Leighton Luke checks into the Luxury Collection Hotel Excelsior Gallia, in Milan.


Piazza Duca D'Aosta, next to the imposing and over-the-top grandeur of the 1930s Milano Centrale railway station.

How Big? Not too big: 182 rooms and 53 suites spread across seven storeys in a new wing and the original 1932 wing, with its art nouveau-inspired exterior and remodelled art deco interior.

Room: An Art Suite: an uber-modern 55sq m corner room, on the fifth floor with a great view over the piazza, Centrale station and the Pirelli Tower. The only downside is that the room is so full of the latest high-tech gadgets that it is awash in all manner of little coloured lights when the main lights are switched off.


Price: Entry-level Prestige Rooms start at $428 per night but I received an upgrade to an Art Suite in recognition for having platinum level status in the Starwood Preferred Guest programme. Depending on the time of year, the Art Suites range from around $1050 to more than $2400 per night.

Check-in experience: It was a quick and polished experience, as was check-out.

What's so good about this place? The location is perfect for arriving or departing by train.
The Duomo cathedral and historic centre are just under 3km away and can be accessed on foot in about 40 minutes or via the hotel's Maserati courtesy car. The service and the views are also good.

And the bad? There are few dining options in the immediate area.

What's in the neighbourhood? Admittedly, not a great deal; just the train station, really.

Food and drink: A very good buffet is served at Gallia breakfast restaurant, all-day dining is on offer at the Gallia Lounge & Bar and the Terrazza Gallia rooftop restaurant serves Italian food with a modern twist. Room service was outstanding and the chef was more than happy to accommodate special requests and off-menu orders.

The bed: Super-comfortable for a good rest after busy days out.

Bathroom: Like the rest of the Art Suite, fully kitted out with all the mod cons. I still have no idea what some of them were.

Noise: A small amount of noise can carry across from the piazza when everything else is quiet, but it's actually pretty minimal. Rooms on the lower floors might hear the trams going past and those on the top floors might be disturbed by the rooftop bar.

Exercise Facilities: The fitness centre looked small but well kitted-out. The indoor heated swimming pool features some very dramatic lighting.

Perfect for: A stylish and comfortable home base.

Would I return? Yes, I would - it's five stars in Milan.