Milan | Palazzo Segreti

It may sound paradoxical, but a period palazzo bang in the bustling heart of Milan harbours what must be its coolest contemporary sanctuary. Palazzo Segreti is within shouting distance of Piazza della Scala. A handsome nineteenth-century building in Via San Tomaso, one imagines its original discreet interiors, elegant rooms and sober décor. And that’s what you get when you stay in this luxury hotel. But the hushed, intimate atmosphere’s been recreated with raw concrete walls, wood plank flooring and lots of gusty iron among the furnishings. Add to those a generous scattering of state-of-the-art design furniture in warm colours that sing but piano, and perfect soft lighting that enhances the mystery of the shadows, and voilà Hotel Palazzo Segreti.

It has 18 rooms, including 3 suites, spread over 4 floors. No two are the same, but they all have clean, simple lines, ultra-modern furnishings, hi-tech fittings, spacious, seductive bathrooms, and again that atmosphere of quiet and secrecy. And then there’s the lounge-cum-wine bar – complete with art exhibits provided by the Lia Rumma gallery – where the freshest and manically selected organic and craft products make up bounteous sweet and savoury breakfasts and light dinners of cold cuts and cheeses. Hotel Palazzo Segreti is the dream-turned-reality of Roberta and Francesco Tibaldi (marketing expert and designer respectively), their ideal guest house. They called in architects Antonio Brizzi and Babette Riefenstahl for the renovation.