When the bell boy at the new Bulgari hotel in Paris took my luggage at the start of a recent stay, he asked me what I thought of the place. After I told him that I found him quite stylish, he replied: “It’s Italian”, then, without wasting time, “A mixture of French and Italian style. “
Such as mixed is at the heart of the company’s efforts to assert itself in the capital of French luxury; its new hotel here, located on avenue George V, officially opens its doors on December 2. And while the Modernist aesthetic of Bulgari’s other properties may seem like a mere foil to the gilded elegance of the more established inns in the City of Lights, mingling la dolce vita and la vie en rose has not been easy. .
Bulgari spent six years transforming a 10-story corporate office into the lavish, accessible luxury hotel you see here. The resulting structure – a strikingly modern building designed to evoke the linear harmony of its Haussmannian neighbors, if not their high decoration – comprises only 76 accommodation units in total, including 57 suites. Downstairs there is an underground spa which houses nine treatment rooms, a swimming pool, sauna, hair salon, and a London workshop gym outpost in what was once a car park, what you can’t say now.
Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel, the Milanese architectural firm that designs all of Bulgari’s properties, doubled the lack of natural light in the public spaces on the ground floor by projecting the lounge and bar spaces in a sensual palette. They both make a lovely place to have a cocktail in the evening which is sure to attract many locals.
At the rear of the property, Il Ristorante – Niko Romito, run by the Michelin-starred chef who runs the restaurants at all other Bulgari hotels, serves up enhanced Italian classics alongside a bistro-dish or two like soup in French onion. Its walls and ceiling are wrapped in a warm saffron hue that other areas of the hotel take up as accents. There’s even a secret garden that seats 40 for dinner and makes you forget you’re in the middle of one of the biggest cities in the world. With its clean lines, dark wood, and backlit expanses of marble, it’s not exactly the Ritz, but then, why would it be?
“I don’t think there is a need for another Parisian palace,” said Patricia Viel, CEO of ACPV, in an interview with Robb Report, referring to the French government’s vaunted designation for hotels that some of Bulgari’s closest neighbors have achieved (the Four Seasons George V, for example, is literally across the street, and the Plaza Hotel Athenee is a short walk away). “What we’ve done is actually surprise people with an interior that could be something different … a lot more private, a lot more residential, a lot more exclusive.”
Even the smallest of the rooms here are bigger than expected, and their decor nods to French and Italian culture and craftsmanship. All the furniture is made in Italy, but most of the stone and joinery comes from France. The rugs feature the herringbone pattern typically used for wood floors in Parisian homes. The walls appear to be covered with grass canvas, but it is actually shantung silk, a material used in many nearby high fashion workshops. Most bathrooms even feature a glass representation of the Bulgari snake in the style of French master René Lalique.
The exception is the expansive two-story penthouse suite, which offers 360-degree views of the city, including glimpses of the Eiffel Tower, the Sacré-Coeur and the Grand Palais. (Its bathrooms are practically soaked in marble.) The dining room seats up to 10 people; climb its spectacular spiral staircase and upstairs you will find a lush garden with fruit trees.
“We were, in a way, lucky because we built it thinking we were going to open a year and a half before now, then Covid hit,” said Silvio Ursini, executive vice president of Bulgari Hotels . “So all the trees had more time to grow. “
Their branches obscure the view of the Eiffel Tower when you enter the garden, so that when you walk through it, you rediscover it. It will be quite a spectacle in the spring, but I found it just as enjoyable in the fall.
The service is just as pleasant, which is important for Ursini as a general practice, but especially in what he calls one of the most difficult hotel markets in the world.
“The hotel is full of Italian staff, and that should allow us to provide a service that is, here in France,” they say. relaxed”, Or relaxed, said Ursini. “So it’s flawless, without any of the rigidities or arrogance that sometimes occurs here. “
When you want to get out into town, the concierge can arrange a number of behind-the-scenes experiences, such as a guided tour of the Rodin Museum or private shopping at Bon Marché. (You can also have a private session at the Bulgari boutique in Place Vendôme.) The in-room iPad control system, which you can use to turn off the lights or order room service, offers a menu of chauffeured vehicles with everything from a family-sized sprint van to a motorcycle, if you want to see the city like a local on two wheels. Every element of the stay here has been carefully considered; you feel it in the whole, but it is especially noticeable in the small details.
“I think when you put it all together: the Italian design, the Italian staff and the small size,” said Ursini. “You shake it up, and I think the result should be very interesting. ” Rates start at $ 1,400 per night for a Classic room and rise to $ 35,000 per night for the Penthouse Suite.
Check out more photos of the new hotel below: