as one of the few truly global hubs london has always had an impressive array of top-notch hotels. but these past few years has seen both a flurry of openings of new five-star properties and an influx of new players. certainly, the royal wedding, the queen's diamond jubilee and the upcoming 2012 summer olympics have boosted the city's profile to new heights, but its political, cultural and last but not least financial significance on a global scale has generated an ongoing flow of affluent visitors for many decades with still plenty of room for further growth in that specific travel segment. the latest five-star establishment to open its doors in the british captial is the bulgari hotel, indeed the hospitality division of the bulgari jewellery brand, and as such also part of the elaborate global lvmh luxury network. after opening properties in milan and on bali, and two restaurants in tokyo, this is the hotel brand's first property in the british capital, and amazingly also the first new-built luxury property in the city in 40 years.
officially dubbed the bulgari hotel + residences, it has 85 spacious guestrooms and suites, many with views over hyde park, and features an interior design by milan-based architecture and design practice antonio citterio, patricia viel + partners that pays tribute to both bulgari's silversmith roots and britain's manufacturing traditions. the silver theme continues right through the entire property with hand-crafted italian detailing such as two solid silver bulgari chandeliers in the ballroom, creating a dramatic centrepiece. the guestrooms and suites feature a similar intricate detailing, such as custom-made silk curtains with patterns inspired by some of the classic bulgari jewellery designs, and bed side table lamps inspired by its silver candlesticks. the bathrooms are equally large, featuring freestanding baths and showers in marquina marble and white glass.
obviously, they come with the latest technology installed, including a 42-inch lcd tv with guest media devices and complimentary wireless Internet access. the grandest pad - also quite literally - is an expansive 860 sqm. [9,260 sq.ft.] lateral penthouse apartment, located on the seventh floor. adding up the splendour is a matching set of a-grade facilities that'll charm both hotel guests and london's movers and shakers off their sox. at the heart of the bulgari hotel's social scene is il bar, a happening place where to meet up for pre-dinner signature cocktails before striding down the spectacular sweeping staircase to il ristorante, london's newest italian fine dining destination with three private dining rooms, and helmed by noted chef robbie pepin. and because the high life can be weary and stressful, hotel guests and members can check into the exclusive bulgari spa.
onyx, teak and vicenza stone form the backdrop of this two-floor retreat and its long list of facilities and services. there's a 25-metre swimming pool, vitality pool, thermal experiences with ice fountains and cooling showers, in addition to a relaxation room and 11 treatment rooms and one private spa suite that offer exclusive bespoke bulgari treatments for the face and body. obviously, there's a fully equipped 150 sqm. fitness centre with all imaginable equipment and a nail salon for the ladies. interestingly, the bulgari hotel also features a screening room that not only boasts an exclusively-curated library of more than 200 new and classic films available, but is also available for hosting press events, advanced screening film premieres and other events. also perfect for business matters is the business centre which provides sumptuous meeting facilities flexible enough to accommodate events of all with two boardrooms and two private offices, as well as two private dining rooms and a ballroom with prefunction room that can cater for up to 140 guests.
as the perfect setting for a stylish celebration, one was recently held to festively inaugurate the hotel, pulling a crowd of glammed-up invitees and celebs, including actors isabella rossellini, dev patel and model petra němcová. lvmh's watch + jewellery division president francesco trapani put on his best suit to mingle with the happy few. location: 171 knightsbridge [knightsbridge].