The first thing you’ll notice when you step off the corner of Hyde Park and into the Bulgari Hotel is yourself, staring back at you from reflections of every surface. Everything’s impossibly sleek, shiny and black. That’s not to say it’s dark, though, almost wall-less, the reception stretches out into a vast open space, dotted with Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel and Partners furnishings, designed exclusively for Bulgari.
Wander through and you’ll come to a waterfall of cascading threads, framing the sunken restaurant, Rivea, that lies on the floor below but its ceiling stretches up past the ground level. Despite being in the heart of London’s most desirable neighbourhood, the eatery will have you feeling as if you’re in a paradise further afield. Also designed by Viel, the restaurant takes inspiration from the Riviera (the menu too, looks to the markets of Italy and Provence), with velveteen seats, dripping lights and ocean blue geometric floors.
We’ll get onto the rooms later (all 85 of them) but other facilities available to explore are extensive. In the basement is the Screening Room, fit to seat 47 with all the high-tech you’d expect from any cinema but with added luxury. Dedicated to Sir Richard Attenborough, the cinema comes stocked with a curated library of over 200 new films and classic must-sees and is even equipped for 3D.
Once you’re suitably relaxed you can drift up to the Il Bar, where in the summer months you can sit al fresco next to Knightsbridge Green, soundtracked by the hotel’s own DJ, and sip cocktails. Feeling even more fancy? Renowned merchant Edward Sahakian has set up shop at the Bulgari, with cigars from his own private collection (put together across four decades) available only at the hotel, specialising in rare vintage Havanas.
And for the morning after, the Bulgari comes complete with Spa to rejuvenate you. From singular treatments to health and wellbeing programmes, the Spa is open daily from 6:30am to 10:00pm to guests and a select membership. Spread across two floors, the facilities include a gym, steam room, saunas, ice shower and a whole host of treatment rooms as well as a private spa suite. The 25m pool is lined with columns and sitting next to it, the vitality pool glitters with gold leaf glass, harking back to Venetian Byzantine mosaics.
Another floor is entirely dedicated to the Ballroom. A space suitable for up to 140 guests to take lunch, dinner, conferences or balls, or 280 for receptions, you think the grandeur of the rest of the hotel couldn’t be beaten until you step under the Padgham and Putland Silversmiths handcrafted solid silver chandeliers.
The rooms – not to be dismissed after such impressive communal spaces – are full of details other hoteliers might overlook. Think 17 times polished mahogany features, marble slabs and freestanding baths and showers, bathrooms of course stocked with Bulgari amenties. Each of the seven suites can house two bedrooms, have their own steam/shower room, kitchen and can house up to 10 guests in their living spaces.