In the thriving cityscape of Milan, amidst the vivacious amalgamation of haute couture, culinary opulence, and an artist's visionary canvas, rests a discreet yet unmistakable treasure trove—Aethos Milan. This clandestine gem remains hidden from the ostentatious display of Milan's offerings, whispering to discerning travellers, enticing them to indulge in an unparalleled experience, especially during the chaos of the illustrious Milan Fashion Weeks occurring each season.
Aethos embodies an allure veiled in whispers among exclusive circles or fascinating tales from devoted admirers. It stands as a haven, nestled within Navigli's pulsating heart, where guests can immerse themselves in grandeur, eccentricity, an unabashed celebration of luxury, and most importantly an escapade beyond the mundane.
The property is really something from a movie set, where the team have offered those who enter the doors an opportunity to unravel stories through its themed areas and rooms, from the taxidermy lobby, museum-esque parlour or perhaps their boxing suite; perfect for those seeking complete disconnection with a little outlandishness.
But Alas, this is indeed the trademark of Aethos, who have been crafting distinct narratives across all of their properties from the restored 17th-century palace in Corsica to the medieval stone retreat in Saragano, Aethos boasts diverse charms united by a promise—to disconnect guests from life's strains, offering an oasis of respite.
Set within the bustling heart of Navigli, a lively quarter painted with the vivid hues of life, the boutique hotel emerges as a haven amidst the energetic urban symphony. This captivating neighbourhood, adorned with eclectic charm, becomes the ideal backdrop for Aethos, skillfully contrasting peaceful tranquillity with the vibrant beats of city life.
For those needing a little retail therapy, there is no need to trail through the Duomo crowds, as there are plenty of boutiques or quirky stores to keep you occupied and some equally unique eateries to tantalise your tastebuds.
Heritage and Milanese Legacy: Alessandro Mario Cesario's Imprint
Previously in the hands of Alessandro Mario Cesario (an aficionado of art and antiquities), Aethos Milan echoes Cesario's legacy. Transitioning into the Aethos realm, the group retained every eccentricity, from the enchanting Hogwarts-style check-in desk and vintage Louis Vuitton trunks to a curated assortment of rarities celebrating global cultures.
The interior design orchestrates an exquisite harmony between vintage allure and modern sophistication. This opulent treasure trove also boasts Persian carpets, cultural artefacts, and vibrant textures that bathe its spaces in ambient light, offering guests a visual symphony.
Embark on a Culinary Odyssey at ZAÏA - Where Every Bite Tells a Tale
Nestled in the hotel's heart, ZAÏA beckons you to indulge in a culinary escapade like no other. This modern gem exudes an inviting warmth, with its classic interior bathed in accent lighting, seamlessly blending contemporary aesthetics. However, what sets ZAÏA apart is not just its decor but its unwavering focus on community and a commitment to sourcing ingredients from the finest producers. Here, the essence of dining lies in sharing and discovering new flavours, creating an experience that lingers long after the last bite.
Guided by the culinary mastery of co-chefs Luigi Gagliardi and Dario Guffanti, ZAÏA draws inspiration from the vibrant streets of Tel Aviv, the rustic charm of Puglia, and the culinary wonders of Beirut. It delves into the roots of Italian cuisine, infusing it with a modern twist that captivates the palate.
For those venturing into the culinary realm of ZAÏA, a unique journey awaits. The tasting menu and wine pairing, meticulously crafted by Gagliardi and Guffanti, showcase their precision, attention to detail, and a fearless fusion of ingredients and flavours that defy convention. Delights like the succulent ANIMELLA, featuring Marino veal, mandarin, apple, kefir, and rosemary, or the delectable CAPASANTA with scallop, romanesco broccoli, hazelnut, and beef, elevate the dining experience to an unparalleled level.
The grand finale of our gastronomic adventure was a showstopping dessert presentation—a mystical forest crafted from beginning to end on our table by the chef. Rich, sumptuous chocolate, whimsical candy floss, and velvety gelato transformed our dining space into an enchanted realm.
ZAÏA is a perfect place for the curious, the gastronomic traveller, and those in search of an unforgettable dining experience.
The Doping Bar's Captivating Aura
As the sun gracefully bids adieu, Aethos' Doping Bar undergoes a magical metamorphosis, evolving from a tranquil daytime haven into an atmospheric twilight sanctuary that beckons Milan's vibrant creative intellects. This hidden gem, a private members bar, unveils itself as a coveted space where patrons seek not just a drink but a slice of exclusivity amidst its impressive benefits.
Its allure is not just regional; the Doping Bar's menu, a meticulously crafted compilation of mixological wonders, has rightfully secured a prestigious spot among the World’s 50 Best—a testament to its unparalleled charm. Take a seat and surrender to an exquisite experience where seasoned mixologists weave their magic, crafting cocktails that challenge your palate with unexpected yet delightful spirits.
Embark on a journey of flavours, where each sip is a symphony, and every visit is an exploration of the extraordinary in the heart of Milan's cultural tapestry.
Here, exclusivity is not just a status; it's a finely curated experience, a privilege reserved for those seeking the epitome of sophistication in a private haven.
Whether it's a surprising concoction that defies your expectations or a classic negroni or espresso martini with a unique twist, the Doping Bar ensures you are in the capable hands of the world's finest mixologists.
Suite Serenades: A Symphony of Design and Luxury
After an evening of fine dining, cocktails and conversation it is now time for slumber. The boutique hotel unfolds its grandeur through 32 uniquely themed suites, each a masterpiece of distinct identity and opulence. Among these, the Clubhouse Suite stands as a testament to design brilliance, inviting guests into an experience that transcends the ordinary or for those wanting to continue the party, the equally stunning ground-floor suites will not disappoint.
Step into luxury as parquet floors greet your arrival, setting the stage for an opulent narrative that unfolds throughout the suite. Antique rugs, carefully curated, lay the foundation for a rich visual panorama, while an exquisite blend of velvet furnishings and vintage adornments add a touch of timeless elegance to the ambience.
But the grandeur doesn't stop there—indulge in the exclusivity of a private bar nestled within the suite, offering an intimate space to unwind with your favourite libations. The spacious lounge beckons, providing a haven for relaxation and socialisation, adorned with bespoke furnishings from cinematic chairs to objets d'art that echo both comfort and sophistication.
Venture outdoors to your private terrace, a sanctuary where the city's pulse meets your tranquil retreat. Sip on a curated cocktail, or like us play a game of cards from a vintage deck, and bask in the ambience of a space crafted for moments of serenity. The grand bathroom, an oasis of luxury, completes the ensemble with its lavish amenities and meticulous design, ensuring a pampering experience that transcends the ordinary.
After a restful slumber, awaken refreshed and invigorated to a new day where you can opt into a revitalising yoga session, train in the fitness studio or savour a nutritious smoothie from ZAÏA cafe, whichever you decide, these wellness choices are here to set the tone for your morning.
As you bid farewell to an extraordinary sojourn, keep in mind that a night at Aethos goes beyond the realm of mere accommodation. It's a symphony of exhilaration, exclusivity, avant-garde design, and luxury, creating an enduring fusion of everything we all need in this world—an adventure!
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P.za Ventiquattro Maggio 8
Photographer Arabella Itani
Words by Jheanelle Feanny