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Francis Bown, Bown's Best

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See below for the latest April 2016 Reviews

Four Seasons Hotel Milan, Milan, Italy | Bown's Best


The Four Seasons Milan is my sort of hotel. It occupies a fascinating and historically important building in the via Gesù, a street which is also known as the via dell’Uomo – for it houses numerous emporia full of those (very) expensive gentlemen’s clothes for which the city is famous. This fashion district (in which there is much for ladies, too) is a delightful area. To be able to stay at its heart in what was in the 15th Century a cloistered convent feels like a privilege. Outside, there is the bustle and excitement of shopping; within, there is elegance and calm. The public rooms are luxurious, as you would expect, but the granite columns and the occasional fragment of fresco create a sublime aesthetic which is found in very few luxury hotels.

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Park Hyatt Milan, Milan, Italy | Bown's Best


The Park Hyatt Milan is a supremely sophisticated establishment at which one can rest easy in the knowledge that everything within its walls is of the very best. Indeed, it is in the top league of the world’s great hotels, with a fine General Manager (Mr Gorka Bergareche – pictured with your correspondent) and a brilliant chef (Mr Andrea Aprea, pictured). Moreover, it has the perfect location. First, it is quiet, and quietness is an absolute requirement for a luxury hotel. Second, it is central, and being at the heart of things is necessary in an important city like Milan. And third, it is close both to the magnificent gothic Duomo and to one of the finest opera houses in the world, La Scala. It is therefore always a joy for me, when I am in the capital of Lombardy, to be staying at the Park Hyatt Milan.

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The Restaurant, Armani Hotel Milano, Milan, Italy | Bown's Best


Where I proceed, the Michelin inspectors follow. The day after my visit to the dining room at the Armani Hotel in Milan, it was announced that a Michelin star had been awarded to the restaurant. Now, you might suppose that I am not perhaps the most obvious person to be found enthusing about a seriously modern ‘designer’ restaurant located in a seriously modern ‘designer’ hotel. But this establishment on the via Manzoni in the centre of the city is the sort of place that causes even the most determined reactionary – and I am pretty determined – to put aside his aversion to modernity and enjoy its remarkable pleasures. I certainly did. I suspect you will, too.

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See also Dining in France & American Farm to Table

Francis Bown 2003
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