International: Renovated 1930s Landmark Reopens in Milan

Starwood Hotels & Resorts is reopening an old hotel in the second-fastest growing tourist destination among Europe's major cities.

By Balazs Szekely, Associate EditorRenovated 30s Landmark Reopens in Milan

The 235-key Excelsior Hotel Gallia in Milan is reopening after a series of comprehensive renovations and the addition of a wholly new contemporary wing, Starwood Hotels & Resorts announced.

Formerly known as ‘Palace Gallia,’ the building joined the hotel giant’s Luxury Collection Hotels & Resorts portfolio about a year ago. According to an earlier announcement, Starwood expected to reopen it last November. The facility is owned by Katara Hospitality.

Milan is located in Italy’s northern Lombardy region and the city’s diversified architecture, its history dating back before Christian times and the region’s unique gastronomy attracts millions of visitors each year. The city also enjoys significant tourist traffic due to annual events such as the Italian Grand Prix of the Formula 1 taking place every year in the Park in Monza and the Milan Fashion Week held a year. It ranked 14th on the list of Europe’s most popular tourist destinations, according to a study published last year by European Cities Marketing. Milan was also the second-fastest growing tourist destination among Europe’s major cities, up 8.2 percent from 2012 with close to 10 million overnight stays in 2013.

The renovation is part of a €300 million (approximately $327 million) investment to restore The Luxury Collection brand’s most iconic hotels in Europe and the Middle East. With Studio Marco Piva, a Milan-based award-winning group having led the design and architecture concept, Excelsior Hotel Gallia now offers a fusion of today’s visual trends in a new steel-and-glass wing, with the Belle Époque architectural style of the original building constructed in 1932.

The 235 guest units include 51 suites revolving around five distinct themes as well as two special residences. The two-bedroom Gallia Suite resembles a high-class private residence with a loggia surrounded by historical columns and statues, while the 1,000-square-meter Katara Suite on the seventh floor is one of the largest presidential suites in Italy, with two terraces, four bedrooms and a private spa. Also on the seventh floor, a roof-top bar and signature restaurant called Terrazza Gallia is set to open this September, with three-Michelin Star chefs Enrico and Roberto Cerea in charge of the culinary experience.