Bold, striking and with a touch of Italian heritage in its contemporary design—these are just some of the characteristics of a Bulgari high jewellery, whose creation starts with the search for the perfect gemstone as only the most exceptional will do for the Italian jeweller. The same is true when it comes to its hotels and resorts. “Every project starts with an amazing location, which is like a rough stone that you cut, polish and craft into a beautiful jewel,” said Silvio Ursini, group executive vice president of Bulgari Hotels & Resorts.
Like its high jewellery creations, these locations are exclusive, as evidenced by Bulgari’s portfolio: Milan, which opened in 2004, Bali in 2006, London in 2012, and Beijing last September. Ursini explained, “When I look at a site, I think about the size, the views, the sunrise and sunset—physical attributes that make it special. Then there are ‘irrational considerations’ or what we call genius loci. It’s a feeling.”
One of the locations that held this attraction for Ursini was the man-made seahorse-shaped island on Dubai’s Jumeira Bay, on which sits the collection’s fifth and newest property, the Bulgari Resort Dubai. We were privileged to be among the first to discover this urban oasis last December.
1. First Impressions
Dubai is a city of skyscrapers, where everything is bigger, taller and glitzier, capped by the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, which loomed in the horizon during the 20min drive from the airport to the resort, its glittering lights as if a beacon across the evening sky. We left Downtown Dubai behind, and crossed the 300m bridge that connects the city and the island, and minutes later, the “understated low-rise architecture”, as Ursini calls it, of Bulgari Resort Dubai comes into view.
Designed by Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel, the renowned Italian architectural firm behind all the Bulgari hotels and resorts to date, the building is exquisitely layered, bathed in golden lights that reflect on its coral-inspired brise-soleil, juxtaposed against the arabescarto marble exteriors. This quiet elegance provided the perfect contrast to the buzzing Dubai skyline, and set the tone for the rest of our stay.
While check-in happens in the comfort of your room, suite or villa, there is a good reason to spend some time in the hotel lobby, which is one of my favourite spots for its modern Italian design reminiscent of an apartment living room, and not that of a hotel. The stunning 1963 image of Italian screen siren Monica Vitti, wearing the Bulgari Seven Wonders necklace (named for it seven Colombian emeralds), is matched only by the striking booth-matched breccia medicea marble on the wall, which immediately draws you into the space.