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