WESTIN PALACE Milan, Italy
Although not included in Marriott International‘s luxury portfolio of brands, few Westin Hotel branded properties are actually of a luxury standard. In both cities, the strategic decision and choice of the Westin brand has been justified because of the relatively smaller sized rooms (also small bathrooms) and the fact that both hotels can thus attract corporate hotel guests, especially those that are restricted by corporate policy to stay on business trips at luxury hotels.
Despite the uninviting 1950′ industrial style red-brick building and facade with its small windows which do not open, Westin Palace Milan provided a pleasant surprise not only with its amazing location (walking distance to Stazione Centrale) and less than 100 meters from the metro station, but also with its impeccably renovated rooms and heavenly comfortable beds.
But most importantly I was impressed with the high quality standard of its customer service. Throughout all departments, all the staff I encountered had a genuine attitude and pleasure to serve. Although none of the staff would recognise me by name (otherwise a luxury standard), they all made an effort to remember my preferences. The highlight of the F&B offering of the hotel, its ‘beating heart’ is The Lounge, a lavishly decorated luxurious space with its versatile use – ideal for a coffee, light lunch, a cocktail or watching a football game. The only drawback is the lack of a proper Spa – there is a fitness / gym and one Spa treatment room.
Adjacent to the world-class Elbphilharmonie in the port area of the city, which includes several state-of-the-art concert halls – one of the largest and most acoustically sophisticated in the world, Westin Hamburg occupies the top floors of the building which houses the concert halls. Given its location and rather bohemian neighbourhood, the choice of Westin was strategic given that the wealthy music lovers who would attend a concert, would stay at one of Hamburg’s luxury hotels downtown on the Lake Alster, such as Fairmont Vier Jahreszeiten Hamburg, Kempinski Atlantic or the recently opened The Fontenay Hamburg.
Given its location, a corner room or a suite, gives away a unique feel as being of a cruise ship rather than in a hotel, surrounded by water but also watching ships and boats pass by. The highest floor of the hotel also boasts its stunning high-floor suites which provide floor-to ceiling windows. Bathrooms are rather small and the furnishings quality, especially the furniture is not luxury – a fair expectation from a Westin branded hotel. The main restaurant is obviously more about the views than the food. However, I could not help but notice, at dinner, that most tables were occupied, clients having pre-concert dinners – most of them locals.
As this was a brief stay, I did not get the chance to experience the Spa, the indoor pool and the Bar. Hopefully, on a future occasion I shall also make sure I attend a concept at the concert hall.
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