Located in one of the most exclusive areas in downtown Milan, the Bulgari Hotel is set like a precious gem in the leafy green sanctuary of its own private garden. A perfect blend of design and history, with its stylish, contemporary interiors.
This austere 18th century building, with its beautiful marble façade, surprises everyone who sets foots across its threshold. It is set within a lush 4,000 square meter private garden. Although just steps from the hustle and bustle of via Montenapoleone, the hotel, whose grounds border Brera’s Botanical Garden and a quiet private street, is situated in a wonderfully tranquil location, and offers travelers a stylish haven secluded from the flurry of Italy’s most fashionable city. “The Bulgari Hotel was a convent, and the area where mass was once held now hosts a bar and a restaurant,” says Attilio Marro, general manager of the hotel.
“Unlike then, the hotel now has large floor to ceiling windows that offer breathtaking views over the garden (historical documentation regarding its original layout dates back to 1305), and Brera’s adjacent Botanical Garden. Sleeping with your windows open, to wake to the sounds of the bells of the church of San Marco, and the twittering of the many species of birds that inhabit the garden is possibly one of the hotel’s biggest assets. Other equally gratifying experiences include taking an early-morning dip in the swimming pool and breakfasting in your bathrobe amidst the trees, relaxing in the sunshine with a good book, or indulging in a midday spa session. When the cocktail hour arrives, you can enjoy an aperitivo at the bar, and end the day by ordering the restaurant’s iconic spaghetti with tomato sauce.” Marro suggests, as he highlights the advantages of this quiet sanctuary located in the midst of busy Milan. This is a haven where guests can allow themselves to be pampered without ever feeling the need to leave the hotel.
And if the garden leaves you open-mouthed, you will be no less amazed by the interiors of the Bulgari Hotel, where a wealth of luxurious materials blend together creating unique chromatic harmonies, that add a touch of exclusivity to each and every room. Black marble from Zimbabwe, teak and oak fittings, and stone from Vicenza and Aphyon give each space a sleek but welcoming feel, starting from the lounge, dominated by a beautiful black granite fireplace (weighing 15 tons) enhanced by antique hand-knotted Uzbeki carpets. Equally astonishing are the 58 luminous, stylishly appointed rooms, 11 of which are suites, all facing the garden or inner courtyard. The Deluxe Rooms welcome guests into a world of cream-coloured linen wallpaper and bleached oak wood paneling, which contrast with the opaque black granite of the bathrooms. The suites, on the other hand, are characterized by generous living spaces enhanced by details that allow those who have booked extended stays to feel perfectly at home. Finally, the exclusive Bulgari Suite is distinguished by teak finishes, floor to ceiling windows, a large living room with a fireplace and a library and a master bathroom featuring an imposing tub sculpted in Brera stone. Additionally, a 90-square meter wrap-around terrace, overlooking the garden and furnished in wicker, offers guests a sweeping view over Milan’s historical centre.
For the absolute escapist experience, guests can retreat to the luxurious spa, which features a swimming pool decorated with pure gold mosaic tiles. “Although luxury is synonymous with uniqueness, nowadays it is no longer represented by both opulence and ostentation, which are often abused and not always legitimate, but rather by a return to quality in terms of authenticity,” says Marro. “ Our hotels are inspired by the concept of contemporary Italian luxury, a hallmark feature of our brand for the past 130 years. Authenticity and genuineness ‘strike a chord’ because they are increasingly hard to find. These assets are experienced from sought-after materials to courteous staff, from artisanal expertise to excellent service, not to mention that unmistakable creative delicacy that transcends time and trends.” In addition to being a Milanese hotel, chosen by discerning international clientele and business travelers, the Bulgari Hotels and Resorts also boasts several exclusive five-star properties in London and Bali, as well as a Michelin-starred restaurant in Tokyo, and a cafè in Osaka. The chain is set to launch three new properties in Asia in 2017 after signing agreements for openings in Beijing, Dubai and Shanghai.
Food: unique emotions
The hotel’s gastronomic offering, based on an original reinterpretation of Italian tradition, distinguished by harmonies and contrasts, enjoyment and aesthetic research, is entrusted to the expertise of chef Roberto Di Pinto. Born and raised in Naples, his intuitive cuisine reflects his ties to his city, and his menu features a combination of his strong Neapolitan identity and his desire to offer family-friendly recipes, by focusing on high-quality of ingredients. However, the Bulgari does not only offer Italian cuisine. In fact, this year, for the third consecutive season, it will be hosting Epicurea, Bulgari’s international food festival. “From January to October”, says its general manager, “We will be hosting seven famous chefs. The idea was conceived in 2013, in collaboration with food critic Andrea Petrini and the concept is simple: one chef, one country. Once a month, for two evenings, seven young, well-established foreign chefs will present an emblematic menu that offers a voyage through the flavours and fragrances of their country’s cuisine.” However, gastronomy also takes centre stage during the hotel’s glamorous aperitivo, served daily from 6.30pm to 9pm. This is a hot favourite with Milanese locals, both on account of the inventive cocktails mixed by its barmen and the tantalizing nibbles on offer. “We focused on the bar, and the aperitivo in particular, as a sort of catalyst that would make the hotel a meeting point in the city. Moreover, in summer, thanks to the garden, our spaces are greatly increased with the added plus of an exclusive private area, the Dom Perignon Bar which is hidden by a hedge of red beech trees and enveloped in a sophisticated atmosphere, reflecting the house from which it takes its name. Tastings of the full collection of Dom Perignon champagnes or rare vintages are accompanied by a selection of special raw food creations.
Ultimate luxury experiences
The hotel also offers its guests an array of top-level luxury services including excursions in helicopters, private planes, limousines, yachts and even a seaplane to enjoy incredible gourmet experiences at destinations that would take several hours to reach by car from Milan, or to visit the landmarks of the Belpaese, from the Langhe to Venice, by way of the sea, lakes and mountains. “In Milan, we always try to increase our network of contacts to offer access to the most hidden, fascinating and exclusive places that the city can offer”, says Marro. The exclusive everyday services offered by the hotel are particularly noteworthy. These include personal trainers and shoppers, luxury car rentals and butlers who, on request will pack or unpack guests’ luggage.
In addition to its many charms, the Bulgari Hotel offers guests another surprising perk; the marvelous Botanical Garden of Brera (Orto Botanico) which its current director James Bradburne would also like to open to the public in the evening. “This project would be the crowning glory of the Great Brera. A project that, in keeping with the other fabulous initiatives that are currently putting Milan in the spotlight, will further enhance the image of the city, confirming its status as one of the most fascinating capitals in Europe.” Says Attilio Marro when talking about this initiative. “Twelve years ago, before the hotel was opened, the leaves of its most unusual plants, including two species of Ginko Biloba, that were believed to have been planted at the end of the 18th century, were photographed so that they could be used as a decorative motif on various printed materials published by the hotel. A booklet, created in collaboration with the Botanical Garden of Brera, will soon be placed in the rooms of the hotel to inform guests about this marvelous, magical historical Milanese landmark. Furthermore, several of our staff regularly work as volunteers at the Botanical Garden.”
>> Official Website: www.bulgarihotels.com
Article by Simona P. K. Daviddi
Translation by Carey Bernitz