Spoiler alert: this is a rant, with sprinkles of praise.

One of the emerging brands in the new gigantic mega corp Marriott portfolio is Moxy. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s basically a hotel concept for hip millennials. While I technically fall into the millennial category at the ripe age of 32, I wouldn’t quite consider myself a hipster, though I do have an affinity for their attention to detail on cocktails and coffee.

Anyway – we’re here to talk about the trials and tribulations of the Moxy Linate Airport in Milan, Italy. It’s got some great features, and a few fails.

For those that don’t know, Linate is the far more convenient airport in Milan, versus Malpensa (MXP) which is over an hour from the city center. I arrived off of a delayed flight from London but before my departure I was sure to browse the Moxy website in search of directions from the terminal to the hotel.

Fail #1 No Phones In Rooms

I’m all for tech. In fact my happiest hotel memory of the year was asking for late checkout via the Marriott app in New York just a week before. Who needs phones? Well, it turns out – guests do. Moxy hotels have ditched in room phones, because why could a guest possibly need something?

I was tired, I needed help, and I had no way of contacting the hotel other than going down to the lobby, as the “no phones” note in the room suggested I do. Only… I had just come in off a late flight,  I couldn’t figure out how to turn off a light, I was in my pyjamas and had I been able to call, I would’ve been asleep about 20 minutes earlier. Plenty more on that below…

Fail #2 Directions

Few things actually make my mind explode in meme style fashion more than an airport hotel without instructions. Hello geniuses, clearly most people staying with you are coming from an airport terminal, so if you are not in fact located in the terminal, and signage isn’t everywhere, clear instructions should be like the most basic asset.

It shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes to write either. There were no clear directions to be found, only a message that the hotel is in walking distance from the airport, and that there is a shuttle bus for €3. Who charges for shuttle busses to an airport hotel?

Fail #3 Getting There

I landed at 11PM off of a delay. Naturally, like any traveler coming from abroad, I was really eager to put head to pillow. Upon exiting immigration there were absolutely zero signs whatsoever. You’d be excused for wondering if in fact there was no hotel at all. I took a gamble and made the roughly half a mile walk near parking structures which looked safer.

In the dark, this felt like a scene out of a movie where someone is about to have a very bad thing happen to them. I couldn’t actually imagine making that walk as a female traveler. Then things got better when I realized that I only needed to hoist my bag over a barrier and run across a high speed four lane motorway to reach the parking lot.

Fail #4 First Impression

Legitimately flustered, I approached the front desk with one question: how was I supposed to get here? The staff member replied “ah, you did not feel safe?”. No, I **** didn’t. It was clear that since he or others must find running across four lane motorways with laptops and luggage in a foreign country amusing, I should too. I didn’t, I really ***** didn’t.

The team member then told me that I should just take the shuttle bus for €3, but it’s best if I call ahead to do so, since it doesn’t run if it doesn’t see anyone. Oh great, so even if I had been conned into paying to fulfil a basic tenant of an an airport hotel standard, I might have never connected with the driver.

Fail #5 Lighting That’s Too Smart For Guests

Exhausted, flustered and generally pretty damn mad, I made my way to the Moxy room. For an airport hotel, somehow the Moxy brand really does work. It’s sleek, and more modern than most hotels in this category and for a tiny room, it was actually quite nice. I was generally happy. I quickly went about shutting all the lights off and getting ready for some sleep.

Problem: one light would not turn off.

There was a heavenly glow coming from under the bed, like the space ship in ET. I turned all lights on, turned them all off. Still there. I then went for a cavity style search fo the room, looking for hidden light switches. I then went to pick up the room phone to ask what I was doing wrong, only to find that Moxy doesn’t do phones. If I wanted help, I’d need to walk down to reception. Resigned to ambient light being a part of my sleep, I gave up, only to find out about 4 minutes later that it was motion activated. It eventually turned off.

