Nestled right in the center of Knightsbridge in London, this property offers the best of all things the house of Bulgari espouses. The hotel has features so synonymous with the heritage of this chic Italian jeweler, and neither the visual appeal nor the services disappoint.
As you pull up to the front of the hotel, the feel is similar to the frontage of their signature stores. The general ambiance and look is Italian luxe-modern and the elegantly clad, grey-suited staff are friendly and instantly refer to every guest by name.
The interiors are fashioned with luxurious touches – lots of highly polished solid woods, rather like the inside of a luxury yacht – and homage is paid to the Bulgari heritage with a print on the walls and drapes that echos the brand's signature design from pieces of fashion jewelry or silver. The decor features a palette of Bulgari's much-loved greys, and the use of stone, marble and onyx throughout the building screams luxury.
The Bulgari has 85 beautifully appointed rooms (their signature green tea fragrance products in all the bathrooms), a full-service screening room and private dining areas, for those wishing a more discreet visit. I stayed in the Knightsbridge Suite, sophisticated and quietly luxurious, which is the essence of the Bulgari brand and translates fabulously to the hotel experience. My Leoni handbag felt quite at home there, as did I.
My elegant, handsome butler, Florentine, took me through the building and was there to answer every need, which began with the urgent need to press my eveningwear for a black tie dinner at Kensington Palace on the day of my arrival.
As a guest I felt the Hotel was rather like a jewel box – layers of lovely things on every level. The biggest discovery was at the bottom of the jewel box, five floors down. An amazing gem: possibly the most beautiful swimming pool in London, complete with the subtle sparkle of the jewel mosaic tile. A beautiful plunge pool at one end is decorated with a dramatic, matte-gold tiled wall. The loungers around the pool add a modern touch to the Romanesque theme.
The Spa, located on the same floor as the pool, is highlighted in a subtle emerald green and sleek wood features, reminiscent of the vibrant color of Bulgari emeralds. I took a spa treatment, much needed to de-stress from back-to-back events at the Diamond Jubilee celebrations. Katrina poured me Jasmine tea to calm and led me to the pre-treatment room. The products are by Espa; I chose a Frankincense and Myrrh treatment oil to relax and soothe. Gemma, my masseuse, was wonderful and expertly provided the best massage I have had in years.
It's hard to believe that while surrounded by such elegance and serenity, you are still in the heart of London. Guests of the hotel are just steps away from the best shopping experiences in London, what could possibly be better!
At Il Bar the atmosphere is relaxed and lounge elegant, the crown jewel being the incredible architecture of the mirrored bar and the sweeping staircase down to the dining area. Martin, our mixologist, provided three of the signature cocktails for our group. Please ask for the "Mary Pickford", "Clover Cluts" or the "Cherry and Pistachio Bellini" for not only a sensory treat, but a treat for the eyes too.
The dining experience is what you would expect of a top-notch restaurant in Italy, complete with wonderful service. Many of the waitstaff are Italian, and as much of the menu choices are delicious items from various regions of Italy, it helps to have their expert knowledge of the covetable ingredients and preparations. The Sommelier provided a selection of the finest wines to complement our dishes, each one the perfect choice. Bravo head chef Robbie Pepin for a wonderful meal! And Sam, for the incredible wine selections.
My very special thanks to General Manager Sylvain Ercoli, who was a wonderful and charming host. Chris from Butler Service was incredibly efficient, ensuring I had everything I needed during my short but highly eventful trip for the Diamond Jubilee. Thanks everyone – what a wonderful team!
I absolutely plan to return. This hotel did not disappoint, and for those loving the marriage of fashion and travel, this destination is definitely for you.