We’re just back from the new The Bulgari Hotel London in London where we were wowed by the style of the hotel and the strong level of service we experienced.
Of course, our hopes were high to begin with as the fledgling brand is an offshoot of The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company sprinkled with the intense attention of the Bulgari family.
But first, the location: The Bulgari is set discreetly on Knightsbridge Road. If you look out the entrance you’ll see quiet streets leading up to the serene Hyde Park. But, make a right and another quick right through a charming, historic set of shops, walk a few feet and gaze up, you’ll see Harrods and all the other lovely retail offerings that the busy Brompton Road has to offer. It doesn’t get much better than this.
|II Bar’s mirrored silver surfaces are an homage to the Bulgari family, whose initial fortune was made in producing jewelry.|
What we appreciated most was the way the Bulgari differentiates itself in the luxury market at a time when London has seen an influx of new products. When we arrived one morning after an overnight flight, we were asked to sit for just a moment in the lobby until our room was quite ready and our butler was ready to check us in. A greeting cappuccino was instantly brought out to us and as we savored the modern, sophisticated style of the lobby, we noticed that soft rock music was playing. When our butler, Florentin, promptly retrieved us, he gave us a quick look around, pointing out the dazzling Il Bar, whose mirrored silver surfaces are an homage to the Bulgari family, whose initial fortune was made in producing jewelry. A note on Florentin: While we have never been the sort to request assistance in packing and unpacking, we found the butler service at the Bulgari to be quite enjoyable. Florentin looked out for us during our stay, appearing to find out if we needed a wake-up call in the morning or to walk us back to our room after a busy day of shopping.
Our studio suite was one large room with a divider blocking the bed for privacy. We loved that it had three seating areas, plenty of room for a couple or even those traveling with children to enjoy. The bathroom, well, the very large bathroom, might just get Luxury Travel Advisor’s vote for the top bathroom of the year in a new hotel. Black marble floors and sinks gave it all a very sophisticated feel and there was a large, separate WC area with its own sink apart from the one in the main area, which also had a huge tub and a large walk-in shower.
Nice Touch: When we returned from dinner one evening, housekeeping had set up a row of burning candles on the tub along with some incense. All set in the dimly lit room, it made us feel quite special.
|II Ri storante serves up delicious Italian fare.|
The hotel, which has just 85 rooms, also has 23 suites, which provide butler service. The best are the Bulgari Suites and we say if you must choose, you should opt for Bulgari VI and Bulgari VII, which have terraces with views of Knightsbridge and through to Hyde Park. The Bulgari Suites have dining rooms for up to eight people and can be connected into two-bedroom suites.
Good to know: If you get the smallest room in the house, No. 614, fret not, it has a balcony overlooking Knightsbridge.
The famed Sylvain Ercoli is the general manager of the hotel (he hails from Paris where he’s served at the Raffles Royal Monceau Hotel, the Hôtel Ritz and Hôtel George V Paris), but it’s best if luxury travel advisors can contact Nick Sievewright ([email protected]), who serves as their liaison if special attention is needed for a specific guest.
Head Concierge Antonio Bignone ([email protected]arihotels.com or [email protected]; 011-44-0-207-151-1011) can provide VIP guests with reservations at chefs tables in London’s top restaurants as well as entry to exclusive nightclubs and private members clubs. Fancy some shopping? Bignone can also arrange private tours of individual and trendy boutiques on nearby Sloane Street with a personal shopper and stylist. Note: The hotel recommends that if you truly want to come home with a prize you can’t find anywhere else, then shop at MINT, an interior design shop in South Kensington, which “has the most beautiful one-off design pieces you wouldn’t find anywhere else.”
We say dining at the hotel’s Il Ristorante, where head chef, Robbie Pepin serves up Italian fare is an absolute must. (Think artisanal pasta made with dried, roasted and marinated tomatoes from La Motticella, Puglia, an area famous for its San Marzano tomatoes.) Upstairs, at Il Bar, consider reviewing the Bulgaribellini menu, with new favorites such as the Cherry & Pistachio Bellini and the Carrot & Lavender Bellini.
If you have time for a refresh on your London sojourn, be sure to try out the 11-room spa, where the two signature treatments are the Enzyme Renewing Facial and The Body Radiance Treatment. Hint: Be sure to reserve at the same time you book your room. Shelley Hepburn ([email protected]; 011-44-0-207-151-1055) is on hand to explain treatments or to assist with group booking parties that could have a “Colour and Cocktail” theme.
What to pack for your Bulgari stay so you’ll fit in like a local?
Dress code is elegant yet relaxed.