Lodging Review: the unabashedly old-fashioned Marriott Milan
There have been a lot of innovations in hotels in the last couple of decades, from big things like making lobby spaces more multifunctional - integrating lounge space, restaurant space, and check-in space for example - to simpler things like getting rid of highly decorative wallpaper and heavy drapes for a cleaner look.
In fact, last year I stayed at the Moxy Milan Malpensa hotel for a night during Design Week, and absolutely loved it. A new brand from Marriott, Moxy hotels try to give you just what you need, no more, no less. So arriving on a late flight, I was glad there were local food and drink options right in the lobby/check-in-desk/bar. The room was small but I didn't lack for any more space, being just a short layover. The bathroom was great. I really feel like they studied travel habits well and designed the hotel around the experience.
What hotel hasn't apparently changed in the decades? The Marriott Milan.
I stepped into the lobby, after a long walk down a carpeted outdoor walkway, and came into a space of the likes I hadn't seen in a long time. Separate roped-off lounge bar, lobby restaurant through double doors, a separate business center, and this heavy, classical decor!
The room was just as old-fashioned, with highly decorative, dark-hued carpet and drapes. Wallpaper. And a kind of odd layout. The room was actually a pretty good size, but the bed was tucked into the corner, while a twin sofa-bed and a pedestal table sat awkwardly in the middle area.
The bathroom had interesting faux-wood panelling throughout... including in the shower!
I chose the Marriott Milan because hotel prices go completely through the roof during Design Week, or are completely full. The Marriott Milan was still available using points, with a normal cancellation policy. While it might not have been the best use of points during a regular week, especially a combination of points transferred from United MileagePlus and Chase, it was a fantastic value the two nights I stayed here: instead of a room rate of $1100 for two nights, I paid 35,000 points plus $160. So a value of 2.7 cents per point - pretty cool.
In a partnership with United, Marriott also gives Premier Gold members Gold status in Marriott Rewards. I was welcomed with a box of chocolates!
Other ways Marriott Gold status paid off: I could use the Executive Lounge the morning I arrived, even before my room was available. The Lounge here is but a small room that's attended during breakfast hours, but is otherwise unattended. Not spectacular, but good for a coffee and pastry in the morning.
The free breakfast daily was great. I chose to take breakfast in the restaurant rather than the small lounge, and there was a big variety of food.
The omelette guy is particularly skilled, making very light, moist omelettes! A disappointment was the coffee machine instead of a barista making coffee. When I've stayed in smaller, more family-type hotels that include breakfast, usually the lounge attendant made coffee.
I used Gold benefits up until the very last minute: I requested 4pm late checkout, which was granted without hesitation. This meant I could leave my bags in the room and valuables in the safe all day until it was time to leave for the train station.
A word about location: it's not the best location for Design Week. You're kind of walking distance to the Tortona area, but to get to other parts of Milan you do need to take the bus or walk to the metro. The busses stops right outside: the 61 (which goes to the Triennale), or the 50/58. You can also take a 10 minute walk to the Wagner station on the M1 line, but the problem is that the M1 line branches right before that stop, so the frequency isn't so great. To go to Rho Fiera, you can walk 5 minutes past the Wagner station to get to the Buonarroti station on the other branch, for a straight shot to Rho Fiera. Late at night, a bus takes over the M1 line and stops at Buonarroti, so it is still possible to get around through the wee hours of the night (or morning). The benefits of this location are that the area feel quite local - a wonderful florist diagonally across the street from the hotel, i Fiori di Marta, came to my rescue one morning (long story) -, and a huge Esselunga supermarket is directly facing the Marriott.
I definitely got a great value out of the points and money I spent, and would stay again for Design Week if I could get that rate again.
Via Washington, 66