The design brief of Townhouse 31 (named after its street number, not the room count – it has just 19) is ‘at home with a well-travelled sophisticate’ – a good mix for busy Milan hotels. Entry is through a Chinese pergola and a baroque outdoor bar; the lobby is more relaxed with deep cream sofas, parquet floor and eclectic ethnic furnishings from Morocco, Africa and the Orient. rnrnThe four-star Townhouse – the first in a chain of family-run boutique hotels (also Townhouse 12, Piazza Gerusalemme, 12; tel: 02 890 785 12; and Townhouse Galleria, opened in December 2006) – does not have the facilities of a large hotel, but its 24-hour hotel butler can prepare meals (there’s no restaurant here) and oblige most demands; laptops and mobile phones are available on request. rnrnThe owners, who live next door, have been known to shuttle guests around when taxis are unavailable. Rooms are simple and low-key (and expensive for what they are); all include plasma TVs, linen sheets and aromatherapy pillows. Its exclusive bed-and-breakfast feel is most apparent at the communal breakfast table – a revolution in bleak hotel breakfasts.