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Sure, there’s plenty of good looking places in Milan where to lay down your head. But when you’re on a budget and don’t wish to compromise on comfort and an inspiring aesthetic, it can be quite a challenge. The newly opened Babila hostel, situated in the downtown neighbourhood of Porta Vittoria, comes to the rescue with its cool hospitality formula and understated settings. Housed in the imposing former west wing of Istituto Vittoria Colonna, an educational organization with catholic roots that has managed a number of nursery and primary schools in the city, the building’s ornate gothic-transalpine façade offers a beautiful contrast with the modern interiors created by Studio Arx2, a neapolitan practice led by architects Giovanni Picolli and Giancarlo Noce.

The structure’s lofty spaces have luckily been retained, and now that they’ve been paired with a minimalist aesthetic and modern materials, the venue has acquired a new freshness and vibe. The vaulted ground floor hall, home to Babila hostel’s reception desk and a small bistrot in an adjacent space, features pristine enamelled walls and resin flooring. Sophisticated light fixtures and art pieces add to a welcoming and playful atmosphere, setting the tone for the entire premises. The property features just 14 rooms with multiple beds [4 or 6] set across two floors, including women only rooms and rooms accommodating guests with a disability. And if you’d like to splurge a little: the top floor features three double rooms, each with a private bathroom.

The rooms are furnished with specially designed beds with a metal construction – mind you, most furniture pieces here bear the signature of Studio Arx2 – and although functionality has the upper hand, the design is balanced and executed with a keen eye for colour and materials. A magnificent marble staircase, an original fixture, leads up to the rooms and all the onsite facilities and shared spaces. As said, there’s a bistro and it serves Italian bites as served by a traditional trattoria, and not surprisingly, the venue also doubles as an events space. Relaxation is a key ingredient at Babila hostel, given the many shared spaces, such as game rooms, a yoga room, a lounge and on the top floor, a secluded terrace with sweeping views of lush greens. For those who’d like to balance the good life and break some sweat, a fully equipped modern gym is readily available in the basement area.

Design: Giovanni Picolli and Giancarlo Noce / Studio Arx2
Photography: Riccardo Gasperoni

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