China chic: Bulgari brings classic Italian style to Shanghai’s soaring skyline
Having launched properties in Beijing and Dubai over the past year, Bulgari Hotels & Resorts is certainly on a roll with the opening of its sixth location, this time sited within the Suhe Creek revitalisation project in Shanghai’s Jing’an district. As with all of its hotels, the Italian jewellery brand has managed to create an opulent retreat with Bulgari Hotel Shanghai in the helter-skelter heart of the world’s most populous city.
Italian firm Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel – responsible for the entire Bulgari hospitality portfolio – has delivered a gilded 48-storey contemporary monolith with its 82 rooms and suites distributed across the top eight floors, ensuring quintessential Shanghainese panoramas pulling in the Bund, Pudong, and the broad Huangpu River. At the foot of the hotel, entwined within the property’s manicured Italian gardens, sits the neo-classical Shanghai Chamber of Commerce renovated with a light touch by Bulgari to house a glamorous ballroom, the Whiskey Bar, and Bao Li Xuan, a Chinese fine dining restaurant.
The riverside hotel’s signature concept, described by the group’s executive vice president Silvio Ursini as ‘contemporary glamour’, is evident as soon as you’re through the revolving doors. The high-ceilinged lobby projects effortless arthouse cool, with its leather-clad reception desks, shimmering bronze mesh walls, and monochrome photography conjuring Italian cinema’s Dolce Vita era.
The understated aesthetic flows into the guestrooms with white Calacatta marble table-tops floating over a dark oak floor – a monochrome effect warmed by squares of plush fawn carpet and the elegant silk and velvet bedhead panelling, one of several nods to Chinese style. Things get a touch more fabulous in the 400 sqm, double-height Bulgari Suite – the largest hotel suite in the city – which offers acres of Pakistani green onyx panelling alongside skyline views from the roomy jacuzzi.
But the hotel balances its excesses with engaging subtleties, such as the understated indulgence of the brand’s first Il Cioccolato – Bulgari’s first on-site artisan chocolate boutique – and touches like the secret door leading to the jewellery salon; an element that combines Shanghai’s clandestine past with its monied present. §