Sleep - September 2012
Armani Hotel Milano
Via Manzoni 31, Milan, +39 02 8883 8888, www.milan.armanihotels.com
Words Kathryn Tomasetti
Long considered a place of pilgrimage by fashionistas, Milan's chicest neighbourhood is the Quadrilatero d'Oro, meaning golden rectangle. This sleek precinct offers boutiques plentiful enough to make a credit card quiver: La Perla, Prada, Gucci, Versace and Trussardi among them. But now one of Milan's most famous fashion brands is pulling in profits from pyjamas.
The November 2011 launch of Armani Hotel Milano comes hot on the heels of this iconic label's first successful hotel venture in Dubai in 2010. At the northern end of Via Montenapoleone, Armani Hotel Milano teeters atop Via Manzoni 31, a 1930s palazzo-turned-Armani-superstore.
Inside Armani Hotel Milano's low-lit foyer you'll be met by your designated lifestyle manager, then whizzed upstairs for a personalised check-in. Then it's off to one of the 95 refined guestrooms and suites - each one's décor a bouquet of inky-black furnishings against a backdrop of palest silk Georgette limestone. The wonderful top floor infinity pool beckons for a late afternoon swim or guests can book a romantic treatment for two in the Armani/SPA's dedicated Couples Suite.
The hotel's heavenly seventh floor is open to non-guests too.
At the Armani/Bamboo Bar, perfectly coiffed patrons sip aperitivi cocktails or tiny bottles of Armani water. As night falls, the adjacent Armani/Ristorante provides gourmet dining, its glass walls providing floor-to-ceiling panoramas of the city. Doubles from €450.
Crowne Plaza Copenhagen Towers
Oerestads Boulevard 114-118, Copenhagen, +45 8877 6655, www.cpcopenhagen.dk
Words Abigail Bresman
It could only be in Copenhagen, Hans Christian Anderson's city of fairy tales, that the impossible could happen: a four-star hotel not just beautifully designed, but eco-conscious, and so much so, it is considered one of the world's most sustainable hotels.
The Crowne Plaza Copenhagen Towers soars over the suburb of Orestad, a 10-minute metro ride from the city centre.
Among its many eco-friendly features, the Dissing & Weitling-designed hotel claims northern Europe's largest building-integrated solar panel park and the world's first groundwater-based climate control. But green can still be stylish: rooms are spacious and light, featuring huge wardrobes and classic contemporary Danish furnishings by Paustian. The larger Club rooms offer access to the hotel's executive Club Room and the upper-level rooms overlook the sea and the Amager Faelled meadows, with views over downtown Copenhagen in the distance. For fitness buffs there is also a gym.
The hotel serves an abundant buffet breakfast and the Storm restaurant features Danish cuisine using mostly organic, local ingredients, accompanied by a fine selection of biodynamic wines. For a large hotel, the staff are remarkably attentive, affording the kind of personalised care generally found in smaller places. Underfloor heating, signature bedding and aromatherapy sprays to help you sleep are the kinds of additional touches likely to ensure that guests return. Doubles from €162.
Rue Royale 250, Belgium, +32 (0)2 220 66 11, www.hotelbloom.com
Words CLodagh Kinsella
Brussels can claim one of the most exciting art scenes in the world right now, making Hotel BLOOM! - located a short stroll from arts hub BOZAR - the ideal spot for a cultural getaway. Back in 2007, the canny proprietors invited 287 young artists to paint bloom-inspired frescoes on the walls of each room, ensuring guests enjoy a condensed panorama of emerging European art.
The rooms - which begin at a spacious 30m2 and extend to lofts with cute duplexes - exude levels of style that are definitely beyond the reach of the average budget hotel. Besides the unique designs above the beds (searchable according to art school, design theme or floor on the hotel's fresco database), the reigning aesthetic is Scandinavian chic. There are ergonomic desk chairs, 1970s-style furniture, and large windows revealing the city skyline.
Although the mod-cons also err on the minimal side (Grab & Go vending machines downstairs rather than room service) BLOOM! manages to outperform its nearest rivals in more than just the style stakes. Guests can use the free WiFi to check out the hotel's hip online Brussels' guide Bloomilicious, and there are lush red apples awaiting on arrival.
After hitting the top-floor fitness centre, artistically minded Eurocrats mingle with the style set in the restaurant and music bar, Smoods, adjoining reception. The moody lounge-style space offers weekly performances by top Brussels DJs and eclectic international bands, alongside industrial strength gin and tonics. Large rooms from €69.