Final Thoughts On Moxy Linate

Walking back to the airport today in daylight was less alarming, but it still involved no signage, a need for Google Maps (aka a connection in a foreign country) to see where the actual property is located relative to the terminal. If I didn’t have Google Fi, I probably would’ve had to ask around to get an idea of which direction to walk in.

The hotel’s hipster inspired attitude and laid back check in (I struggled to find it next to the espresso bar) have clear future in the modern world and for a basic hotel, the rooms ticked most boxes. Wifi was fast and the room was clean.

Unfortunately, the pillows were something along the lines of what you’d find in an airport being sold to passengers who don’t know better. I probably won’t be back, at least not until I hear that the shuttle is free, and Marriott has invested in signage SOMEWHERE in the airport…

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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26 Comments

  1. If there’s one city in the world where I wouldn’t consider a single experience to be indicative of the entire brand, it’s Milan. I’ve never been to a Moxy but I have been to Milan once, and I’ve seen enough of Milan to know that Milan sucks.

    I would be curious to see a follow-up post of your experience at a Moxy that isn’t Milan.

  2. I googled the hotel name, went to their Marriott website, clicked “Map” and what do you know – there’s a map, directions, and shuttle information. There’s the price and phone number right there.

    1. Ok genius, so did I. It says there’s a shuttle. It does not say where it pulls up, or more importantly how to walk to the hotel, which was entirely the point.

      You’re quite literally lost with no signage, and you don’t access the hotel via the terminal.

      The points were: you should not have to pay. If it says you can walk, it should say how.

  3. FYI – While I don’t like being fleeced, charges for airport hotel shuttle buses are common in Europe. It would be nice to see clear pickup location instructions as well as a timetable or the need to call in to reserve.

  4. Yup, a rant, albeit a funny one. Proving my theory that once you start to get strung out — where’s the ****ing shuttle — especially in a foreign land, you need to IMMEDIATELY stop and do whatever you do to chill — for as long as it takes to restart your “happy vision.” Otherwise, it just spirals down. I know.

  5. As a titanium elite Marriott member who used to go for Renaissance hotels, I will now pick Moxy over Renaissance for any trip where I just need a bed, maybe a place to have a drink and do some work on a laptop.

    I feel like your frustrations are fair, but would have happened anywhere. You got stressed out and spiraled out of control, and that probably would have happened no matter what hotel you booked.

      1. You clearly did. This article enlightened me much more about your inability to adapt to challenging situations than it did about the hotel chain.

  6. I hate the lack of desks. I have been in two Moxys. Neither had a desk. One had a shelf sticking out of the wall at desk height but it barely fit my laptop and had a cube shaped cushion as a “chair”. I also find checking in at the bar disorienting. Especially without clear signage. And the noxious signature smell that permeates the ground floor area… I am avoiding this chain in the future.

  7. I stayed in a Moxy once – in Tempe, AZ.

    It was a tarted up motel, and there was a dead roach in the bathroom. Later I found another under the desk that hadn’t been there the night before. They offered me food coupons as an apology – no thanks.

    None of the odd bells and whistles made up for not being able to run a hotel competently.

  8. I would’ve guessed you were much younger than 32, interesting!

    I’m closer to the young end of millennials and I really don’t like these hotels (aloft, moxy, etc) trying to cater to “us” like we’re all futuristic cyborgs. Pretty funny that we generally don’t know how to work an iron well enough to require that signage.

    Did Google Maps not give you a better walking route? That sounds miserable

  9. Too funny. I stayed here and arrived around 11pm too. Had no issues walking over to the hotel. After the parking lots there is a big protected street crossing with well lighted path for both walkers and bikers right on the other side of the street. Its prob a 5-10 minute walk total and I never felt unsafe – even in the dead of winter (January) when it was cold outside.

    But yes agree about the charge for the shuttle, which is stupid considering the short walk. I guess if you have a lot of luggage it might make sense.

  10. Sounds like Moxy was Marriott’s response to Starwood’s Aloft & W hotels brand.
    Then the companies merged.
    I still don’t understand why they don’t merge the Moxy brand into Aloft or W Hotels.
    I’ve never been a fan of Moxy….(or pre-merger Marriott for that matter).

