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Review: the ME Milan Il Duca hotel, Italy

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This is my review of the ME Milan Il Duca hotel, operated by Melia Hotels International.

If you’ve been to Milan before, you know that this city is a popular weekend break destination with a number of high end hotel options, including a Four Seasons, Park Hyatt and the new Armani Hotel.

Last year, just in time for EXPO 2015, another luxury hotel opened its doors – the ME Milan Il Duca.  London-based readers are most likely to know the ME brand from its Norman Foster-designed property on The Strand which has a popular rooftop bar.

I (Anika, not Rob) flew to Italy for a weekend to have a look at the hotel.  With American Express Platinum cardholders now receiving free Gold status in the Melia Rewards programme, the chain is worth considering more closely.  This is especially true for weekend breaks where the guaranteed 4pm check-out for Gold members would be handy.

You can also earn Avios points via Iberia Plus for Melia stays.

Long term readers will know that Head for Points has worked closely with Melia on a couple of projects, including a major competition in 2014.  Melia provided HfP with two free nights at ME Milan Il Duca but we paid all of our other expenses including flights and incidental hotel charges.


Where is the ME Milan Il Duca hotel?

The ME Milan Il Duca is right at the Piazza della Repubblica, one of Italy’s largest squares which was originally built in 1865 to accomodate Milan central station. In 1931 the station was moved 1km north but is still only about a 10 minute walk from the hotel.

The ME Milan is just around the corner from the fashion district and the Porta Venezia area with Milan’s biggest park, planetarium and the Natural History Mueum. The Duomo di Milano is about 2km from the hotel and the yellow metro line takes you there within 10 minutes.

The hotel has got 132 rooms including 34 suites, a steak restaurant and two bars.  The flair of the hotel is very young, fresh and modern without trying too hard – imagine a more civilised version of a ‘W’.

Getting there

I flew into Milan Linate and was told at the airport that a taxi to the hotel would be €75.  Not keen to wreck the HFP expense account, I decided to take the bus into town (€1.50) and then the tube.  On my way back I took a normal taxi from the hotel to the aiport and only paid €21.  Don’t be fooled by the fixed price taxis at the airport as even with traffic they seem to be overpriced.  

Another tip, if you don’t speak Italian, is to not use the first cash machine in the arrival area as this machine does not speak English. Walk a bit further to the right and use that ATM.

Check in

Checking in was quick and efficient. A receptionist explained the operation of the lifts (first choose the level on a touch screen then scan your card for approval), showed me my room and told me how to use the aircon.

Rooms at ME Milan Il Duca

My room was on the 8th floor with a view over the city of Milan.  The category was Mode, which is the 2nd room category up. I got to have a look at all of the other categories and took some pictures as you will see later in this review.

This was the view from my window:

ME Milan room window view

The room was very bright during the day. Don’t forget to shut the blackout curtains before you go to bed if you want to have a lie in!

The round table in the picture below (topped with delicious cupcakes when I arrived) was the only table in the room, which wasn’t ideal for working.  ME Milan has joined the ‘no desks’ trend unfortunately.

The ‘socket situation’ was not great. There was one at the bottom end of the bed but in order to charge my laptop whilst using it I had to move the table. The other socket was next to the TV which would have required me to climb over the cable.  More handy were the sockets next to the bedside tables which were handy for charging my phone overnight.

The wifi speed was OK and definitely not as slow as at the SLS Beverly Hills. I didn’t check Netflix (I simply forgot) but You Tube videos were loading just fine.  Some hotels – not this one, I should stress – need to realise that there is no point designing a property for the ‘young or young at heart’ generation and then putting in slow wifi.

ME Milan room bed 2

The TV had lots of international channels with the English ones being mainly news. If you want to find out what German TV is like – and I do not recommend this – you can choose from one of the 10 channels which are especially awful from around midday until early evening.  There was also an option on the TV to listen to music playlists, of which I very much enjoyed the Alternative one, and a USB port which lets you connect your own devices to the screen.

ME Milan room TV sofa wardrobe

The bathroom had a sliding door which could be opened completely to connect the bathtub and sink with the rest of the room. Open bathrooms seem to be a thing these days. However I can see the advantage of the sliding door as it doesn’t take up any space in the room.

