Milan may not seem like the obvious choice for a romantic getaway, but with the historical buildings as well as several idyllic retreats on the edge of the Lombard countryside, Italy's fashion capital definitely has a romantic side to it. Here’s where to take your loved one to sweep them off their feet.
Play princes and princesses for the night in Antica Locanda dei Mercanti (Via San Tomaso 6m 0039 02 805 4080), a gorgeous palazzo set near landmarks such as Castello Sforzesco, Teatro alla Scala and Il Duomo. The rooms are elegant and stylish, but also have an unfussy, homely feel. There are no public spaces so you can expect utter, untrammelled privacy within this fine property. For the most luxury, choose one of the four uniquely designed rooms on the third floor, with large windows letting in plenty of light until sunset, and your own terrace. Antica Locanda dei Mercanti is a true oasis of tranquillity in the heart of the frantic city.
If you fancy holing yourself up in your own personal castle with the one you love, look no farther than Chateau Monfort (Corso Concordia 1, 0039 02 776761). With rooms inspired by legendary operas and ballets, you can expect lavish suites, with attic rooms offering spectacular views over the city. The hotel boasts its own expansive spa, with a Turkish bath, sauna, ice fountain and salt-water pool. The chateau is especially ideal for honeymooners and the special honeymoon package comes with spa access, sparkling wine and a basket of fruit on arrival as well as rose petals strewn across the bed.
Perfect for couples in search of a bit of privacy, this tiny boutique property a stone's throw from Chateau Monfort is just the ticket. Situated in the same tranquil Monforte district in the northeast of the city, the Foresteria Monforte (Piazza del Tricolore 2, 0039 02 7600 8952) is a new kind of hotel. Opened in 2005 in a 19th-century apartment, there are only three rooms. The hotel is marked by its restrained yet edgy design. Starck chairs and lamps meet antique furniture and Bisazza tiling in the bathroom. You don’t even need to leave your room for breakfast as your a sumptuous continental feast is delivered to your door. Should you wish to pop out to buy something for the one you love, you'll be pleased to know that the hotel is located in the fashion district Quadrilatero do'Oro.
Head out of the city centre and you'll soon realise just how much idyllic Lombard countryside surrounds Milan. A great base from which to explore hand in hand, or simply soak up the natural beauty, is Cascina Caremma (Via Cascina Caremma 2, 0039 02 905 0020). It calls itself an agriturismo but this place is all about rustic luxury. An old Lombard stately home that still boasts its own working farm, the hotel is situated in the village of Besate in the Ticino Valley, a forty-five minute drive southwest of Milan. The simple but elegant rooms are based around a pleasant central courtyard. The suites have tiled floors, timber-beam ceilings, wooden furnishings and four-poster beds that you won’t want to leave in a hurry.
Based in Piazza della Repubblica near one of the main train stations, Westin Palace (Piazza della Repubblica 20, 0039 02 63361) may not seem like an ideal choice for a romantic getaway. But apart from being based near Milan's best shopping spots and one of the city's rare green spaces, Giardini Pubblici Indro Montanelli, the palatial property itself offers near unmatched comfort. The staff go out of their way to make you feel like visiting royalty, offering almost every indulgence you could ask for. An impressive see-and-be-seen crowd invariably populates the foyer and it’s the perfect vibe if you’re hoping to impress. Suites are generally vast, with in-room massages and luxurious beauty treatments on offer.
If you want easy access to Milan's myriad offerings with a slice of country living to boot, try Hotel Borgo Nuovo (via San Benardo 36, 0039 02534647). With its trendy, modern furnishings and design, it brings a design feel to the traditional agriturismo format. Rooms are elegant-retro style with 1960s furniture and private terraces. One of the bars is set up like an old school room complete with desks and chalkboard and in winter the elegant restaurant is kept warm by a blazing fire. The hotel is a haven from the edginess and pace of Milan city life, with pretty outdoor terraces for dining, lounging and drinking beneath starlight.
The clue is in the name. Palazzo Segreti (via San Tomaso 8, 0039 0249529250) is a 'secret palace' in the heart of Milan, situated between Il Duomo and Castello Sforzeco. This beautiful boutique property is hardly noticeable from the outside, but inside the interior of dark wood floors, original paintings and sensitive lighting makes for a warm, romantic setting that will make you and your loved one feel like Milanese sophisticates. The elegant reception area is home to several art works, while the 18 individually designed rooms radiate style and comfort. Breakfast is one of the hotel's standout features. Expect homemade cakes, fresh pastries and bread, as well as organic cheeses and hams. The small bar is great for snuggling into a corner for a furtive glass of wine with your partner.