Grand Hotel Duomo
The famous Duomo is the centre of Milan. It's a majestic cathedral that took ages to build. Facing it, on the left-hand side is the equally famous Grand Hotel Duomo. The Beatles stayed there as did many other stars.
I asked the receptionist if I could get the same rate as my colleague who was checking in the next day. Much to my dismay and embarrassment, my colleague was not in the system. Without prior reservations, it seemed really cheeky of me to ask if I could get the lowest possible rate for the night. Even cheekier still, I asked if I could be shown rooms facing the Duomo with balcony. The first two did not have bathtubs. Eventually, they led me to one with high ceilings and a bathtub.
Guests at five star hotels do not ask to be shown rooms. They either book in advance or just ask for a room. So I failed ruled number one.
Rule number two, you should always tip. I figured since I was paying so much money already (Euro 295), I didn't need to tip.
The concierge was extremely knowledgeable and friendly. That is usually the case with five star hotels. The restaurants he recommended were impeccable.
What's so memorable about staying at this hotel was the view of the Duomo. It was a historical experience to go to wake up at dawn, sunlight on the square. After this, I decided that I should always try to stay in hotels with historical significance, character, and atmosphere.
19 November 2001 Monday
metro stop: Duomo
I was looking so much forward to visiting Milan, Italy yet I had no time to prepare for the trip. So I used a Dutch travel agency which charged me a 21 Euro commission for booking the brand new four star Radisson SAS. It wasn't until the day I was leaving London that I noticed the hotel was not near any metro station. In the spur of the moment, I decided to book a cheaper hotel on the Web - for less than half the price. Upon arrival, I found out that Hotel Blaise and Francis was a Best Western hotel in a residential neighbourhood in the middle of nowhere. So I checked out the next day and decided to head for the centre of town.
Tip: a Euro is almost equivalent to a US dollar.
Freshly ironed linen bedsheets of the highest quality - this I remember about sleeping in Italy. My next hotel was the Grand Hotel Fieramilano - again, linen sheets. They compete equally with Egyptian cotton of the highest standard.