Italian jewellery brand Bulgari knows a thing or two about catering to the precise demands of high-rolling luxury lovers, and since branching out into hotels back in 2004, they have proved in Milan, London, Bali and beyond that they are more than capable of delivering superlative sparkle to high-net-worth travellers, too. The new Bulgari Resort Dubai, which opens on December 7th, is set to be the most expensive hotel in the city – bringing with it private residences, mansions and a yacht marina besides.
The resort, somewhat fittingly, sits on its very own treasure island, Jumeira Bay, connected to Downtown Dubai via a 300m bridge. Despite its convenient location ten minutes from the city, though, it has a completely different vibe to many of Dubai’s ubiquitous skyscraper hotels. With its striking, low-rise architecture, the work of Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel, and 101 rooms and suites set across just four floors, the feeling is far more personal and understated.
“We tried to introduce a European, human scale to the architecture,” says Patricia Viel. “You never walk alongside a building in Dubai. What we tried to do here is exactly the opposite to what is out there.” The result is that this property, spread across 13 hectares, feels something like an upscale Mediterranean village – where guests are far more likely to stroll from beach club to shop to suite, than to zip anonymously between floors in a lift. Privacy, of course, is there should it be required – and many of the guests who stay here will likely prize it above all else. For them, there are 20 hotel villas set back from the beach, with private pools, roomy outdoor terraces and personal butler service
The Yacht Club, inspired by the intimate marinas of Italy, further adds to the resort’s distinct sense of place. “As Italians, we love marinas, especially small marinas which have a place within the community,” explains Silvio Ursini, Bulgari’s group executive vice president. “Watching the boats come and go over dinner or drinks is all part of the appeal.” Italian chef Niko Romito’s Il Ristorante, which overlooks the marina, is the perfect place for hotel guests to do that, although next year will see six additional independent restaurants opening up along the marina promenade. Beyond the 50-berths which cater to boats up to 40 metres, the hotel has also secured a superyacht anchorage just outside the bay, where the likes of 77m Silver Fast parked up for the star-studded launch party.
This being the city’s most expensive hotel, there is also, somewhat crucially, a superlative spa, where real gold mosaic tiles, green onyx and Afyon marble decorate the cabana-lined swimming pool, traditional-style hammam, and relaxation areas. With a state-of-the-art Workshop Gymnasium from leading personal trainer Lee Mullins, a beauty salon and seven treatment rooms providing the finishing touches, it’s tempting to become a full-time castaway. Those who are serious about that can snap up one of the residences; there are 173 of them split across six buildings as well as 15 private mansions.
Fans of the Bulgari brand of luxury can look forward to more openings next year, with Shanghai slated to open in March. For now though, this hotel is the jewel in the Bulgari crown.