Palazzo Parigi ItalyPalazzo Parigi – Bonjour, Italia
A.C. Milan or Les Bleus. Barolo or Bordeaux. Tiramisu or crème brûlée. It might be subtle (or not), but the rivalry between the Italians and the French is always simmering. So it’s nice when they can set aside their differences and come together for the greater good. And by greater good, we mean the chic new Palazzo Parigi Hotel & Grand Spa in Milan. Let us introduce you.
Palazzo Parigi is where owner/architect Paola Giambelli gave a warmhearted ciao to interior designer Pierre-Yves Rochon, and the Italian-French collaboration was born. Together they brought the circa 1600s Palazzo Kramer in the fashionable Brera district back to life – after it suffered destruction in the bombing of 1943. (Then suffered some more as the offices of a bank.) Really, though, a building in such an envied locale – near Teatro alla Scala, Pinacoteca di Brera, Piazza del Duomo and the popular Corso Como neighborhood – needed rescuing. Giambelli and Rochon completely revitalized the space with a design that incorporates clean-lined minimalism (à la Italians) and Louis XVI flair (à la French). It totally works. In addition to the 98 balconied guest rooms, the distinct styles mix and mingle in the public spaces, where elements like pink Baveno marble columns and a Venetian mosaic are juxtaposed with intricate wrought-iron skylights and a Blain de Fontenay still life.
We do think, though, that the gourmet Gastronomic Restaurant and the more relaxed Caffé Parigi err on the side of the homeland. Notice the spaghettoni with horseradish and crispy bacon, as well as master pastry chef Pascale Piermattei’s pinenut parfait with raspberry sorbet. Even the restaurant’s décor is inspired by Italian neoclassicism with hand-painted ceilings and soaring windows overlooking the century-old private garden. This is Milan, after all.
There’s more: Palazzo Parigi abides by Italian time, so stay tuned for the 17,222-square-foot Grand Spa, the 10th-floor roof garden with infinity pool and the presidential and panoramic suites, all set to make their debut in late 2014.
In the end, no matter if your personal taste falls more in line with French or Italian, at Palazzo Parigi you can enjoy a little bit of both. Just make sure to keep your thoughts on the World Cup to yourself while sipping grappa at Caffé Parigi’s bar. You wouldn’t want that rivalry to boil over.