ME Milan room bathtub bed

The toilet and bidet were behind a separate door opposite the shower.

ME Milan bathroom 2

I liked the toiletries but the smell may be a bit too smell intense for some.

The room had no kettle but an espresso machine, which is way more important!  The capsules were by Illy and, whilst very strong, the coffee was good.

ME Milan coffee machine

The mini bar had everything for those evening and midnight cravings but I recommend checking out the hotel’s bars instead (more on that in part two of my review).

ME Milan minibar

The open wardrobe had a good amount of hangers but no closed space as the two drawers were taken up by the safe, hair dryer, slippers etc. This meant that most of my clothes had to stay in the suitcase throughout my stay.

ME Milan wardrobe

What about the other room types?

ME Milan Il Duca has 5 different room categories: Aura, Mode, Chic Suite, Personality Suite and ME Suite, of which the lattter combine to form the Presidential Suite.

I was given a tour of the different room options.  Here is a picture of the standard room, Aura.  Aura and Mode differ only slightly in size as the Aura doesn’t have a sofa.

ME Milan Aura first category

This is another room in the Mode category. As you can see the bed, sofa and table arrangement is exactly as in my room.

ME Milan Mode 2nd category

ME Milan Il Duca’s junior suite is called the Chic Suite and has got a room divider between the living and sleeping area.

ME Milan chic suite room devider

Unlike in the first two categories the bathroom in the Chic Suite is made of marble:

ME Milan Chic Suite bathroom

This is the living room area of the Personality Suite:

ME Milan personality suite - presidential suite

This is the suite’s private terrace.

ME Milan presidential suite terrace

The ME Suite is bigger than the Personality Suite and has got a pool table and also a private terrace.

ME Milan ME suite - presidential suite pool table

The Presidential Suite is created from the Personality and ME suites combined.  When booked as the Presidential Suite the two terraces become one large one. There are also two separate bedrooms next to the suites that can be booked with the suite to sleep eight people in total. I was told that the Presidential Suite is more likely to be booked for private parties and events rather than for overnight stays.

My thoughts …. Part 1

If Melia is looking to target the millennial market with the design and style of its rooms then it did a good job – at least with this millennial.  Everything within the hotel seemed in perfect harmony.

The restaurant and bar were great fun – more on that in the second part of my review of the ME Milan Il Duca which is also published today.

If you want more information on ME Milan Il Duca, the official hotel website is here.

How to get MeliaRewards Gold status from American Express

How to get MeliaRewards Gold status from American Express (July 2024)

Do you know that holders of The Platinum Card from American Express receive FREE MeliaRewards Gold status for as long as they hold the card?  It also comes with Marriott Bonvoy Gold, Hilton Honors Gold and Radisson Rewards Premium status.

We reviewed American Express Platinum in detail here and you can apply here.

You can discover the benefits of MeliaRewards Gold status on the Melia website here. It includes three vouchers per year worth 20% off any booking.

The Platinum Card from American Express

40,000 bonus points AND (to 27th August) £400 to spend at Amex Travel Read our full review

Small business owners may want to consider American Express Business Platinum instead:

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and an annual £200 Amex Travel credit Read our full review

(Want to earn more hotel points?  Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Offers’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

Comments (17)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Genghis says:

    Good review Anika. Now is it just me but is Milan a bit of a boring city?

    • harry says:

      It’s pleasant enough but yes, rather ‘manufacturing’. Food, drink, amusement are all great. Somewhat lacking the charm of many other Italian cities. The gateway to some wonderful parts of Italy if you hire a car.

    • anikaanika99 says:

      It depends on which side of Milan you want to see. I went to the canal which is an interesting area with its flea markets and little cafes. There are also quite a few nice parks in Milan. Like any city you can either go for the main tourist attractions and freak out because of crowds, or find out about where the locals go.

      • harry says:

        I lived in Italy for a year and speak passably good Italian as a consequence. Milan is OK but if I had to rank Italian cities I’d like to return to, it would not be in the top 10. There’s no UK equivalent, it’s not really Manchester and certainly not Birmingham – nothing like those. Maybe a bit like Lille? But with Italian-ness.

