Suite GEMS

A sparkling stay at Bul­gari’s new­est bi­joux ho­tel makes a trip to Lon­don all the more ex­quis­ite. By Natasha Kraal.

Harper’s Bazaar (Malaysia) - - Life -

As well de­signed as a ho­tel can be, it re­ally is its peo­ple who give it per­son­al­ity. At the Bul­gari Ho­tel & Res­i­dences in Lon­don, while the place pos­i­tively oozes Ital­ian chic, the well-dressed men (and women) in black made our stay a won­der­ful ex­pe­ri­ence. The but­ler for our ju­nior suite was Lazaros, who did what all good but­lers do, dis­creetly and with the min­i­mum of fuss. He joins a full pha­lanx of ho­tel staff – all young, coltish, and charm­ing – for whom no guest re­quest is any trou­ble, and who ex­e­cute things bet­ter than the most zeal­ous rev­o­lu­tion­ary.

It was the warmth of the wel­come from the door­men on a cold sum­mer’s day as we pulled up to the Knights­bridge en­trance that first led my hus­band and I to re­alise we were in for a very pleas­ant, and stylish, few days at Bul­gari’s lat­est prop­erty. Grand as the ho­tel is, de­signed by ar­chi­tec­ture and in­te­rior gu­rus An­to­nio Cit­te­rio Pa­tri­cia Viel and Part­ners, it still re­tains the feel of a bou­tique es­tab­lish­ment and with 85 rooms and suites over nine floors, a pala­tial pool and luxe spa, a pri­vate cin­ema, and a high-ceilinged base­ment restau­rant, it has all that an urbane, well-heeled vis­i­tor could want from a cen­tral Lon­don ad­dress. Guests are known to stay for months on end – the five pent­house res­i­dences are also al­most taken up – and the few days we spent there left us want­ing to move in.

The ground-floor bar is one of the hid­den gems of Lon­don, a place to drink Green and gold mo­saic tiles and Vi­cenza stone dec­o­rate the spa’s swim­ming pool large and act big. To­masz Starzewski once said he de­signs dresses for those who dine at Le Caprice just up the road be­hind Green Park; I’m sure Gi­ambat­tista Valli de­signs for those who visit the sim­i­larly black gran­ite­floored and monochromed and mir­rored Il Bar here. The cock­tails are a peach and the peaches, well, they make some of the finest belli­nis in town. An­tipasti abounds, this be­ing a Bul­gari ho­tel, and you can eat very well at the bar, where a few out­door ta­bles are sep­a­rated from the bustlers of Knights­bridge by a sin­gle metal rail and are yet so de­li­ciously far away from all the toil and trou­ble.

Or take the grand cir­cu­lar stair­case down to Il Ris­torante, and en­joy an over­burst of mar­ket-fresh pro­duce. With in­gre­di­ents so good, Chef Rob­bie Pepin (Scot­tish with Ital­ian her­itage) sim­ply has to let them run free, and they do ever so well. Try the lamb if you like your meat pink and juicy, the seafood salad if you like your fish salt­fresh and frisky.

It’s a won­der­fully re­lax­ing, high-ceilinged room where they also serve break­fast, with the

Bul­gari Ho­tel & Res­i­dences Lon­don

The Cigar Shop dis­plays some of the finest cigars for guests to try

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