Recently, I stayed at the Park Hyatt Hotel in Milan as a paying customer. I was astonished by the quite, yet elegant ambiance of this hotel in the middle of a hectic city. Hence, I would like to embark with you on a hotel tour with General Manager Claudio Ceccherelli, who was named the “Hotelier of the Year” in 2010 at the prestigious Virtuoso “Best of the Best” Hotel Awards Conference in Las Vegas.
Only a stone’s throw from Milan’s famous Piazza Duomo and directly attached to glamorous Galleria Vittorio Emanuele with its posh designer stores, you will find Park Hyatt Milano, a luxurious five star hotel discreetly awaiting distinguished ladies and gentlemen from all over the world. Now a hot spot for celebrities (I have spotted legendary Formula 1 manager Flavio Briatore and tenor Placido Domingo) and international business travelers alike, the hotel has been managed from its pre-opening by Claudio Ceccherelli, former director general of world famous Villa d’Este at Lake Como.
Ceccherelli has been the driving force behind the hotel’s success from the beginning, but he remembers well the first reactions of his friends and colleagues when he accepted the offer to manage Park Hyatt Milano. At the time, the hotel which was still under construction. Would an Italian hotelier with long-standing experience in managing the crown jewels of Italy’s hospitality industry (he is also a former member of the management of Hotel Danieli in Venice) be compatible with an American hotel chain?
“I decided to take the best of Hyatt’s international experience and merge it with my idea of contemporary luxury,” says Ceccherelli, smiling mildly. It has been a struggle to convince the American headquarters of his vision from time to time, but the result was worth the effort. Ceccherelli has created a true oasis in the heart of Milan, combining simple design with the highest level of service dedication. Dedication seems to be the magic ingredient in his personal success formula and the difference to other hotels becomes tangible when he takes you to the main entrance, points at the doorman and says: “The doorman does not simply open the door for our guests, he is the first person to welcome them at Park Hyatt”. Ever since returning from Milan after my hotel tour with Claudio Ceccherelli, I have put particular attention to the way doormen at luxury hotels perform and sadly most of them have failed the “Ceccherelli Test.”
Now that you have a better understanding of my host, let’s continue with the tour and follow Claudio, who is leading the way after restlessly waiting for the elevator to arrive. All rooms feature large bathrooms and spacious bedrooms, but Ceccherelli is particularly proud of their suites. Besides a dozen of regular and junior suites, the hotel features two equally impressive grand suites, the Presidential Suite and the Imperial Suite, each offering spacious rooms on 180m². Whilst the public areas of the hotel and the standard rooms are colored in shades of light sandy clay, the interior design of the suites takes you to the Saigon of colonial times. Dark wood, blackened glass planking and hand-selected pieces of furniture create a completely different, yet still modern and very comfortable atmosphere. Contemporary luxury, as Ceccherelli would call it.
The final stop of our tour is the bar and restaurant, which is located at the ground floor and allows for a discreet view of the people leaving the Gucci, Prada or Tod’s stores on the other side of the narrow street. Ceccherelli seems to have mastered all areas of the hospitality trade and wants the restaurant to offer a holistic experience, based on local produce, dishes and wines from the Piedmont region – yet still feature great wines from around the world for the distinguished wine lover. Only one drop of bitterness remains at the end of the tour: Ceccherelli personally keeps the cigars of frequent guests in his office, but due to strict Italian laws, the hotel cannot offer a smoking area. But keep in mind: every suite has a private balcony – some even overlooking Piazza Duomo.