The Diana Garden – the first of Milan’s hotel bars, opened in 2000 – is an institution, never more so than at summertime aperitivo, when up to 800 people retreat into its beautiful private gardens for chichi champagne cocktails.
This fashion-savvy bar restyles its garden every year with previous looks including Moroccan souk chic, 1960s Op Art and colonial South Africa. The interior, centred in a grand semi-circular Art Deco conservatory, is now doing the leather lounge look with pricey chocolate furniture by Italian brand Baxter.
In fact, they’re calling it the ‘>baxter lounge’, like the Diana Garden is now the ‘h club>Diana’ (a veiled bow to its Heineken sponsorship). Despite this commercial sell-out, the Diana (its devotees still call it the ‘Diana’) remains a see-and-be-seen hangout.
Its spectacular Sunday brunches are an exercise in self-restraint: less of a buffet and more a banquet. Hugely popular (and expensive), there’s overspill into the restaurant and ‘Black Label Room’, but peacocks book ahead for a table in the >baxter lounge – or Diana Bar.