‘Take me to church’: inside NH Collection Milano CityLife

The NH Collection Hotel Group has opened its 12th hotel in Milan, taking guests on an extraordinary journey through history, design and innovation while offering the opportunity to stay in a reimagined 1930’s church…

high volume and pillars in the lobby of NH Collection Milano

Located in the futuristic CityLife district in the heart of Milan, the new hotel is a masterful mix of old and new. Built from the structure of the Church of Christ the King, the imposing building was designed to preserve the artistic heritage of the original 1934 building, which was deconsecrated in 2017 and later acquired by the company CLH srl, part of Gruppo Igefi and rehabilitated by the architectural design firm QuattroAssociati, under the management of NH Hotel Group.

NH Collection Milano CityLife façade at dusk

Image credit: NH Collection

Just 100 metres from Portello station, the imposing and massive NH Collection Milano CityLife stands out due to its iridescent white colour which, with its 13-story tower attached, draws attention to the new hotel for its architectural excellence and, more generally, as ‘Made in Italy’ statement. A large part of the church building – with a Latin cross floor plan, original wooden doors, round arches and aisles of the side naves – has been maintained and now serves as a spectacular entrance to the hotel, with its height and sense of verticality. That verticality is also evident in the gilded organ-like rear wall of the reception, the details of the cocktail bar and restaurant, the unexpected cascade of light in the lobby and in the Venetian seminato flooring. The significant features of the new hotel – order, measure, composure and elegance – reflect the Milanese cultural tradition and fit into the neoclassical architectural landscape of Milan in a coherent and authentic way.

the lobby in the NH Collection Milano with design elements from the church including reference to church organ

Image credit: NH Collection

With 185 guestrooms, 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 of these suites also feature terraces with stunning views of the city. The remaining 175 rooms are in the 13-story tower, all of which share the spirit of ‘Made in Italy’ excellence, which can be seen in the minor details such as the Italian designed lighting, through to the photographs of models in elegant 1950s and 60s dresses in the public areas of the hotel. The outstanding hospitality and many services offered also demonstrate typical Italian savoir-faire, synonymous with quality.

exterior lounge with sweeping white arches and pillars at the NH Collection Milano CityLife

Image credit: NH Collection

The hotel’s location is also noteworthy, with a view of the Three Towers of the City Life complex, just a few metres away, and, just beyond, the skyscrapers of the Garibaldi district, which can also be seen from the 9th-floor terrace. NH Collection Milano CityLife is located in what, until a few years ago, was the city’s trade fair district. And although it has now been transformed into one of the new fashion districts, where you can spot many celebrities, its soul remains that of a deeply commercial district. For this reason, the NH Group has incorporated six spacious meeting rooms into the structure, which can be set up in 11 different configurations and have a maximum capacity of 520 people. These make it the perfect place to experience Milan in its full glory as a city of art and tourism, but also as a business centre, with its proximity to the MiCo halls, Europe’s largest convention centre.

Tailors restaurant in NH Collection Milano with vintage images of fashion history

Image credit: NH Collection

The hotel has a large private garden, right next to the meeting rooms, perfect for all kinds of events and as an exhibition area.  A real highlight of the hotel is on the top floor, where the star of the show is the exclusive rooftop, with pool and The District cocktail bar, the perfect place to enjoy ice-cold drinks and signature cocktails.Tailors restaurant features a photographic narrative reflecting Milan’s tailoring history in the fifties and sixties, which is also evoked by the earth colours, the Pianca furniture and Flos lighting. Tailors is a space in which you can breathe in the essence of the district, while Chef Gabriele Grisolia expertly combines traditional, new and avant-garde cuisine that celebrates Italian tradition. The restaurant’s speciality mainly lies in its finest quality, home-made pasta and meat dishes, always with a strong focus on sustainability through the use of locally-sourced ingredients wherever possible.

Main image credit: NH Collection