Today’s review is from reader Robin. Here is his review of both Hotel Indigo Venice and Hotel Indigo Milan.
With the impending gloomy pandemic second wave, I decided to visit Venice and Milan, both places I have never visited. I stayed at IHG Hotels Indigo Venice – Sant’Elena and Indigo Milan – Corso Monforte and here is my review.
Having just returned from Amsterdam at the start of August, I was keen to get away again before winter. With the knowledge that the pandemic could deteriorate in Italy, forcing the UK Government to remove Italy from the travel corridor list at any point, I used IHG points for both reservations in mid-September. Utilising IHG points comes with the flexibility of free cancellation up to 2/3 days of check in.
During my search of the IHG points cost, I could see that each hotel had an upward limit of 45,000 points per night. I was determined to use as little points as possible and found a sweet spot consecutively for both hotels. I used 95,000 IHG points as follows:
- 45,000 points for a Tuesday and Wednesday night (22,500 per night) in a ‘premium room’ at Hotel Indigo Venice, Sant’Elena. €4.50 city tax per night was applicable.
- 50,000 points for a Thursday and Friday night (25,000 per night) in a ‘standard room’ at Hotel Indigo Milan, Corso Monforte. €5 city tax per night was applicable.
Being a IHG Spire Elite member, I had the benefit at both hotels of:
- Early check in from 10am and late check until 2pm (both subject to availability),
- Free room upgrade, subject to availability,
- Welcome amenity of 600 IHG points or a ‘drinks voucher’ for the hotel bar.
The Venice hotel also offered breakfast for half price at €10 (if not included in the rate).
I booked a British Airways Reward Flight Saver Avios redemption in the spacious Club Europe (Reward seat includes cancellation/refundable option) arriving at Venice (VCE) on Tuesday at 12:05 and departing from Milan (MXP) on Saturday at 18:55. Travel from Venice to Milan was by the high speed ‘Frecciarossa’ train and took 2 hours 27 minutes.
Hotel Indigo Venice – Sant’Elena
After taking the public Alilaguna boat to Lido (€14) and then the public vaporetto (Actv water bus) to the next stop Sant’Elena (€7.50), I arrived at the hotel at 2pm.
The hotel is a converted monastery dating back to the 1930s (75 guest rooms) and is located on the far right hand, quieter side of the Venice island. It is a 30min walk along the seafront to St. Mark’s Square or you can take the regular vaporetto (You should factor this in if you desire somewhere closer to the main tourist attractions).
After entering the hotel, I was greeted by a receptionist to check in and underwent various pandemic protocols. I was upgraded to a Superior Premium Room due to my Spire Elite status. I also opted for the ‘drinks voucher’ as the welcome amenity.
My Superior Premium Room was very spacious and comprised of a small hallway leading to a:
- Wardrobe on the left, with space for luggage, mini safe and a mini fridge,
- large bedroom, wifi enabled, with coffee and tea facilities and large opening windows (unlocked on request) overlooking the private garden. There were ample USB and European two pin sockets on either side of the bed.
- Bathroom consisting of marbled top sink, shower area (inclusive of rainfall shower), toilet, bidet, and Marie Danielle ‘beONE’ amenities.
- Breakfast was in the bar area and was extensive given the current pandemic precautions. The service on offer was a served buffet breakfast.
The hotel is equipped with a stylish bar and an adjacent private garden.
The ‘drinks voucher’ has an increased choice the higher the IHG status you have, as below:
Gold Elite: Select from house wine, beer, and non-alcoholic beverages.
Platinum Elite: All of the above and additional choice of a light snack (i.e. crisps or nuts).
Spire Elite: All of the above and additional choice of a spirit and mixer. I opted for a traditional Aperol Spritz.
I checked out at 9am on Thursday to take the scenic line 1 vaporetto along the grand canal (€7.50 – highly recommended) to Ferrovia for the Venice S. Lucia train station for the train to Milan.
Indigo Milan – Corso Monforte
This boutique hotel (opened mid 2019) is housed in a prestigious early nineteenth century building. The 51 guest rooms are modernly furnished and designed, taking inspiration from the history and high fashion Milan is renowned for. It is a 15min walk to Duomo of Milan and Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II.
After entering the hotel at 2pm, I was greeted by a receptionist to check in. I was upgraded to a Junior Suite (away from inner courtyard, so noise free) due to my Spire Elite status. I again opted for the ‘drinks voucher’ as the welcome amenity.
My ‘fashionably designed’ Junior Suite was very spacious and comprised of a small hallway leading to a:
- lounge on the left comprising of sofas, a TV and a wardrobe,
- large bedroom, wifi enabled, another TV, a closet containing a mini safe and a mini fridge, a USB and European two pin socket on either side of the bed,
- Bathroom consisting of sink, shower area (inclusive of rainfall shower), toilet, bidet, and ‘Mazzolari’ amenities.
Breakfast was in the bar area next to the courtyard. It was a small selection due to the pandemic, so I decided to eat out on both days (€19 per person per day, if not included in the rate).
The ‘drinks voucher’ was the same as Venice and this time, I opted for the barman’s suggestion of a Campari cocktail (strong but nice, be aware!).
The hotel also has a gym but was closed due to the pandemic.
One convenient offering of the hotel was the ability to chat to the concierge via ‘WhatsApp’. I used this service again when I woke up on the last day, to secure a 16:00 checkout (due to Spire elite status) for my 18:55 BA flight. To get to the airport, I took the metro (€2) from San Babila to Cadorna and then the Malpensa express train service (€13) to MXP Terminal 1 (approx. 1 hour journey time).
Other points to note
- The staff at both hotels were friendly and help Having IHG status, and certainly Spire Elite status, at both hotels made a big difference. Without it, I would have had a different experience in terms of offerings.
- Both hotels were taking the necessary pandemic precautions per the IHG policy.
- Both cities were very quiet in terms of tourist numbers and was very pleasant to visit. Everyone was also wearing masks and socially distanced.
- Venice (Beware of the mosquitoes during summer)
- Main sights to visit are Saint Mark’s Square, Saint Mark’s Campanile clock tower (€10), Saint Mark’s Basilica (€5, top floor and terrace only at present) and Doge’s Palace (€26, although I opted for a tour guide that included a fast track entrance ticket with the negotiated price. I highly recommend Marco Toso, [email protected])
- I also recommend a 5 hour tour (€18) by Alilaguna boat of the nearby islands Murano, Torcello and Burano (50 mins each).
- Main sights to visit are The Last Supper (€15), Duomo di Milano (€18.50 for lift access, no need for fast track at present because of the lack of tourists – I had the roof terrace to myself!) and Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. Navigli district is worth visiting at night, and has many bars and restaurants along the canals.
The IHG Hotels Indigo Venice – Sant’Elena and Indigo Milan – Corso Monforte were both functional hotels suitable for a short stay in a quiet location.