I visited Excelsior Hotel Gallia after just over a year since the anticipated re-opening. Italian architect Marco Piva has led the renovations of the historical hotel with a completely new, futuristic vision. Did he manage successfully with such a challenge? Most of all, how is the hotel positioning itself on Milan’s rapidly growing luxury hotel scene? Read on to find out…
A great mix of international and Italian businessmen, but I also met several tourists.
The black and white marble, with their sharp lines and silver inlays, “cut” the spaces and some create very peculiar light effects: the common areas feel grand and intimate at the same time. Not an easy feat!
The Staff is young but undoubtedly skillful, precise and smiley, flexible enough to understand and accommodate demanding guests (hello, it’s me!). This was particularly true at breakfast and lunch - see more in the Food & Drink section.
Something I never got to experience before was a fire alarm and consequent hotel evacuation… No one seemed to panic (the guest sitting next to me didn't want to leave his table because "my omelette is on the way!"), and the Staff managed the situation very well. It was nothing serious, luckily, and everything returned to normal in ten minutes or so. The grace and calm with which this was handled is telling of the entire experience.
The design is contemporary, essential yet extremely functional. Colours and furnishings change slightly in the Suites, most of which have a distinct personality. My favorites were the Art Suites located in the new wing of the hotel, with floor-to-ceiling windows and rolling panels which are used to separate living and bedroom.
Something I loved is that the high-tech devices are widely employed but absolutely “blonde-proof”(hello, it’s me again! :)) – very intuitive if not even automatic, like the sensors lighting up the corridor if you get out of bed when it’s dark.
Bathrooms are big, all in marble and most of them have a separate tub and shower. Many of the suites also feature a jacuzzi and turkish bath. Trussardi toiletries and the connected sound system make the whole experience even more enjoyable.
Something I found a bit uncomfortable is that my shower didn’t have a door that I could close completely.
Special mention inevitably goes to the Katara Suite, over 1,000 square metres plus over 250 of private terrace. This jewel occupies the entire last floor of the hotel and includes 4 bedrooms, a spa, outdoor Jacuzzi, meeting room and kitchen. You only need a budget of 20,000 Euro per night - not THAT crazy if you divide it by 8...
If the weather is good, the restaurant on the 7th floor with its panoramic terrace is a great spot to enjoy lunch or dinner with a view. The bar on the terrace is perfect for aperitivo and post-dinner drinks, served with amazing canapés and cool vibes from the live DJ set.
On the ground floor there’s the Lounge Bar – it has a nice, tranquil atmosphere, and is the place I chose as my working station in the afternoon and where I had lunch (14 euros for a salad sounded like a lot, but it was totally worth it for how good it looked and tasted!).
Service was extremely quick and accurate.