Hotel of the Moment

Palazzo moderne

Designer Ed Tuttle brings the same sensational modernism to Milan's new Park Hyatt that he does, most famously and at his very best, to the many Amanresorts he's designed throughout the world. It is, as those fickle fashionistas, who recently decamped here during the January men's ready-to-wear shows declared, "Genius!"

For anyone who ever thought of Milan as a drab, gray, industrial city up north, the Park Hyatt instantly dissuades: Even the most jet-lagged traveler looks instantly refreshed upon checking in, thanks to Tuttle's subtly ingenious lighting. Having completely gutted a 19th-century office building and refitted it with clean Armani-esque minimalism via travertine walls, Tuttle says he wanted to give this Park Hyatt (he also did the one in Paris) a masculine feel. And so he has—but not at the expense of alienating the opposite sex, especially those women aesthetically inclined. Whether male or female, who wouldn't fall in love with the oversized bathrooms, with their walk-in showers and deep tubs? Some 40 percent of the square footage in the 91 standard rooms is, in fact, given over to the bathrooms.

Milan's nearby Galleria Vittorio Emanuele was obviously an inspiration: A circular lobby-cum-dining area has its own towering 30-foot dome with surrounding banquettes upholstered in magenta-colored silks. The restaurant, too, is breathtaking—if, on our visit, more for the sheer luxe of its shimmering wall of beaded curtains and flawless service than for our scarily undercooked tuna (we love sashimi, but this was something else again).

If it's the over-the-top romance of a Verdi opera or the deep, rich palette of rococo portraiture you crave, the Park Hyatt is not your cup of double espresso. It's all divinely comfortable, but in a modern austere vernacular. We loved the high-speed Internet ready and waiting for us and the Bang & Olufsen everything. And for those who travel aplenty, the Park Hyatt is a homecoming of sorts: General manager Claudio Ceccherelli is formerly of the Villa d'Este and thus impeccably schooled in providing all manner of comfort, service, and luxury. Food and beverage manager Massimo Dorino and marketing whiz kid Andrea Filippi were snatched from the Four Seasons; and anyone who's ever stayed down the via Manzoni at the Grand Hotel will instantly recognize chief concierge Mario Eroico.

The Park Hyatt opened in October, and there were, on our visit three months later, still things to come: for example, a fully developed spa and fitness center, and art work for the lobby. The much anticipated arrival of a Gerhard Richter painting was, unfortunately, derailed at the last minute due to its uninsurability. Fully apparent, however, was that Milan now has a piece of architecture as welcoming as it is appealing. Rates, $565-$6,750. At One Via Tommaso Grossi; 39-02-8821-1234;

Hotel prices show high-season rates from the least expensive double to the most expensive suite.