One of Italy’s finest hoteliers on the continued success of Principe di Savoia and Milan as a luxury destination

One of the finest Italian luxury hoteliers Ezio Indiani has recently spoken exclusively to CPP-LUXURY.COM about the dynamics and complexity of Milan’s luxury hotel market and the continued success of Principe di Savoia Hotel. Before joining the Hotel Principe di Savoia as General Manager in 2005 he was Director of the Hotel Villa D’Este in Cernobbio, Italy. In 2002 he received the Hermes Prize as the ‘Best Hotel Director’ in the world, the highest award given in the deluxe hotel category.

Principe di Savoia is among the very few luxury hotels in Milan with a fresh product offering, having undergone major renovations in the past 2 years. To what extent has this translated into an improved performance of the hotel?  

At the Principe di Savoia, Dorchester Collection, we believe in “never rest on your laurels” and that in other to stay ahead of the game we need to continuously strive to improve. In the past 2 years the Hotel finished a major design overhaul as new lobby, bar and suites were unveiled. The lobby, Il Salotto, and bar have been redesigned by acclaimed international architect, Thierry Despont, all new rooms including nine Principe Suites have been designed by Francesca Basu and the Imperial Suite has undergone a complete transformation by renowned Milanese architect Celeste dell’Anna.  This has allowed us to offer our valued Guests a product that is both contemporary and traditional and to meet and exceed the expectations of our Guests.

What is the ratio of corporate versus leisure guests for your hotel? Has this ratio changed in the past year?  

Our clientele is 70% business and 30% leisure. In recent years due to our innovative packages and family offerings we have been able to increase our leisure clientele. Furthermore we have a strategic marketing plan that not only promotes the Hotel but Milan as the ideal leisure destination for fashion, design, culture, art, theatre, fine dining and entertainment. Each month we send a newsletter informing clients and potential clients all that is happening at the Hotel and in Milan.

How has Milan’s luxury hospitality market weathered the European financial crisis? Which are the dominant trends in terms of business performance?  

The year 2011 was a very strong year for Milan’s luxury hospitality market which saw an increase in both RevPar and occupancy. At present 2012 is a bit more difficulty due to the austerity measures taken by many countries but we are hopeful that the economy will pick up from September and although we might still see a decrease from European clients we will be able to counterbalance with emerging countries.

After the first third party management agreement for Le Richmond in Geneva, would the Dorchester Collection consider a second property in Italy?

Dorchester Collection hotels are landmarks of individuality, prestige and comfort with peerless reputations that continue to attract royalty, dignitaries, celebrities, and an international set accustomed to the finer things in life. Whether you are staying in London, Beverly Hills, Paris, Milan, Geneva or Los Angeles, each of our hotels offers a rich and unique provenance, embodying the distinctive culture of the world’s finest cities.   The launch of Dorchester Collection in 2006 signalled a change to the strategic goals of the company. By applying its unrivalled experience in owning and operating some of the world’s great individual hotels, the company’s vision is to become the ultimate hotel management company, with a passion for excellence and innovation, honouring the individuality and heritage of its hotels. This will be achieved through acquisition as well as management of wholly owned and part-owned hotels. DC emphasises the importance of a strategic fit, the right location and an aim to be one of the leading RevPAR performers in the city. Therefore if a Hotel that fits these criteria is found then a second property in Italy may be considered.

This Spring the hotel’s veranda has opened as a FENDI space, displaying some of the Fendi Casa most successful furniture and design items. How important is the relationship between fashion and the Principe di Savoia?

Milan is the capital of fashion and the Principe since its opening in 1927 has been the natural haven for the fashion elite. Our meeting spaces have hosted many important fashion shows and the Principe Bar is the place to be and be seen by the fashion crowd.

What are the current special offerings for your suite guests?  

UPGRADE YOUR SUITE   It’s a Milanese landmark, a byword for style that offers luxury and credibility from its lively bar to its serene spa. Now there’s even more reason to stay at Dorchester Collection’s timeless Principe di Savoia, Milan, with a guaranteed upgrade offer throughout the summer. Book a suite from €560 between May 23 and September 15 and you will be upgraded at the time of booking to the next level of suite.   Ambassador Junior Suite to Ambassador Suite, from € 560,00 Ambassador Suite to Principe Suite, from € 695,00 Principe Suite to Royal Suite, from € 900,00 Royal Suite to Imperial Suite, from € 2000,00.

Which is the competitive set of Principe di Savoia? Please name the most important competitive advantages of Principe di Savoia?  

Largest luxury hotel in Milan with wide rooms’ inventory and good breakdown in rooms and suites. Recently refurbished suite product also best luxury suite product in town. The average room size is the largest within our competitive set. One of the largest and most flexible meeting facilities in downtown Milan; most of rooms with daylight. Largest Presidential Suite in Milan Largest hotel Spa in town, located on the top floor of the hotel. Fully equipped business center with secretarial service, Monday to Sunday, from 7:00am to 12:00am. Acanto restaurant with separate direct access especially dedicated to our Milanese clientele. Being part of DC help us to penetrate the luxury market and to reach the high end travellers. Complimentary limo-service to shopping district. Larger and brighter lobby Separate entrance with dedicated check-in and hospitality lounge for groups DJ evenings / New event schedule in the new Principe Bar

Which are the top three nationalities most frequent customers of Principe di Savoia?

Italian, British and American

What are the biggest challenges in terms of operations for luxury hoteliers in the city of Milan?

In terms of operations we are fortunate to have a very strong and diverse workforce and dedicated staff that allows operations to run smoothly. The biggest challenge for luxury hotels in Milan is to offer something unique and to work with city hall to attract guests to come to Milan since we compete with famous cities such as Rome, Florence and Venice not to mention the competition of international cities like Madrid, Wien, Barcelona, London and Paris.