From perfume factory to 5-star hotel: Milan's Magna Pars L'Hotel a Parfum
No trip to Northern Italy is complete without a visit to Milan, Italy's financial hub that often battles Paris as the fashion capital of the world. On a recent solo trip to Italy, I first visited the dreamy, slower-paced cities of Turin and Bologna, then ended my trip in Milan with a quick one-night stay.
As a World of Hyatt elite member, I found several properties in Milan that were bookable on points. After skimming through my options, I decided to stay at the Magna Pars L'Hotel a Parfum. The complex name comes from the fact that this used to be a perfume factory and has now been renovated into an all-suites hotel.
Related: Italy has reopened: 11 things I learned as a tourist
With only 60 rooms, this family-owned, five-star property is part of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World collection. These are some of my favorite hotels to stay at since they are boutique properties that tend to offer something unique.
The hotel's website reads, “Magna Pars: the force within us that guides us through life and determines our most important choices.” There's a lot to live up to with this statement, and the Magna Pars hotel claims to exude Italian excellence and glamour — the perfect way to travel in style when you're in an opulent city like Milan. Here's what it was like to stay in this gorgeous hotel.
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Booking a room at the Magna Pars can get quite pricey if you're paying with cash. Thankfully, World of Hyatt offers the chance to stay at this property for a reasonable price in points.
You can book this stay for around 484 euros per night (or a whopping $571). Instead, I transferred just 25,000 Ultimate Rewards points from my Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, getting an outsize value of 2.3 cents per point. That's a great value considering that TPG values Hyatt points at 1.7 cents each.
If you go the points transfer route, you're booking the junior suite deluxe, a room with one queen bed fit for two guests.
Thanks to the World of Hyatt and SLH partnership, you'll get extra benefits, such as:
- Five base points per $1 spent.
- Complimentary breakfast for two.
- Complimentary Wi-Fi.
- Early check-in at 12 p.m., late checkout at 2 p.m. and a one-category room upgrade — all based on availability at check-in.
These are all convincing offers and are some of the reasons I love booking SLH properties through World of Hyatt, as these amenities apply whether or not you have Hyatt elite status.
The Magna Pars hotel is located on a quiet street near the outskirts of the city. I took the metro to the Porta Genova train station (which is also near multiple tram lines), and it was less than a 10-minute walk to the hotel.
Related: What it's like to be in Italy during the coronavirus pandemic
Milan is pretty big, with the iconic Duomo located in the heart of the city. The Magna Pars hotel was a 30-minute walk to the center of the city — something to keep in mind if you have limited time to explore Milan like I did.
Overall, I'd say that this location was less than ideal for my short stay, and you're better off staying at other Hyatt options such as the Park Hyatt Milan (although it's closed until Dec. 1 due to the pandemic) or the Hyatt Centric Milan Centrale for a more central location.
Related: Your points and miles guide to Milan
That's not to say to avoid the Magna Pars because of its location. In my opinion, the Magna Pars would be a great pick if you're in the city for a longer stay and want to stay away from the main tourist areas — which can get quite busy — as you're still around plenty of great neighborhood restaurants, cafes and bars once you venture a couple of streets over.
Thanks to early check-in, I arrived around noon. The lobby was empty, making for some fantastic pictures of this stunning hotel.
Once you walk through the expansive lobby and multiple lounge areas, you'll find the check-in desk tucked away in the left corner. The receptionist let me know that I was upgraded to the junior premium suite, which comes with a king bed instead of a queen — a win in my book!
She also explained the story of this hotel: It was once the Martone family's perfume factory and was transformed by them into a boutique hotel. You can even find the gift shop and perfume laboratory LabSolue downstairs to purchase any perfumes.
You can tell that there's a heavy emphasis on perfumery with the accents you'll find throughout the hotel.
I was even given a perfumed hand sanitizer as a welcome gift — admittedly, the best smelling hand sanitizer I now own, with notes of citrus.
Check-in was a breeze, thanks to the friendly receptionist. The butler then took my roller suitcase and escorted me up to my room.
Even though the hotel looks massive (due in part to the high ceilings), there are only three floors with 60 rooms in total. My room was at the end of a long hallway on the second floor, and you can either take the stairs in the front of the hotel or either of the two elevators. All of the areas are wheelchair accessible, though I'd note that the hallways that lead up to the rooms are a bit narrower than in the common spaces.
