Located in the middle of Milan in the heart of its futuristic CityLife district and just 109 yards from Portello metro station, NH Collection Milano CityLife is Italy’s newest luxury hotel, a masterful mix of old and new. The hotel is built upon the original structure of the Church of Christ the King, which was erected in 1934 for religious use and then abandoned in 1990. After an order from the Bishop of Milan in 2017, the church was deconsecrated and later rehabilitated by the architectural design firm QuattroAssociati under the management of NH Hotel Group. The imposing new building was created with the purpose of promoting and preserving Milan’s artistic heritage.
NH Collection Milano CityLife stands out due to its stark color — optical white — and its impressive 13-story tower. The two eye-catching traits identify the NH Hotel Group’s 12th hotel in Milan as true example of “Made in Italy” architectural excellence.
The church building, made from masonry with a Latin cross floor plan with three naves, has been partly maintained – as have the original wooden doors, the round arches, and the aisles of the side naves, which now serve as a spectacular hotel entrance. Guests are dwarfed by the structure’s height and sense of verticality, in which, acting as master, is the half pilaster, the vertical pillar that leans against the wall and protrudes from it. This architectural element — borrowed from the classical tradition — is the common thread that runs throughout the structure.
Order, measure, composure, and elegance are expressed in Milanese art, design, fashion and architecture; these elements are represented throughout features of the new hotel, which coherently fits into the neoclassical architectural landscape of Milan.
The 13-story tower is designed to showcase verticality in a contemporary way, a verticality that becomes the protagonist in the exterior and interior structure, as well as the rear wall of the reception, which recreates a “golden organ” in the details of the cocktail bar, restaurant, and lobby.
“Transforming and enhancing a place of worship, making it a meeting place dedicated to hospitality, was a difficult professional challenge,” said Michele Reginaldi, the architect in charge of the project for the QuattroAssociati firm. “We have tried to reinterpret the spaces in the hotel – always protecting the character of the spaciousness of the existing building – in accordance with the decorative apparatus and the most significant architectural elements, in order to affirm a principle of continuity and permanence.”
With 185 rooms, including 10 duplex suites built above the central nave, NH Collection Milano CityLife is one of the few hotels in the world to offer the possibility of sleeping, relaxing and staying in a former church dating back to the 1930s. Six suites also feature terraces with the remaining 175 rooms located in the 13-story tower, all of which share the spirit of the excellence of ‘Made in Italy’ tailoring. The lighting is 100% Italian (room lamps are by Flosand Firmamento Milano), and the photographs of models in tailor-made dresses from the 1950s and 1960s, were taken in the public areas of the hotel.
The restaurant, Tailors, is the epitome of NH Hotel Group’s “Made in Italy” hospitality concept, paying homage to the area’s trade fairs and Italian craftsmanship. NH Collection Milano CityLife is located in what, until a few years ago, was the city’s trade fair district, which has now turned into one of the new fashion districts. It’s an excellent place to experience Milan in its full glory as a city of art and tourism, but also as a business center due to its proximity to the MiCo halls, Europe’s largest convention center.
Perhaps the hotel’s real highlight is on the top floor, the site of a rooftop pool and cocktail bar, The District. After enjoying sunset views, the rooftop on via Colleoni transforms into the Milanese nightlife place-to-be.