  11. “Who charges for shuttle busses to an airport hotel?”

    Uh, ever hear of Heathrow? (although there are some free buses at LHR too)

  12. Fail #1 as I’ve stayed in Moxy’s myself, call the hotel. Pull up the phone number on Google on your cell phone and call the hotel. Tell them what room you’re in and ask for instructions to turn out the light. Done. I see hotels getting rid of phones in rooms in general and making you communicate through their app so I see this as a trend that is just starting. I haven’t seen a new looking phone in a hotel in a long time.

  13. I think its funny that you rant about the euros for the shuttle and then compare to Marriott that is 100€ more.

    I’ve stayed at a lot of moxys and think this article is very forced.

    Regarding getting from a to b; I’m sure if you asked the staff they would have given you the best directions to get to the airport. Google maps works when you don’t have internet, as GPS is a location based service, and has little to do with internet.

    You never actually explained what you needed the phone for? Do you not have the numbers of all people you might need to contact, and thus their personal numbers, WhatsApp, etc etc.

    I recently got back from Asia where they told me through many signs not to throw papers into toilet. I don’t then see why a sign in Europe explaining how the iron works is somehow offensive?!? (replying to a comment)

  14. I guess they all are not the same. I stayed at the Moxy downtown Chicago and it was the opposite kind of stay. I really liked it. They had phones and good lighting. It was close to a lot of stuff and the staff was friendly. I would recommend it.

  15. I stayed at the Moxy at MXP. It is conveniently located within walking distance of the domestic flights terminal. There is an airport shuttle to the huge international shuttle. I am well past being a millennial. I was unimpressed by the check-in which took too long because part of the gimmick was they gave a drink to every arriving guest (I skipped mine; I just wanted to get into my room). The food offerings were poor. One staff person was supposed to handle food, drinks, and check-in. The room was okay for a one night airport stay. But the place was too gimmicky to make it a good experience. I will avoid Moxy in the future.

  16. I liked the Holiday Inn at Linate. They as well had a shuttle, the restaurant inside was great and they arranged for us to share a cab the next morning for our very early flight saving us money (too early for the shuttle)

  17. Stayed at the Moxy in Munich for an overnight layover. What a miserable hotel. I’ll just post my review of the experience here, you can also find it on Google maps.

    “This place needs improvement. Shower head broken, hand soap empty, air conditioning cant cool room, an unorganized mess at check in which is at the bar, garbage can in bathroom broke, sheets too small for bed, no coffee maker in room, no phone in room, no clock in room, no security chain on door, shower doesn’t drain properly, drunk people all about the hotel, they don’t bother to inform guests there is a public bus right outside there door that goes to the airport for a fraction of what they charge for their shutte. Feels more like a cheap hostel than a Marriott brand hotel. On top of all this the hotel tv channel, and advertisements around hotel all seem to promote a drunken sex party?? Not worth the money and will not be back.”

    I’ll never stay at one again.

  18. Paying for shuttle buses in Europe is pretty much standard. If it’s not easy to walk, expect to pay. Even Heathrow – unless you know about the local bus routes that are free in the Airport zone, the Hoppa bus charges for shuttle service.

    I’m not a fan of either Moxy or Aloft, but whacking them for a pretty much standard charge in Europe is a bit too much.

  19. Stayed at my first Moxy this weekend. I went in expecting it to be trying WAY too hard to be hip and cool for millennial, and my expectations were met exactly. The staff acted like they were intentionally trying to be rude, and seemed annoyed when we asked any questions. As a platinum I had a $10 F&B credit per person per day, which I thought had no exclusions. We tried to order drinks with it – we were told we couldn’t apply it towards alcohol. We planned to use it for breakfast – the only “breakfast” was a few grab and go yogurts and pastries. I’ll do all I can to avoid staying at a Moxy unless it’s by far the cheapest option I can find in the area.

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