With all of Italy to consider, Milan has never really been one of my favorite cities. Its visually beautiful and top if you are in the fashion industry, or business in general and very well organized, but have never taken as much as some of the more Italian Italian cities have. That was until my cousin reminded me of what I missed.
The Duomo is an absolutely wonderful I've seen 1,001 times, but never ceases to awe me with the beauty of its architecture. But you can not send days here on a mere duomo, even if it robs you at first glance.
My cousin is a club promoter and hit me to Milan, finally on a business trip, even booked me a hotel that he knew was right up in my alley. I love friendly little B & Bs, guesthouses, stars without holes and holes in the wall and will always choose something like this over a Hilton any day, but he was right and sometimes we just need a break from the general mom & pop environment. As I love antiquity and the aspect of decor, sometimes the polar opposite can beat and inspire us in a way that a little else can.
In a country where so much is so old and so little is new, yet less modern, the Straf hotel was a real treat. A true design hotel, designed by Vincenzo De Cotiis, not only offers top-notch decor, but the conveniences one can expect for its standard. Equipped with high speed internet, LCD TV, satellite TV, mini bar, telephone, air conditioning, safe, music, and of course, room service, in all rooms, it actually delivers everything, and the english staff is excellent.
What really caught me was a 24 hour gym, something even places at home do not always offer, and the bar had such a hip, unique atmosphere. It gave the perfect background for my nightly caipiroska or mojito .... and they can make a mojito! Any place that actually understands the importance of fresh mint leaves in a mojito or real strawberries in a caipiroska all fragola is already easy for years.
Another unique, yet comfortable aspect was that it is actually pet-friendly. A rarity everywhere, but especially in Europe, and twice in Italy, there is always a find when I discover a place that I can actually travel with with my dog. As open and accepted as Europeans are generally dogs and can bring them on public transport, to bars and even to shops and restaurants in some places (thanks Switzerland), it is always strange and a little frustrating to hear that a hotel will accept me and not my pet. Thankfully not in this case, and I was grateful because I paid for a pet or actually leaving them pet in a kennel is quite expensive and costs almost as much a day as renting itself. If both you and your pet can be housed at night for the same price, the savings really make up and I always look at my wallet so that it does not lose too much on a trip.
The rooms are also decorated in the same state of the art as the rest of the structure, using interesting materials and color combinations that definitely transfix, yet quiet at the same time. I fell in love with the bathroom all decorated in black stone and knew exactly why my cousin booked it.
When it comes to Milan's nightlife ... yes, that's just unbeatable! At least not here in Italy. Milan offers a good rounded city, ranging from Irish pubs to elegant cocktail bars, discotheques, wine bars and English pubs, and definitely does not fit into the stereotype of Italian xenophobia. The sort here is really a refreshing, whether you're talking about food, nightlife or fashion, and this time, new aspects of the city were really exposed to me.
Of course, when this was, Ive always loved the subway, because it's so reliable that you can watch a clock at it, and so close to the Swiss border, you never have an excuse for being late. Public transport in Milan is definitely far ahead than in its sister cities across the country and cost-effective enough to be utilized as opposed to using taxis that you may need to do in some parts of Rome or other cities.
And the kitchen is really one thing not to miss. Risotto alla Milanese is absolutely delicious, and the tripe lover finds its oasis here. Piccata Milanese is also a good choice for chicken lovers.
Whether you are in Milan for business, pleasure, nightlife, fashion, art, or addressing a cousin, this is the best place I've stayed here. With its friendly, knowledgeable staff, multilingual possibilities and wonderful facilities, this place has really wowed and, above all, relaxed me ... and my dog also looked happy.