Magna Pars is the go-to address for those in search of a sensory experience, a five-star hotel à parfum in Milan’s coolest design district.
The vibrant Tortona district, the heart of the ‘Fuorisalone’ during design week, features a blend of narrow streets, artisanal ateliers and small workshops, old factories and warehouses transformed into locations of uncommon appeal. One of these hosts the Magna Pars, the only hotel à parfum in the world. In fact, no other place on the planet offers guests the choice of a room, or rather a suite, named for the essence with which it is scented. The hotel’s connection with the world of fragrances dates back to bygone days when the area between via Tortona and via Forcella, the heart of Milan’s design and fashion district, housed a perfume factory. As the factory grew, so did its need for space, resulting in its owners’ decision to move outside Milan to continue production. However, the foresight of its owner Roberto Martone resulted in the highly successful post-industrial conversion transforming the factory into a modern architectural gem. Wood, glass and steel were elegantly combined to form a state-of-the-art building constructed around a lush inner garden.
The first five-star hotel located outside the ‘quadrilatero della moda’ was officially opened to the public in February 2013. “We offer an alternative to the centre and many guests return to our hotel time and time again,” explains Barbara Rohner, its Argentinean-born general manager, a team member since 2011, when it was only a project on paper. “We have an annual average occupancy of 70% with peaks of overbooking during Milan’s fashion weeks, and the city’s design week. On weekends, room occupancy easily reaches 60%, which is totally counter to the trends shown by other luxury Milanese hotels. We also boast a roster of VIP guests including Oliviero Toscani, who considers the Magna Pars his second Milanese home, Gilberto Gil, Valeria Mazza and Caetano Veloso”. Barbara’s comments are echoed by sales & marketing manager Fabiana Cinquemani, who says “The fact that we only have large suites (beginning with our standard suites which measure 55 square metres) combined with our unique interpretation of the post-industrial design of the district in which we are located, are amongst our most widely appreciated plus points. We are also extremely proud that we are now members of the renowned Small Luxury Hotels of the World“.
Floral, woody or fruity?
39 essences: one for each suite, and the name of each essence describes the olfactory note pervading it. This means that guests can choose the scent that most appeals to them from among the floral, fruity or woody essences on offer. After crossing a post-industrial corridor bordered by one of the factory’s original walls, guests will find themselves in rooms featuring an elegant contemporary design, enhanced by leather sofas and armchairs, crystal tables, brushed oak wood floors and state-of-the-art technology. Each suite has a corner bar, a small private library and an airy living room. The two presidential suites, measuring approximately 80 square metres and spread over two floors, have an added plus of Tecnogym equipment (on-site amenities include a gym and a relaxing spa) and a corian bath. The hotel’s communal areas are also characterized by their eye-catching design, starting with the Library Hall, the scenic roof deck and the unexpected open lobby.
The latter resembles the deck of a ship with white sail-like sunshades, white sofas and a wrap-around view of the inner garden, the green heart of the property. “The furniture at the Magna Pars is inspired by Italian excellence. All the furniture is Made in Italy by leading brands of the caliber of Kartell, Floss, Guzzini and Frau, with additional pieces by Italian master craftsmen like Italpoltrone, who began by designing a sofa for us which we liked so much that they ended up furnishing half of the hotel , or works by artists from the Brera Academy, who created the copper door leading onto the Liquidambar, our lounge bar,” explains Barbara Rohner.
The hotel’s cuisine, is distinguished by excellence, and helmed by Fulvio Siccardi, the recipient of two Michelin stars (one Michelin star in 2001 at the Le Clivie di Piobesi restaurant in Alba and another in 2005 at Conti Roero in Monticell’Alba). Chef Siccardi heads a brigade of 10 people at Da Noi In (ViaForcella 6) which is not ‘simply’ a hotel restaurant but a separate location that has its own address and is open to the public. Each day, the restaurant hosts about 60 businessmen at lunch while, in the evening, it is transformed into a gourmet restaurant with soft lighting and background music. “My cooking is inspired by traditional Italian cuisine upgraded with a few contemporary touches and enhanced by several unusual pairings,” explains the chef. “My signature dish? ‘uovo in gabbia’, a creation made of poached eggs cooked at a low temperature, combined with milk and parmesan cheese and topped with white and black truffle.”
PLEASE NOTE: Since September 2017, the cuisine and its staff are under the direction of Chef Giuseppe Postorino, who features a career as sous-chef to Fulvio Siccardi.
The hotel’s well-stocked, open wine cellar, featuring a selection of the finest Italian and foreign wines, is a treat for true connoisseurs. These can be sampled in a sophisticated, convivial atmosphere which, during the colder months is enhanced by two fireplaces, a selection of antique books and a beautiful picture of a lavender field. In summer, its standout features include large French doors and a luxuriant, scented garden, the ideal spot for an unforgettable ‘al fresco’ dining experience. No less noteworthy is the stylish Liquidambar, the lounge bar of the Magna Pars, which takes its name from the three Liquidambar trees that grow in its garden. This species is commonly known as ‘American sweet gum’ due to the fragrant resin resembling liquid amber that is released when it is cut. Here guests can sip sophisticated cocktails while seated around the fine white onyx counter, and indulge in a new sensory experience.
But the surprises that the Magna Pars reserves for its guests do not end here. The hotel has a perfume laboratory, the LabSolue. The fragrances that pervade the rooms emanate from this laboratory and, during their stay, guests can visit a state-of-the-art perfume laboratory to learn about the secrets of this fascinating ephemeral art and also purchase the same aromatic essential oils that permeated their rooms during their stay at the hotel. The laboratory features a blend of wood, iron and steel elements, antique objet d’art and contemporary furniture. It has a small library dedicated to the world of perfumes where guests, seated comfortably on its elegant velvet chairs, can relax while waiting for their essence of choice to be prepared. They’ll only have one dilemma: Magnolia, Neroli, Fig or Loquat? There are 39 correct answers.
>> Official website: www.magnapars-suitesmilano.it
Article by Simona P.K. Daviddi
Translation by Carey Bernitz
Photos by Felice Lardieri