Good location, great value – Hilton Milan!

For my return visit to beautiful Milan, I wanted to stay in a central location at a good price and make use of my Hilton Honors Diamond membership for some extra perks and chose the Hilton Milan near the Central train station – a great choice! We really enjoyed the location and very good service and I’d be happy to return!

Location: The Hilton Milan is a 5 minute walk from the Central railway station with great train and bus connections to the airport as well as the subway around the metro area. You can reach the Duomo in about 10 minutes by train or take a lengthy 40 minute walk. The Malpensa airport is about 1h by bus, train or taxi, similar to other locations around Milan.
While the area behind the train station is not the nicest, the hotel and the way there are fine and I felt safe walking at anytime of day and night. There are a number of restaurants in the neighborhood around the hotel, giving you plenty of choices for dinner. On previous visits to Milan, I stayed in walking distance of the Duomo, but really enjoyed staying here – being away from the touristy center has its advantages, especially for return visitors or anybody staying a little longer!

Service/Rewards: The service at the Hilton was overall good, ranging from excellent to so-so – an unusual variation for a large, chain hotel! The front desk staff did a great job – so much so that I asked for the manager at departure to thank him for the outstanding service of his team. Check in was quick, staff recognized my Diamond membership and offered an upgraded room as well as explanation of the benefits of my elite level. Service was warm and friendly anytime we returned to the front desk to ask for tips, got a map or had any other requests. We received a late check-out of 6pm to accommodate our late-evening flight – one of the latest I’ve ever had. A welcome amenity of cookies and chocolates was delivered to our room – always a nice touch.
Housekeeping also did a thorough job each day of our 5 night stay, leaving the room clean, all amenities stocked and towels replaced as requested throughout our stay. When we left the room late and requested service, it was always delivered quickly.
The staff at the restaurant and lounge appeared to be the polar opposite. The restaurant was disorganized, resulting in utter chaos during the busy breakfast time. A hostess would try her best to seat people on arrival, yet other staff (maybe the manager), would just seat people wandering in without waiting for the hostess, causing double assignments. Staff wasn’t able to keep up with clearing tables or replenishing food on the buffet – at some point some bread was all there was left on the buffet with empty serving plates making up the rest of the buffet! The lounge was a little better, with staff keeping up a little better, but never manning the lounge desk, often hiding in a back room instead, and food and drink frequently running out.
Overall, the excellence of the front desk made for a positive experience overall, but it’s easy to imagine that you can have a very bad experience in the restaurant ruin your stay!

Welcome Amenity

Room: We were upgraded to a room on the top floor with large windows and a balcony overlooking Milan. The decor showed its age with a 90s look, but everything was working and clean. The room is held in beige and brown tones, with light-colored wood furniture. The king-size bed has high-quality sheets and was very comfortable.  A small desk on one side, two cushioned chairs and table in the center and a side-table on the other completed the furniture, but made the room feel cramped. A narrow hallway led to the bathroom and had plenty of cabinets and storage. Our room was outfitted with a TV, safe and iron/ironing board.
The room has sliding glass doors to a large balcony overlooking the city, offering nice sunset views. The large windows above the door were covered with fabric – making for a pitch dark room at night, but making it feel dark and small during the day.
The bathroom was very large in comparison, with a toilet and bidet on the left and a sink with wide counter top in the center, offering plenty of room for all your toiletries. The shower is installed over the deep soaking tub and has a curtain on a straight rod. That’s not my favorite set-up, considering that there would be plenty of room for a separate shower and tub! It’s all held in brown-ish marble and white, looking a little outdated but all clean and in good condition.
Despite being in one of the most stylish cities on the planet, this Hilton is one of the least stylish I’ve seen in awhile. Some rooms have been renovated, but retain a “classic” look based on the photos I have seen.

Restaurant/Amenities: The Hilton has a much more contemporary looking bar and restaurant off the modern lobby – while it looks inviting, there are so many good restaurants in Milan, we didn’t give it a try.
As Hilton Honors Diamond members, we had a choice of having breakfast in the lounge or a full breakfast at the main restaurant and we gave both a try. The hotel was busy during our stay and the restaurant was not able to handle the number of guests, with people having to wait for a table or finding somebody else seated at their table when they came back from the buffet.
The buffet itself offered a wide selection of fruit, yogurt, pastries, freshly squeezed orange juice from a self-service machine, as well as cold cuts and cheeses. A make-to-order egg station and a buffet with hot Asian dishes was added in the aisle, and with people waiting in front of either, the whole buffet became crowded and difficult to access. Waits at the egg station staffed by a single cook were long.
When serving plates were full and you were able to find food, the quality was quite good. I also enjoyed the egg omelette, although you needed extra patience for it.
In comparison, the executive lounge offers a smaller selection of food of the same quality, with pastries, fruit and yogurt, coffee and tea as well as some hot dishes. The lounge is small and also became crowded, but was much more pleasant overall.
The lounge also serves a happy hour with snacks and drinks, including wine and beer. It was a good offering – I’d place it between the skimpy offerings in most US Hiltons and the generous buffet you’ll find in some Asian Hiltons.
The hotel has a good-size gym with plenty of cardio and weight equipment for a full workout – much better than most hotels in Europe (including luxury hotels)!
The lounge and gym were busy and out of respect for other guests, I didn’t take photos – so the ones posted here are from the Hilton web site.

Bottomline: The Hilton Milan has a great location for anybody willing to use public transport, with easy access from the airport and across town. While it lacks the charm of an independent hotel and the style of newer properties, at an advanced rate of $125/night it was great value for an expensive city like Milan during a peak weekend. Add in the free breakfast and happy hour as Diamond benefits and it was a steal. I was grateful for the excellent service of the front desk – and disappointed by the sub-par service at the lounge and restaurant. If you expect flawless service, your experience might vary! For me – and possibly for other Hilton Honors Gold/Diamond members, the mix of good location, good-enough rooms and service and great value was just right and I’d be happy to come back!

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