By any standards, London has been experiencing an extraordinary spring. In the lead up to July’s Olympic Games, the city is blooming with new hotels, the latest being the Bulgari. This is only the third Bulgari hotel in the world, following the much lauded properties in Bali and Milan.
Housed in an entirely new building among Knightsbridge’s traditional architecture, it features a façade constructed from Portland Stone, a material that also adorns London’s most important sights, including St Paul's Cathedral, Buckingham Palace, the National Gallery and the British Museum.
Leading the design team is the architect and Bulgari stalwart Antonio Citterio, who has furnished the 85 rooms and suites with his trademark palette of stained oak and glossy Sapele mahogany, plus acres of leather, masculine furnishings and silver, the latter a subtle nod towards the brand's heritage of silverwork. Much of it is Italian designed, of course, from the solid-silver chandeliers and thick textiles to the custom-made silk curtains and bedside lamps that pay homage to Bulgari’s classic range of candlesticks. Many of the upholstered furnishings are collaborations between Citterio and B&B Italia for its Maxalto collections.
Robbie Pepin, who opened Alain Ducasse’s Italian restaurant La Trattoria in Monaco, headlines the in-house restaurant Il Ristorante with a Brit-influenced Italian menu. And for a post-prandial treat, there’s something to be said for settling into a plush 47-seat private cinema, which boasts a library of around 500 films, curated by British producer, David Puttnam.
But best of all is, of course, the spa, one of the largest in London, which takes over the two lower floors of the building. The pool area is faced in sandblasted Vicenza stone and features a 25m pool lined with mosaic tiles in nuances of green and gold.