Posted by Simone Aïda Baur, a multi-lingual, multi-cultural and multi-passionate international interior designer and ex-hotelier, who’s discovered her love for blogging. Learn more about her here and connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube.

When I travel for business, one of my favourite moments is when I can kick off my shoes and allow myself to fall onto the bed in my hotel room, feeling a rush of accomplishment running through my body, despite the exhaustion…

This is why the choice of hotel is very important to me. Being the design addict I am, it’s gotta have me some style and at the same time offer ultimate comfort and convenience. Personally, I prefer small to medium sized hotels, hotels with that special something.

One of these hotels is the Park Hyatt Milan. In less than a month the world of design is once again turning their heads towards Milan, with the Salone Internazionale del Mobile (April 8 – 13, 2014) opening its doors. For a design lover like me, it is one of my favourite times of the year, but more about that in my blog Design addict in Wonderland.

1_Main entrance with GalleriaWhether you have been to Milan or not, you may have heard of its landmark, the Duomo. The Cathedral of Milan is a masterpiece of gothic architecture and  took nearly six centuries to be completed. Work began in the late 14th century and was completed in 1965. It is the fifth largest cathedral in the world and the largest in Italy. In front of the Duomo you will find an impressive square, the Piazza del Duomo, which is the main piazza of Milan. The piazza marks the center of the city in every sense of the word – from a geographic point of view and because of its importance from an artistic, cultural and social point of view. With an overall area of 17,000 m2 it is surrounded by some of the most important buildings of Milan, including the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, one of the world’s oldest shopping malls, also referred to as the arcades.

As you walk across the piazza, which is bustling with life, it is hard to imagine that you are only steps away from an oasis of tranquility. So as I stroll across the piazza, after a long day of meetings, I take in the atmosphere of this truly Italian city and head towards the arcades. Leaving behind some of the liveliness and noise of the piazza, I enter into this space that offers a sophisticated allure. Moments after, stepping outside of the arcades, I find myself in front of the Park Hyatt Milan. The porter, wearing an elegant black uniform, opens the doors and greets me with a friendly and cheerful smile.  As I enter the lobby, I find it hard to believe that only seconds before I was amidst the hustle and bustle of the piazza, because here I find myself in a sanctuary of classic and modern elegance and serenity.

The first thing that comes to mind when admiring the architecture of this beautiful hotel is authenticity. A luxury hotel, which is true to its host city Milan in terms of sophistication and style. The hotel was  built around a beautiful historical palazzo dating back to 1874. As the hotel’s architect and interior designer, Ed Tuttle, declares: “The hotel has a unique character, Park Hyatt Milan remains true to the historical style of the original building, but it also has something more contemporary and refined about it now.” He also adds: ”All big cities possess a precise cultural identity and it is important to capture that spirit. Guests at Park Hyatt Milan must be able to feel that they are in Milan and nowhere else.”

Personally, I have always admired the art of combining ‘the old and the new’, which is also one of my personal trade marks, when describing my own style. I like to refer to it as ‘contemporary with a touch of nostalgia’. I therefore immediately fell in love with this hotel, as it offers the best of both worlds. Refined contemporary design with an elegant classic soul.

In fact the building is bathed in history. The palazzo was built around the same time as the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. Documents suggest that it was originally built as a hotel of 400 rooms, which was modern and much appreciated by its many guests, most of whom were businessmen. Goods and baggage lifts were steam driven and all floors came equipped with hot and cold water and radiators, lighting was provided by 900 gas lamps. Though the palazzo was later turned into offices and elegant shops, it appears as if its soul claimed back its original purpose, namely to become a world-class hotel.

The common areas of the hotel feature beautiful travertine stone, strategically placed lighting, elegant furnishing and are dotted with a mixture of masterpieces by artists such as Pin Morales, antique sculptures from Nigerian tribes and one of  the most acclaimed pieces of art  “The Medusa’s Head”, a precious Lucio Fontana sculpture, which is placed in the lobby lounge ‘La Cupola’. La Cupola, which is found at the heart of the hotel, is dominated by a huge nine-metre-high glass dome. It is in this area, which is flooded with light, where an elegant, but rich breakfast buffet is served with the addition of lovely hot options on order – the perfect place to start your day.

Cupola Lobby Lounge H 2

The public spaces, which include La Cupola, the Park Bar, the Michelin Star Restaurant VUN and DEHORS, a fashionable hot spot for seasonal aperitifs, feature some stunning architecture with lots of attention to details, however, my personal favourite are the rooms. After all, this is where I spend most of my time, when I am in the hotel. As mentioned in my introduction, there is nothing like taking a moment to relax after a long day and that is exactly what you will want to do when you enter your room at the Park.

4_Park Deluxe Bedroom

The spacious rooms include a relaxation area and are held in neutral and warm tones, modern lines, contemporary shapes as well as classic fabrics, such as velvet and silk creating a harmonious ambiance. Travertine with black inlays, elaborate architraves, which are a distinguishing element of Milanese architecture, high ceilings and all the mod-cons you require. The bathrooms are an experience in itself. Spacious, travertine covered walls and floors, bathed in natural light and equipped with a deep soaking bath and an octagonal-shaped rain shower. A separate toilet, double sinks, extra-large bathroom mirrors and a walk-in closet with a mini bar round up the ultimate bathroom experience.

Bathroom horizontal

Those who seek even higher worldly pleasures, may opt for one of the 25 splendid suites, one of which even offers an outdoor Jacuzzi overlooking the Duomo!

On those days, when my body calls for a ‘time-out’ and I simply want to escape the outside world, I head to The Spa. More travertine stone, mellow lighting and pastel Venetian stucco are some of the key features of this haven of relaxation, comprising of men’s and women’s steam rooms, aromatherapy showers, a whirlpool adorned with precious gold mosaic and a chic relaxation area.

Spa

If you need some additional pampering, book yourself a holistic and personalised massage, which is customised to create the perfect balance between mind, body and soul…

With this in mind, I am ready to pack my bags and head to Milan! What about you?

Safe travels as always!

Simone xx

P.S. For more inspirational hotels take a look at ‘My favourite Design Hotels’