I remember walking past the Bulgari hotel back in 2012, the third of its kind after Milan and Bali, when it opened its doors, and was amazed that fashion brands can have ties with luxury hotels. The Bulgari Hotel & Residences opened its doors in the heart of Knightsbridge, steps away from London's luxury fashion savvy epicentre Harvey Nichols and Harrods. The hotel interiors are designed by Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel and Partners where, along with local a architect Squire and Partners, has created a sanctuary luxuriously decorated with Italian furnishings.
Not large but not boutique - with 85 rooms inspired by Bulgari jewellery designs. Don't expect door handles to be elaborated with sapphires or walls to be full of magnificent jewels - that's not the point of the branded hotel. It's subtle, luxurious differences such as silver candlesticks and chandeliers. However, there is a display cabinet at the lobby of several fine jewellery pieces.
I didn't stay at the hotel but did have a chance to visit Rivea - one of the restaurants of French chef Alain Ducasse. His selection of restaurants range from informal bistros to his three-michelin star at the Plaza Athénée. Ducasse chose this intimate 82-seat space to create an informal restaurant with both Italian and French influences. The menu states that dishes come in small plates with a recommendation to choose from 4 or 5 per person. This and the wide selection of seafood made the experience similar to that of a tapas restaurant.
The appetisers were as fresh as the variety on the menu - starting off with the Octopus salad and Aubergine caviar (not an easy find in London). Presentation, again, is key and this is where the sautéed gamberoni really made the appetisers a highlight. You won't find carbonara or seafood spaghetti on the menu - but rather there's finer main options like confit veal shank or wild sea bass. It's certainly worth a visit if standard Spanish tapas doesn't impress you and you feel like French/ Italian.
The Bulgari Spa was voted as 'Best for Glamour' by The Telegraph and the hotel prides its status with its two storeys wellness centre. This sanctuary is tucked away from the crowds of Knightsbridge comprising of a gymnasium, a 25-metre pool with cabanas and Spa that specialises in overall wellness programmes. My experience of a personalised (full body) massage was my first and while at a premium price, visitors have the option to choose from the various therapeutic massage techniques such as Swedish, hot stone, aromatherapy, detox and destress. These personalised services form a great part of allowing guests the option to tailor their visit specifically to their needs.
For the gents, there's even a private room made for Gentlemen's Grooming where the treatment menu offers services from the barber experience, hair cuts and even ESPA face treatments. A great addition that allows just the right amount of privacy and discreetness. I hope to return to London soon to experience more of Bulgari's magic.
: Outfit details ::
Tee - Topman
Suit - Tailor-made
Shoes - Prada
To be continued…#tbc