        Put it this way: I’d rather go to Bologna – and Bologna is not that special compared to the others. However, Milan is indeed a great city in terms of size & offering everything.

  • Bluejosh says:

    Excellent, detailed review and the hotel looks decent.

    When you talk about the sofa in your room do you mean the thing with cushions on at the end of the bed? If so it looks like one of those terrible pieces of furniture that you can never really get comfortable on, (far too deep and no back) unless you’re flat on your back. In which case you may as well stay on your bed!

    Also please don’t start using buzzwords like “Millennials”in these articles – I work in the media and think I’ll explode if I hear/read that word one more time!

    • harry says:

      Yep – I gen y don’t get it!

      • Raffles says:

        Confession – I put that in during editing. I doubt Anika would use the word herself (in the same way I wouldn’t call myself middle aged in print!).

    • anikaanika99 says:

      The sofa was actually surprisingly comfy. There were some kind of a metal backrests covered with the cushions you could properly lean against.

  • Tai says:

    Thanks for the detailed review. This hotel is off my list: no desk, no guest!
    And who needs to ‘completely to connect the bathtub and sink with the rest of the room’?
    So that the room is also steamy after a shower? You can watch your partner sitting on the loo? At least there is still a door What are these designers thinking? Are they ever talking to real guests?

    This is another useless fad that will hopefully die out soon (same as the idiocy of having only a half glass door covering the tub, therefore flooding the whole bathroom after every shower).

  • PJK says:

    I enjoyed the review, but sadly for me the absence of a kettle is a terrible bugbear (I know they are few & far between outside the UK anyway but …). I recently stayed at the Village in Glasgow (not one of my top choices) for the first time, it had a very fancy looking coffee machine but no kettle – no good for those of us who cannot drink coffee. I know it’s very popular, but surely a kettle would not be too much to ask?!

    • Rob says:

      They may be able to rustle one up on request – as you say, minimal interest in them from non- Brits!

      Pretty sure other nationalities would have their own wish list – Germans do not share duvets for example, you have two singles on your bed.

  • JohnD says:

    There is a fixed fare from the other larger airport, Malpensa, to Milan which is 90EUR as the airport is located far away from the city centre (it’s better value to take the train to one of the 2 central stations).
    However, a taxi to Linate is always paid by the meter and for me it has never exceeded 25EUR.

  • Alex says:

    I saw 4-2-1 voucher mentioned for Melia … is there any link for more details ? Also is it for all who have amex plat ?

    Btw , with 4-2-1 for Radission , I found that it is actually cheaper to book 2 days via this option that 1 night even if you stay for only 1 in some cases … for instance if booking saturday-sunday night … you can book Friday-Sunday have early checkin on Saturday … and they give free night for sat-sun , but you only pay for fri-sat rate which is usually cheaper …

  • Denis says:

    Anika, thank you for the review. I’m frequent to Milan and have been staying at Melia Milan for years. Next time if I can grab a good rate I’ll give ME a try. The design and finishes of rooms looks a bit different from ME properties in London, Madrid and Vienna (which was build as ME and then reflagged as Melia).

    Rob, I stayed in newly opened Innside New York late April. It’s the first Melia hotel in New York and it’s pretty good (great value for money). If you want I can do a “reader review” for HFP. I think it might be interesting for many of your readers.

    • Rob says:

      Anika and I both in New York over the next three months so one of us may well get a chance to try out the new INNSIDE. The re-opened InterContinental Barclay will get a visit as well.

  • Fenny says:

    I don’t mind the lack of kettle as long as there’s some form of coffee machine with sufficient coffee. The last place I stayed (Doubletree, Amsterdam) upgraded me to a very swanky double room with a Nespresso machine with no instructions and 3 coffee pods. After ruining the first pod, I googled the instructions, but was short of caffeinated beverages.

    • anikaanika99 says:

      I’ve had to google (or rather youtube) coffee machine instructions before using them. Especially those Starbucks ones with take away cups I found in America were a bit confusing – How does a huge teabag like coffee pad fit into a four times smaller hole???

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