Coral concept: Bulgari launches an urban resort in Dubai
Bulgari Hotels & Resorts could not have picked a better spot for its newly opened Dubai iteration. Set on Jumeira Bay, a man-made seahorse-shaped island, with a scenic tableau of the yacht-speckled Arabian Gulf as well as the city’s dramatic skyline, the hotel is a quiet bolt-hole that seems far from the madding crowd, but is just on the other side of a 300m bridge that is connected to the mainland.
More precisely situated on the south of the island, the 13-hectare property is anchored by the 101-room hotel, a low-slung building that separates two bays: one, a sweeping stretch of white sandy beach lined with 20 villas, and the other, a chichi marina, complete with a string of private residences and the Bulgari Yacht Club – a first for the hotel brand and for Dubai – that is fast becoming the city’s place to see and be seen.
In contrast to Dubai’s ubiquitous skyscraper hotels, the property’s understated low-rise architecture is the work of Milan-based firm Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel, whose white Carrara marble façade is defined by three floors of coral-inspired horizontal layers that filter through the sunlight while subtly nodding to the ornate, latticed details found in traditional Middle Eastern architecture.
Inside – in addition to the almost all Italian catalogue of furnishings from B&B Italia to Felxform, Flos and Maxalto – the luxury quotient is amplified by Iranian green onyx, Shanxi black granite from Mongolia and heavy wild-wool rugs handcrafted in Morocco.
The guest rooms are spacious cocoons that pull in evocative beach or ocean vistas, best enjoyed from your private balcony, the deep-soaking bath tub or perhaps from the spa’s 25m lap pool, which also comprises a Vitality Pool lined with shimmering green and real gold mosaic tiles. But it’s the in-house restaurants that draw the attention – not least Il Ristorante which serves elevated takes on Italian classics from pasta al pesto to veal Milanese, courtesy of Michelin-starred chef Niko Romito.
Up next for Bulgari Hotels & Resorts are Shanghai and Moscow openings, which will round its small portfolio up to just seven properties in 16 years. But as Silvio Ursini, the group’s executive vice president says, location is key. And judging by the Dubai property’s flawless positioning, it does seem good things come to those who wait.