser-known perks, such as an evening stroll through the verdant Giardini Pubblici Indro Montanelli with women cheerily biking in heels and plain-clothed businessmen out for their passeggiata, leaving me with a more wholesome impression of this city known for its industry.

QUEST Magazine Issue 3  

Explore France, Italy, China, Maldives and some of the best places to travel this summer in Ker & Downey's Summer issue of QUEST magazine.