CULT OF BLING

India Today - - LEISURE -

The first thing that strikes you when you en­ter the ho­tel is black; fifty shades and more. There’s also some slate grey and a devil­ish glint of sil­ver that works as a leitmotif. There’s noth­ing soft or old- world about the Bvl­gari Ho­tel & Res­i­dences that opened its gilded re­volv­ing doors in Lon­don end- May. While I’m wait­ing in the lobby for my chap­er­one, I study its new­est res­i­dents. There’s a woman in fancy train­ers and sec­ond- skin sweats with a per­fectly shaped bot­tom and straw- coloured blow­away hair who looks harm­less till you catch a glimpse of her deadly rock; there are two young men in trench coats who smell ex­pen­sive and talk to each other in a soft Rus­sian drawl; a large lady with a groomed poo­dle hov­ers at the en­trance un­sure of whether to al­low the Bvl­gari world to swal­low her whole. The ho­tel, like the brand, is sassy, se­lec­tive and edgy. No one who comes to stay here is wait­ing to be awed by en­chant­ing mu­rals or elab­o­rate drapes. They are here be­cause they live the brand; from the bag they tote to the flick of their wrist which is adorned with a time­less Bvl­gari watch, it’s what they un­der­stand best and hold dear­est.

The first new lux­ury ho­tel to be built in Lon­don in al­most 40 years is lo­cated in natty Knights­bridge, round the cor­ner from an up­scale Burberry store and walk­ing dis­tance from the famed Har­rods. The fur­nish­ings and tex­tiles used have been crafted by Ital­ian man­u­fac­tur­ers ex­clu­sively for Bvl­gari. As the el­e­va­tor opens onto a long cor­ri­dor, it gleams of new- age chic. The beds in all rooms have a head board up­hol­stered in rich de­sign that is rem­i­nis­cent of the brand’s trade­mark jew­ellery. While the tone is all sub­dued and lac­quered, the cus­tom made silk drapes and sil­ver- fin­ished ta­ble lamps cre­ate a look that is at­trac­tive with­out be­ing over­pow­er­ing. The ho­tel has done away with a mini bar and has a cus­tom made leather trunk in­stead that opens to re­veal a fridge lined with your favourite things. Small touches such as this, the fine Bvl­gari toi­letries in the bath­room and a larger than usual cup­board go a long way in leav­ing an im­pres­sion of com­plete deca­dence.

Built in the heart of Lon­don, the ho­tel does not boast sprawl­ing gar­dens but has its own sur­prise el­e­ment in the form of the spa, gym and swim­ming pool. Spread over two floors, the mood here is all teak, onyx and Vi­cen­zia stone. The 25m pool fea­tures shim­mer­ing green and gold mo­saic like a jewel box, stretch­ing across the length of the base­ment, only to end in a vi­tal­ity pool that’s rimmed by gold leaf mo­saic. The com­bi­na­tion of molten gold tiles, sap­phire

blue and bur­nished emer­ald tones com­mands you to un­wind, ei­ther by div­ing right in or rest­ing in one of the muslin- trussed ca­banas lin­ing the pool. Try the in­no­va­tive med­i­cal pedi­cure by one of renowned po­di­a­trist Mar­garet Dabbs’ spe­cial­ist team where you are fed pure oxy­gen while your feet are pam­pered, or sink onto a bed for a sig­na­ture mas­sage.

The ho­tel has just one main res­tau­rant, II Ros­torante, but chances are guests will pre­fer to dine else­where in Knights­bridge where it’s more re­laxed. Both the bar and res­tau­rant lack per­son­al­ity, even though an at­tempt has been made to em­bel­lish them with the Bvl­gari jew­ellery mo­tif. The food is easy on the palate and chef Rob­bie Pepin truly un­der­stands Ital­ian cui­sine and hon­ours its au­then­tic­ity but that’s where the food ex­pe­ri­ence ends. The bar and res­tau­rant lack the busy Lon­don vibe which makes eat­ing out in this city such a heady ex­pe­ri­ence.

While Bvl­gari Lon­don is not the kind of ho­tel kids will take to, Suri Cruise- es­que divas can be rest as­sured they will be pam­pered right and have ac­cess to their own child- size bath robes, slip­pers and even toi­letries.

Bvl­gari smells and speaks money and its glossy im­age is likely to at­tract those who adore the brand and want a ho­tel that screams lo­ca­tion, lo­ca­tion, lo­ca­tion. As for me, with one push of the re­volv­ing doors, I’m back out on a rain- swept Lon­don street, light years away from that world.

THE GLOSSY BLACK FA­CADE OF LON­DON’S NEW­EST LUX­URY HO­TEL IN

KNIGHTS­BRIDGE IS BUILT FOR THE HIGH AND MIGHTY, FINDS PRACHI BHUCHAR

THE SPARK­ING UN­DER­GROUND POOL IS A TRAN­QUIL SPOT TO EN­JOY A PRI­VATE MO­MENT AF­TER A SPA TREAT­MENT

THE TA­PES­TRY USED IN THE ROOMS DRAWS ON THE BRAND’S JEWEL MO­TIFS

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.