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.
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…
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?
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.
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.
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.
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…