The room numbers are located in front of each door on the floor, which I found was a nice subtle touch. You tap your key to open the door.
European hotels are notoriously small, but my junior premium suite felt quite spacious with the same high ceilings and all-white walls as the lobby. Even the doors were large enough for wheelchairs. The dark oak wood floors were beautiful and contrasted well with the leather accents throughout the room. It smelled fragrant — but not overpowering — with notes of jasmine.
For those in wheelchairs, the bed meets the accessible height as it measures 20 inches from the floor to the top of the mattress. There's also 6 inches of clearance room underneath the bed.
You can adjust the air conditioning with the touch panel, but the room was perfectly crisp when I got in.
In the bathroom, my eyes were first immediately drawn to the gorgeous black-and-white marble covering the walls and floor, but I also noticed a half-empty shampoo bottle sitting on the shower ledge. It certainly wasn't a big deal, as the rest of the room was sparkling clean.
The double-vanity bathroom had a large rectangular mirror, a lighted, magnifying makeup mirror, an Italian bidet and a rainfall showerhead. Since the ceilings are quite lofty (both in the bathroom and bedroom), the showerhead should be high enough for a tall person. There are also two robes and a corded hair dryer underneath the sink, though the hair dryer seemed pretty basic and was unbranded.
The bathroom products were made with scents from the perfumery. You'll find two bars of soap, shampoo, conditioner and body gel as well as a vanity kit stocked with two makeup remover pads, two shower caps, cotton swabs and a hair band.
There was a large closet to my left with all the essentials: a safe, luggage rack, iron and ironing board and eight coat hangers. There were two smaller drawers for clothes and two cubbies that could fit a couple of pairs of shoes each. My favorite part was the Nespresso machine and other fun drinks to choose from in the minibar. While the coffee and tea were free, the other snacks and drinks will cost you extra.
The room was outfitted with blackout curtains that are manually operated. The Italian linen bed made for a fantastic and much-needed sleep.
Overall, the room felt crisp and bright, with lots of natural light coming in from the oversized windows. The white marble added to the luxurious feel of the room. The amenities were sufficient for me, and I especially appreciated the vanity kit and Nespresso machine.
Food and beverage
While I ventured into the city for dinner that evening, I had a chance to enjoy the complimentary breakfast in the morning. The restaurant is located in the basement of the hotel, just a few steps down from the main lobby.
It was pretty early (around 7 a.m.), so I was one of the few guests at the restaurant for breakfast. The hostess informed me that the breakfast buffet was closed due to the pandemic, but I could order off the menu instead. However, the selection was quite limited with no hot food, so I settled for a cappuccino, grapefruit juice and yogurt. I ate on the gorgeous patio outside.
While I never got the chance to eat dinner at the restaurant, it's supposedly a fantastic restaurant offering traditional Italian cuisine. Remember that you're in Milan, so there's also no shortage of options around the hotel. I ventured out and enjoyed gnocco fritto, a wide selection of meats and a glass of Chianti at the Osteria del Gnocco Fritto, which had been recommended to me multiple times.
I checked out the hotel gym briefly but didn't actually find the time to work out between eating my weight in bread and cheese.
However, I didn't feel like I was missing out on much. The hotel gym felt kind of basic with just a few types of cardio equipment and dumbbells; I expected more from a five-star hotel. There is a complimentary sauna room, but it's currently closed due to the pandemic.
The other main attraction of the hotel is the perfume laboratory. There's a gift shop where you can check out all the different scents you'll find throughout the Magna Pars.
I absolutely adored the garden atrium, which connects the perfume laboratory, lobby and restaurant. This would make an ideal place to start your morning, grab a cappuccino (or espresso) and read a book.
My quick stay at the Magna Pars L'Hotel a Parfum felt like a relaxing retreat thanks to the heavy emphasis on fragrances, design and outdoor spaces. You can tell there was a lot of intention in transforming this space from a perfume factory into a unique hotel.
If you're interested in a luxury stay in Milan away from the crowded city center, I'd recommend staying here if you have the points to transfer since the cash price per night is high. While there were some hiccups along the way (such as the random shampoo bottle left in the shower and a pretty basic gym), the cordial staff and impressive design of the Magna Pars made me want to return one day.