Starhotels E.c.ho., an eco-friendly 4* hotel in Milan

ByAndrea Thompson

July 3, 2024

Starhotels E.c.ho. enjoys a strategic location near Milan’s Central railway station, a mere 100 meters away. The hotel is renowned for its innovative green design, focusing on low energy consumption and smart features, marking it as Milan’s first example of entirely green hotel architecture.


Starhotels, established in 1980 by Ferruccio Fabri, is currently under the leadership of Elisabetta Fabri, the President and CEO. She has broadened the group’s portfolio through strategic investments and renovations of hotels both in Italy and on an international scale.

Originally an industrial building, the structure was largely preserved through “responsible conversion,” achieving a seamless fusion of historical charm and modernity. Since its opening in 2011, it has drawn a cosmopolitan and eco-conscious clientele who value E.c.ho.’s distinctive mix of modern elegance and advanced eco-friendly technology.

Design and Rooms

The décor is stylish, contemporary, and welcoming. The building materials are all certified as eco-friendly or recycled, and the furnishings, along with the artwork, are the culmination of interior designer Andrea Auletta’s detailed research. Auletta aimed to establish a sophisticated and minimalist modern ambiance, highlighted by a cleverly illuminated ceiling that mimics the day’s progression, in tune with natural light.

Sourced from responsibly managed forests, the cedar blocks, the porcelain stoneware flooring with its wood-like appearance, and the carpeting, which boasts Eco Solution Q certification, all reflect the hotel’s commitment to sustainability. The hotel showcases exclusive artworks by Emy Petrini, crafted from woven branches and botanical elements. Adding to the eco-conscious theme, Josh Harder’s “Constellation Bonsai” on the veranda is a sculptural tree adorned with 110 LED bulbs that illuminate at dusk, powered by solar energy.

E.c.ho. features 143 modern rooms and suites, each blending eco-sustainability with four-star luxury. Anticipate a palette of warm, natural colors, with enlarged floral images adorning the walls—one for each level. The inviting ambiance is crafted through warm tones; materials, furnishings, and fabrics boast an elegant rusticity; and the generous influx of natural light brightens every room, accentuating their airy freshness.

Each room is equipped with Starbeds featuring ecological mattresses, complemented by the unique pillow menu service, enabling guests to select pillows that meet their ergonomic preferences. The design adheres to the “Green Room” model, which includes certified carpeting, wallpaper, and upholstery, beds constructed from recycled materials and “FSC” certified wood, bed linens made of natural fibres, and a minibar with a transparent door to reduce energy waste when making selections.

The Green Rooms feature low-consumption lighting, partially powered by solar panels, and hot water generated from the heat emitted by refrigeration units. Shower water is recycled for use in toilet flush tanks, and the building is equipped with insulated windows and exterior facades. Upon check-in, guests are given a keychain that highlights these eco-friendly features and allows them to calculate the carbon footprint of their stay.


Orto Green Food & Mood is a restaurant bathed in natural light, with backlit walls that mimic a garden brimming with fruits, flowers, and vegetables. The ingredients are sourced from premier producers of seasonal goods, favoring cooperatives and members of the Slow Food association.

The chef here artfully blends inspirations from street food and global cuisines, always with a steadfast commitment to lightness and well-being. This is reflected in the abundant vegetarian and vegan selections, as well as the emphasis on organic and gluten-free offerings.

The Orto Green Food & Mood Bar, strategically located in the lobby with views of the veranda and private garden, is adorned with stone and natural materials in warm hues. Bright and serene, it offers the perfect setting to unwind with a coffee or cocktail, or to savour a quick snack. During the summer, the glass walls open, extending the space into the veranda, creating an ambiance of sheer elegance and relaxation.

The venue boasts five meeting rooms, each named after a different element and designed in accordance with green building standards. Equipped with state-of-the-art technology, they can host up to 100 people. Adorned in soft hues and natural materials, these rooms are accessible via an elevator or a picturesque staircase that mimics a volcanic wall.

At Starhotels E.c.ho., wellness is a paramount concern, which is reflected in the hotel’s provision of a panoramic gym. This compact space is bathed in natural light from 360-degree glass walls, offering breath taking views of Milan’s skyline, complemented by a charming terrace for relaxation after a workout.

Ecological Technology

The hotel prioritizes energy efficiency and in 2019 obtained a Green Globe Gold Status and still maintains this status by utilizing the following.

  • Air conditioning controlled by an automated system with presence detection
  • Recovery of soapy water for use in toilet flush tanks and plant irrigation; low consumption faucets
  • Energy-efficient water heaters for the reduction of combustible fuel consumption and the reduction of 75 tons of CO2 emissions
  • Ecological gas conditioning for maximum energy savings
  • LED lighting system throughout the hotel
  • Use of condensed water from the air conditioning elements for preheating water
  • Presence detection for the activation of lights in the common area bathrooms
  • Computerized management of the lighting system for the entire hotel
  • Photovoltaic roof panels (125 m2 ) which collect energy to illuminate hallways and common areas

The result is a saving of 25% on natural gas, 15% on electricity, 20% on water, and an annual reduction of 130 tons of CO2.

E.c.ho. caters to the cosmopolitan and ecologically conscious traveller. It offers a guilt-free experience that blends style, sustainability, and Italian hospitality with a dash of Milanese enchantment.