I booked this one night stay for free using the Category 1-4 free night certificate that is included with the UK Marriott Amex card. Ordinarily the rooms here are around €150 per night, which is more or less average for a European airport Sheraton.
On my arrival date I received a push notification from the Marriott app informing me that I’d been upgraded to a junior suite. I find Marriott to be the best of the major hotel chains when it comes to suite upgrades. I really like that you don’t have to ask or negotiate in any way as a Platinum elite. Nine times out of ten, you’re told in advance exactly which suite you’ve been upgraded to via the app.
The Sheraton is extremely conveniently located within the main building of MXP’s International Terminal 1. Unless you are flying on a low cost carrier, this is the terminal you will be departing from after your stay. The lobby has a unique and modern design with lots of recessed lighting and seasonally themed decorations (I’ve previously passed through here at Easter timer when they had an enormous enclosure filled with live rabbits!). I particularly like how many check-in counters there are here. This hotel is geared up to deal quickly and efficiently with large groups of guests, as you’d expect in an airport.
Since I checked in online, I was through here in under a minute. I headed to the elite desk where I was thanked for my loyalty, informed of the club lounge opening times and handed my keys.
Although Sheratons have a reputation for being utterly devoid of character I did appreciate the nods to design in some of the public spaces…albeit within the drab colour parameters I expected.
Speaking of drab colour parameters. The suite continued this maudlin aesthetic with aplomb.
Rather annoyingly the room required the microchip from the keycard to be inserted at all times in order to power the electricity, including the air conditioning. The coffee was of the sachet variety with no capsule maker in sight. Ordinarily this is enough for me to write off a hotel forever but at least I had access to plentiful coffee of a reasonable quality in the lounge.
Another irritation in the room was the inclusion of a pressure sensitive minibar. This type of ‘countermeasure’ against guests really strips any possible class from a room. It’s the hotel equivalent of scratch card adverts and trumpets upon landing on a plane.
Quite some gall to advertise the empty space in the minibar as a positive ‘feature’ of the room. On the other hand I did think that the welcome amenity was pretty great:
A delicious chocolate cake topped with blueberries and a fresh pistachio macaron. Always happy to see the sanitary casing too, something I imagine we’ll be seeing a lot more of in the post-COVID world.
Given the size of the room, I feel like the space would have benefitted from either having a larger TV or one placed on a swivelling stand opposite the sofa chair and the bed.
The bed was not particularly comfortable and only lumpy synthetic pillows were provided. I had requested extra feather pillows within the Marriott app (a choice that the hotel appeared to be offering proactively) but these were not supplied. It is also worth noting that all of the power sockets in the room were local only. I’d expect to see international sockets at an airport hotel (or any modern international hotel for that matter).
I know that glass panelled bathrooms divide opinion but in a King bedroom where the room’s inhabitants are presumably sharing a bed I don’t see the problem. Perhaps for those that are particularly focused on privacy a set of electric blinds would have been nice to have. However I do feel that the glass wall really helped to open the room up. Another beige wall would have given the suite a very different feel.
Toiletries were by ‘le grand bain’, a brand I’m not familiar with; they had a pleasant smell and did the job though. The bathroom had a separate shower and bath, which I think should be a bare minimum for an acceptable hotel room. The shower had decent pressure but was handheld only, with no overhead nozzle. There was also a bidet… in case you’re into bidets.
Overall the room was beige, soulless and drab. All of which I had been expecting from a Sheraton. However there were another few faults which I hadn’t been:
As soon as I dropped my bags and took my shots of the room I got changed and headed to the gym. I always feel that I need to get my trips off on the right track as invariably gym motivation dwindles as the journey wears on…
I was surprised to see such a variety of cardio equipment, it isn’t often you see a hand bike at any gym let alone a hotel fitness facility. There wasn’t much in the way of amenities though. No fruit, no towels, no headphones and guests left to change an empty water cooler themselves (part of the workout I guess).
Free weights went up to a respectable 32kg. Enough to work on most isolation movements.
Life Fitness machines covered all the major bases for larger compound lifts.
The hotel also has a pool but it was utilitarian in the extreme, to the point where the whole facility gave off quite a creepy vibe. This is not somewhere that you come to relax or somewhere for your kids to spend time playing. This is a grim and solemn place in which to come and fear water in silence.
There is an inexplicable €3 charge to use the pool, which is even more of a cheap move than the minibar and all guests are obligated to wear swimming caps.
Needless to say I came to take a couple of pics in the morning and then very quickly made my escape. This is not a pool that will be giving Amanoi or Alila Villas Uluwatu a run for their money any time soon…
Given the limited dining options in the immediate vicinity of the hotel, paying for club lounge access can make a lot of sense at this hotel. Much though it pained me to be in Italy and not eating out in the city, I was just happy to be able to pick up something quick after hitting the gym and then get to bed before a big day of flying in Cathay First again!
The facility is very large, occupying a significant portion of one of the hotel’s floors. You are required to swipe a keycard for access, so staff are quite hands off once you are inside. Lounge timings were posted on a large banner outside of the door.
11:00am-7:00pm All day snacks
7:00pm-10:00pm Evening hors d’oeuvres
Alcoholic drinks are served from 11:00am until closing time at 10:00pm.
Just as you enter there is a small business centre with a couple of PCs and a printer. There is also some relaxed sofa style seating as well as a bar table.
When I arrived at the lounge at 9:30pm the place was actually a lot quieter than I had been expecting. The few guests that were eating and drinking were all gathered in the restaurant seating area.
The buffet was remarkably good. A lot more variety and a far higher quality of produce than I had been anticipating.
I was particularly pleased to see such an impressive range of antipasti alongside freshly cooked vegetables and salads. It’s rare to see both healthy and authentically local options like this in a club lounge.
I wasn’t particularly enthused by the wine selection though so I steered clear. Saving myself for the gallons of Krug to come…
The lounge gets a decent amount of sunlight in the morning and the room was bright and very well presented. The tables were all laid out with fresh linen tablecloths, flowers and little jam stands.
The buffet was definitely geared more towards the continental end of the spectrum, with an emphasis on baked goods and fruit.
Hot options were limited to bacon, some small sausages and boiled eggs with no made to order dishes available. For some reason there was a distinct downgrade in the quality of the cold cuts and cheeses, compared to what had been on offer the evening before. Gone were the large wheels of Parmigiano and the balls of fresh mozzarella – to be replaced with processed cheese. Similarly the prosciutto was nowhere to be found – replaced by slices of reconstituted wafer thin ham.
Coffee came from a pair of Nescafe machines, which seemed like bit of a shame given how good proper Italian espresso can be. I was however impressed to see that the water was by Acqua Panna and San Pellegrino.
☑︎ Power sockets near the bed
☑︎ Easy to understand light switches
❌ Coffee machine
☑︎ Separate shower and bath
❌ Blackout blinds
☑︎ Stable, fast and free Wifi
❌ Feather pillows
❌ Quiet and powerful aircon
❌ Robust soundproofing
I had already set my expectations suitably low when it came to the decor. The swimming pool situation was just weird but at least there was a good gym so overall I’d leave the leisure facilities as a neutral factor on the overall quality of the hotel.
The lounge put on a great spread at dinner time but came up short at breakfast so again probably neutral overall.
The real clincher for me though is sleep quality and here the Sheraton under-delivered with boundless enthusiasm. The pillows were synthetic and lumpy, the curtains didn’t properly close and the air conditioning was almost loud enough to drown out the very audible noise from the hallways.
You really don’t have much choice when it comes to airport hotels in Milan but even having gotten this stay for free, I felt like I was overcharged.
Avoid if at all possible.