A FAST train service has recently been launched between Milan and Rome, with a duration time of just under three hours. I am able to trawl the designer stores to indulge my inner passions in Milan then feast my eyes on architectural wonders to feed my soul in Rome. And in both cities, I will be staying at iconic properties that form part of the glossy Dorchester Collection portfolio of hotels.
First stop is Milan. I am staying at Principe di Savoia, a smart historic hotel with a neoclassical façade that dates back to 1896, centrally located and taking centre stage on Piazza della Repubblica. Behind, skyscrapers within the newly developed business district of Porto Nuova dominate, and a 10-minute stroll away heading south leads me to the D’Uomo and the designer boutiques within the Quadrilatero d’Oro.
Hotel Principe di Savoia Presidential Suite Pool
This location is ideal for the business or leisure traveller, and becomes my oasis of calm within this pulsating city, due primarily to its cosseting yet unfussy service and also, Club 10, one of the largest hotel spa’s in Milan. Complete with a sizable indoor pool, copious amounts of treatment cabins, steam room and sauna, gym with floor-to-ceiling glass windows, plus its unique spa terrace, from where I watch the sunset envelop the city in a golden hue.
301 rooms and suites are offered in a variety of categories. Featuring velvet furnishings, brocade drapes with bulky tassles and embossed wallpapers, each one evokes a sense of drama and nods to the hotel’s proximity to the world-renowned La Scala Opera house. Bathrooms are heavy on Italian marble, with mosaic floors and Acqua di Parma amenities. Its jewel in the crown, however, has to be the tastefully ostentatious three-bedroomed Presidential Suite, with frescoes, artworks, and a Pompeii-style swimming pool.
Hotel Principe di Savoia Acanto Showkitchen
Culinary offerings include Acanto Restaurant, under the steerage of chef Alessandro Buffolin, a smart Milanese restaurant that draws locals and hotel guests alike. The buzzy lobby-lounge, Il Salotto serves light bites throughout the day, and the Principe Bar is the spot for people watching – especially with the resident DJ who together with the crowd – create an electric atmosphere.
View from Club 10 at Principe di Savoia
View from Hotel Principe di Savoia at dusk
Fast forward two days and I am on the lunchtime train to Rome, where I’m anticipating a historic feast and a majestic stone lion on every corner. I check in to the swoon-worthy Hotel Eden, which was extensively and tastefully renovated a few years ago. French architects and interior designers Bruno Moinard and Claire Bétaille of Moinard Bétaille were responsible for the dramatic overhaul, and pay homage to the city with mosaic-inspired flooring, intricate gold-panelled ceilings, marble carvings and imagery of ancient maps and water-colours of historic Roman views.
Located moments from The Borghese Gardens and in close proximity to the Spanish Steps and the boutiques and restaurants surrounding Piazza di Spagna, this hotel is perfectly situated to tour the city, with a riot of historic sights including Trevi Fountain, Pantheon and the famed Via Veneto in walking distance.
Hotel Eden Lobby
Each of the luxuriously spacious 98 guestrooms and suites are graciously furnished in elegant neutral shades and feature beds adorned with a zillion thread count linen. Bathrooms feature staggeringly beautiful curved-edged white marble vanity units and sunken baths are adorned with shiny gold fittings, with copious amounts of Bottega Veneta amenities adding to the uber-indulgent feel.
As I climb the stairs to reach the hotel’s two stand-out rooftop restaurants, I’m dazzled by the wall of fame that wraps around two flights, showcasing photographs of the notable guests who have stayed here – from International royalty and dignitaries to A-listers from around the globe.
Hotel Eden, II Giardino Ristorante
II Giardino Ristorante, the casual dining eatery, features an outside terrace and clear views across to St Mark’s Basilica. The culinary journey continues with Michelin-starred fine dining restaurant La Terrazza, steered by chef Fabio Ciervo. With the panoramic architectural wonders of the city spread out beneath me, the magnificent Hotel Eden’s perfect location can truly be appreciated from up here.
by Amanda Bernstein
Hotel Principe di Savoia
Starting price: €300 per night during low season.
Website: Hotel Principe di Savoia – 5-star luxury | Dorchester Collection How to book: By phone: +39 (0)2 62301. By email: reservations.PDS@ dorchestercollection.com.
Hotel Eden, Rome
Starting price: €640 per night during low season.
Website: Hotel Eden – luxury 5-star hotel in Rome | Dorchester Collection How to book: By phone: +39 (0)6 478121. By email: reservations.HER@ dorchestercollection.com.