While the city of Dubai trumpets its prestige by building taller and more extreme skyscrapers each year, a chicer, less conventional kind of beauty is to be found on the white sandy shores of Jumeira Bay.
There the Bulgari Resort Dubai has ushered in a whole new take on style in the Middle East’s most dynamic, unstoppable city.
Tellingly, Jumeira is the Arabic word for beauty and the resort’s location on the edge of this manmade island with Dubai’s glittering skyline as its backdrop could not be more prestigious. However, it is the architectural concept underpinning its design that is so hugely original.
It straddles two very different worlds: a chaotic city centre on the one hand and a lush, private urban oasis on the other. The Bulgari Dubai is the fifth and largest resort in the Bulgari & Hotel Resort Collection and was designed, like its predecessors, by Antonio Citterio and Patricia Viel’s Milan-based architecture and design studio.
Aside from the resort, the complex also spans six residential buildings with 173 sea-facing apartments, 15 private mansions, and Bulgari’s first-ever Marina and Yacht Club, the latter a compact, geometric structure surrounded by hanging gardens and, of course, water.
Even at first sight the Bulgari Dubai’s gold and black Arabescato marble façade with its ever-changing interplay of light and shade brilliantly encapsulates the very essence of the 1930s Italian design-inspired glamour.
Huge invisible sliding doors on the façade also create a feeling of transparency and brilliantly tune with the sense of harmony exuded by the rest of the complex.
All Bulgari hotels are hugely innovative yet also dwell on signatures such as clean lines, spaciousness and prestige furnishings and décor. Also featured in the interior are photographs of famous individuals with links to the Maison and original design drawings of its famous jewellery which take guests on a 130-year journey through the history of jewellery-making.
Every inch of the Bulgari Dubai is imbued with sophisticated luxury: its 101 bedrooms and suites, to the 20 regal villas, the Oval Bar with its traditional oval motif in mirrored chrome, to the expansive Ristorante Niko Romito, which directly overlooks the Bulgari Marina, and the comfortable, welcoming Lounge.
Citterio and Viel designed every single detail, from the marble and the way it was used, to the interior design which showcases top Italian designer brands of the likes of Maxalto, Flos, Flexform and B&B. All the materials were selected and sourced with meticulous care too. The Arabescato marble was shipped in from Carrara, while Breccia Medicea was used in the lobby and purple Calacatta for the floor in the gallery.
Shanxi black granite was sourced in Mongolia with Imperial green marble from Brazil adorning the walls of the meeting rooms. Even the reception desk is trimmed with sublime green onyx. A 1,700 square metre Spa offers seven different treatment rooms and a suite with grey Vicenza stone, green onyx and white Turkish marble to create a subtle cocoon-like ambience.
Contemporary design, impeccable service and superb amenities lend a feeling of absolute luxury in the resort’s bright, airy rooms. Despite this, clever layout design ensures they feel very much like a private home in terms of cosiness and atmosphere. The windows are huge to enjoy the dazzlingly sun of the Persian Gulf and every room has its own private balcony.
The colour scheme centres around earth tones and the fabrics are all natural – including the gorgeous Ezio degli Augioni cashmere covers. The trim is oak and the walls are lined in silk.
The 120 square metre Bulgari Suite and the 540 square metre Bulgari Villa, complete with a further 500 square metres of lush Mediterranean garden, offer the very best of all worlds. The villa have their own swimming pool, sun deck, butler, 14-seater dining table under a spectacular crystal Bulgari chandelier, hammam, gym and spectacular sea views.
Designed with the same care as lavished on a piece of luxury jewellery, the low-rise Bulgari Resort Dubai nestles in a lush Mediterranean garden of palm, olive and lemon trees, with rosemary and other shrubs and flowers scenting the air.