Milan’s new eco-friendly hotel boasts green practices, gorgeous spaces and a convenient location right by the train station. Starhotels Group’s E.C.HO — which stands for Ecological Contemporary Hotel — is designed to be a calm, nature-inspired oasis within a big, energetic city.
The hotel’s most striking features include the use of glass, natural light, earth tones and plants. The first impression is the reception desk, which has a backlit ceiling that simulates sunrise, twilight and night, depending on the time of day. Visitors can relax in a hall with stone-shaped poufs wrapped in eco-label fabrics, then set their drinks on tables made from Forest Stewardship Council-certified scented cedar trunks. Or they can check out the conservatory, a low-energy greenhouse with glass walls. The hotel’s large terrace overlooks the historic renaissance chapel Cascina Pozzobonelli, dating back to 1492, and a garden with mature and stately trees.
Every detail of the hotel’s 143 rooms and suites has been thoroughly considered, thanks to the expertise of interior designer Andrea Auletta. The internationally known designer has been working on hotels, homes, office and retail spaces for 20 years, but Milan is special to him, as it’s his hometown. On the surface, the rooms look tranquil and luxurious, with clean lines and earth-tone draperies. But a whole green framework lies beneath. Low-consumption lighting is powered partially by a solar energy plant. The wallpaper has the Nordic eco-label certification. All the window frames are super-insulated for energy savings. Bed linens are made from natural fibers, and greywater is recycled to irrigate plants.
Guests visiting the hotel on business will likely spend time in the Congress Center, an area made up of five meeting rooms with a 240 total capacity. The rooms are fittingly named Elements, Water, Fire, Air and Earth, and connect to the outdoors with a marble staircase.
The Orto Green Food & Mood Restaurant is brightly lit with both large windows and chandeliers. Designers have planned details down to the placemats and bread baskets, which are made from recycled and recyclable cellulose. E.C.HO has partnered with Eataly restaurant, which offers a plant-heavy menu using local products and artisanal producers.
The emphasis here is on slow food. Young Milanese Chef Alessandro De Matteis incorporates international cuisine and street food into his organic dishes. Every ingredient is carefully vetted, from the Tonda Gentile IGP hazelnuts that go into the chocolate hazelnut cream filling artisan croissants at breakfast to the Robiola di Roccaverano cheese.
At the bar, innovative cocktails are made from controlled designation of origin (DOCG) ingredients. Historic Italian liqueurs, such as Acqua di Cedro, china (quinine) and rabarbaro (rhubarb) are some of the ingredients that make drinks here special. And, of course, the bar serves a superb selection of organic Italian wines.
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