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“Form trumps function”

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STRAFhotel | a Member of Design Hotels™
Ranked #57 of 428 Hotels in Milan
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 17 March 2012

As a design hotel Straf doesn’t disappoint: it’s meticulously put together and aesthetically very bold. And the location can’t be faulted, it’s perfect for shopping and sightseeing with the cathedral just a stone’s throw away.

But the hotel is also a great example of form trumping function. The wi-fi in my room didn’t work (at all) and after trying to help, the staff admitted that most of the far-corner rooms can’t receive the wi-fi signal. They offered to move me to a street-facing room, where the wi-fi is apparently strong, but cautioned that the street noise there could be a problem.

The lighting options in the room were almost infinite (there are many switches to play with) but even with all the lights on, my room was quite dark. The post-industrial finish also meant that it felt like a glamorous bunker, with little natural light and a strange echo. It was not a place I wanted to spend much time in.

Had I been on a boozy weekend trip, Straf might have felt like a fun place to be. But on a work trip in the week, it was actually a difficult place to be productive and feel rested.

Room Tip: Rooms at the back are quiet - but the wi-fi may not work there
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  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled on business
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2  Thank NY_LON_Traveller
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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556 - 562 of 1,163 reviews

Reviewed 4 March 2012

STRAF was ideal: excellent in every way, fabulously helpful staff, great standard of rooms and amenities, and a lovely feel to the place. No, it's not the biggest nor the brightest and yes, if you don't like the cool modern pared-down style this might not be ideal for you: but if you're looking for an amazingly central location (it really is as close to the Duomo as the map suggests) and you're a couple who're looking for a base with a sharp vibe to chill but spending most of your time out in the city, this is perfect. The hotel organised beautiful flowers in advance, booked a cracking local restaurant, and even sorted our train tickets for us for our next holiday stop in Italy. Room was spacious with brilliant floor-to-ceiling art, very clean and ultra comfy despite the austere cool looks. We'd most definitely return.

  • Stayed: October 2011, travelled as a couple
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Thank weekend_for_two
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 February 2012

excellent location... great design... very kind staff! overall a great place!

  • Stayed: March 2011, travelled on business
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Thank Dalia L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 31 January 2012

To start with location, the staff and the quality of sleep cannot be faulted at Hotel Straf. But the entourage of fashionistas hanging by the front door, the dark, confined lift and the fact that using my room key was extremely challenging made me realise I'm just not that into this hotel. Not sure whether they tried too hard or I didn't try hard enough. Do love the environmentally friendly packaging of shower products though.

  • Stayed: December 2011, travelled on business
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1  Thank MollyPearl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 January 2012

First off, if you're in Milan, the location is perfect. No doubt about that. Literally steps from the Duomo and the Galleria. If you arrive in the evening/night you'll immediately notice the hotel bar, it's loud music and street crowd. And like me, make the assumption that any room above this is a no-no (why do hotel's imagine this is good idea?).

The overall impression of the lobby and then the wider hotel is brutalist and dramatic. It's all concrete and metal panels. On check in the staff were exceptionally friendly and courteous - surprisingly so for such a design/concept hotel. And they were extremely helpful for the entire stay. I think one girl worked the desk 24/7 but remained charming.

The rooms is the biggest issue. The key cards are the swipe variety and the doors are recessed without handles...so it's not entirely obvious what you're opening. Then the actual room; quite roomy but form over function. The bed is low. There is no where to sit/work apart from a small bench under a worksurface.

There are a dozen light switches for every conceivable type of lighting. The decor is severe. Dark walls. More metal panels and concrete floor. The shower and toilet are in another almost hidden space and are effectively featureless. The sink and vanity area are in the sleeping area - and the biggest negative was the lights above the sink could not, no matter how hard I tried be turned off (and yes, I tried every switch there was). The solution was to remove the keycard from the energy slot. Meaning the a/c went back to default and was too warm. It's quite irritating to be confronted with a technical/electrical situation late at night and therefore and had a poor nights sleep. My colleagues also commented how ridiculous the lighting situation was; having to sleep with various mood lights on.

The design ethic seems to carry over into an eco one. With the hand soap doubling as shampoo/showergel; supplied in one large bottle that you need to shuttle between the shower and the sink. Not hygienic or helpful. Also for the price, a bit low rent.

Wifi is effectively nonexistent in the room I stayed in. In the lobby it's fine (it's also included in the rate). But impossible to use consistently upstairs. Which meant no work in the room.

Breakfast was impressive and quite a serene experience with again, very friendly staff.

There are alot of fancy hotels in Milan and i'm not sure I'd stay at the Straf again. The whole 'atmosphere' of the place was neither comfortable or relaxing...more intimidating and a tad stressful, despite the helpful staff.

Room Tip: Higher floor, at the back away from the bar.
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  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled on business
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1  Thank AnotherUnitedKingdom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 January 2012

Exactly two minutes from the Duomo, this has a perfect location. the only problem is that the hotel has not aged well. Very high end design when built, it is now showing its age! the original material used where fantastic and very original, the rooms are not huge but perfectly fine. Cant beat the location for sure but not as exciting as it must have been years ago.. surely more interesting hotels in Milan nowordays

  • Stayed: November 2011, travelled as a couple
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Thank margauxhanoi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 January 2012

Hotel Straf is excellently located (less than 100 meters from Duomo), has a very friendly staff, is quiet despite being more down-townish than down-town, has free wifi, has comfortable beds, while its breakfast (included in the price) is quite okay, so if that's what you're looking for: go there. However, its rooms are more beautifully designed and furnished than practical for users. First, there is no suitable chair in which you can relax or read. Second, there is no suitable desk to work on. Third, managing the abundant number of lights in the room is an exploration in itself. Fourth, there is no bath tub. Fifth, the bathroom is very small--your companion has to stay in bed while you are brushing your teeth. Sixth, the TV screen is too small to allow good viewing when you're in bed (and bed is the only place from which you can watch). Seventh, the number of TV channels is extremely limited, so you are almost forced to watch Berlusconi's chicks (they are all over his privately-owned channels), if you hate CNN (which is easy since the frequency of station calls and commercial breaks is unbearable). On the other hand, its gym, though very small, is almost unused, so you can do your running whenever you like (24 hours a day ...), provided you can stand the temperature which is standardly set at 23 degrees C (you can open the window, which brings in some fresh air). Conclusion: not fit for business travellers, but fit for fashion shoppers who return to their room so exhausted from seeing Armani's stuff on almost each corner that they just want to sleep well. And, at 240 euros a night, it's not cheap either ...

  • Stayed: December 2011, travelled as a couple
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Thank Oban2SDb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about STRAFhotel | a Member of Design Hotels™

Address: Via San Raffaele 3, 20121 Milan, Italy (Formerly STRAFhotel&bar)
Phone Number:
Region: Italy > Lombardy > Milan > Centro Storico
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#51 Luxury Hotel in Milan
#73 Romantic Hotel in Milan
#82 Business Hotel in Milan
Price Range: $310 - $579 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — STRAFhotel | a Member of Design Hotels™ 4*
Number of rooms: 64
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Hotel STRAF is located only few steps from the Duomo cathedral, the fashionable Via Montenapoleone and La Scala Theatre. An inspired fusion of Italian fashion, original design and elegance, the STRAF combines minimalist design and classic Italian architecture. The 64 rooms and suites blend design and functionality, maximising comfort. Those seeking a stylish, urban hangout will enjoy the unconventional atmosphere of the STRAF Bar and the cool service. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Straf Hotel Milan

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