In an interview for Upscale Living Magazine, I spoke with Sylvain Ercoli, General Manager of Bulgari Hotel & Residences, London. We discussed the many unique and luxurious aspects of the property, service, amenities, dining and more.
Sylvain Ercoli has managed some of the most prestigious hotels throughout Europe and the world, including the Hôtel Ritz in Paris, Hôtel George V Paris, Le Touessrok Hotel, Hôtel Saint-Géran, Hôtel Byblos in Saint-Tropez and the Hôtel Byblos Des Neiges in Courchevel.
TELL ME A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THE RANGE OF SUITES AT THE BULGARI LONDON, AND WHAT SOME OF THEIR MOST UNIQUE AND INTERESTING FEATURES ARE.
The 85 rooms and suites that we have here at the Bulgari Hotel & Residences, London are amongst the largest in London. Out of the 85, we have 23 suites that range from Studio and Junior Suites to our larger Knightsbridge and Deluxe Suites, however, the jewel in our crown is the seven signature Bulgari Suites. The Bulgari Suites provide a uniquely residential feel and although they share the same interior design, each has a unique layout, some with open fireplaces while two are enhanced by expansive terraces.
Each Bulgari Suite provides two bedrooms with king size beds, a master bathroom with combined steam and shower room, a contemporary kitchen with the latest appliances, a generous living area with unique Bulgari silver and lavish furnishings, and a spacious dining room that accommodates up to 10 guests. The Bulgari Suites also feature exclusive details like black Marquina marble and ivory onyx bathrooms, contemporary chandeliers in Murano glass and upholstery fabrics specially designed and woven in Italy.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE SIGNATURE, TELL-TALE SIGNS THAT THESE SUITES TRULY REPRESENT THE BULGARI BRAND?
Every element in the Bulgari Suite demonstrates our famous attention to detail. Exquisite marbles, fine woods and unique detailing blend English style with Italian heritage. Many furnishings are exclusive to Bulgari, custom designed by Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel and Partners, creating a unique and intimate feel such as the carefully selected vintage Moroccan carpets from the Beni Ouarain tribes. The nomadic Beni Ourain tribe originates from the Middle Atlas region, and their carpets were originally used as floors for their tents. The carpets are antique, crafted by hand with the ancient technique of the Berber knot, using raw wool and natural dyes. They are distinctive for the contrast of black patterns against a white background and for the softness and length (5-6 cm) of the fleece.
The headboards of the beds are also custom designed and distinguished by a particularly sumptuous fabric shot through with gold and silver thread, custom made and inspired by the original drawings of the earliest creations of Sotirio Bulgari, the founder, in the late 19th century. Rich, refined Italian silk fabrics of the curtains resemble the same elaborate floral and foliate pattern inspired by the silver Bulgari Chatelaine brooch.
It is this meticulous attention to detail and high quality of the materials used that truly represent the Bulgari brand.
IN TERMS OF DINING, AMENITIES AND PERSONALIZED SERVICE, WHAT CAN GUESTS OF THE HOTEL EXPECT, WHETHER IN A DELUXE ROOM OR LUXURY SUITE?
Guests who stay with us whether in a Deluxe Room or a Suite receive a full Butler Service 24/7 to ensure they experience the highest levels of personalized service from the moment they arrive at their departure.
Our guests are welcomed by a butler, who will unpack their suitcases and can also organize private lunches and dinners in the suite, taking care of every detail whilst liaising with the Head Chef. In fact, Alain Ducasse and his team now oversee all elements of the food and beverage operation at the hotel, including in-room dining and banqueting. Arrangements can also be made for a spa host to deliver treatments in the guest’s room or suite.
WITH RIVEA LONDON, A NEW RESTAURANT NOW OPEN AT THE HOTEL, HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE CHEF DAMIEN LEROUX’S APPROACH TO CUISINE?
We opened Rivea just a few months ago under the guidance of Alain Ducasse and his team of chefs. It is an amazing informal restaurant inspired by the vibrant food markets in Italy and Provence. The menu of small plates incorporates the classic flavors and vivid colors of the Riviera, with a focus on simple creations using the best ingredients.
The head chef at Rivea, Damien Leroux has worked for Alain Ducasse for the past decade at his restaurants in Provence and Monaco. Damien’s passion leads him to seek out some unique varieties of ingredients and he creates a spontaneous seasonal cuisine. Whilst Damien is inspired by the traditional recipes of the French and Italian Rivieras, he places his own personal interpretation on the humble cuisine, using his skill to bring refinement and maximum flavor impact. One of his culinary trademarks is his fondness for creating pestos and condiments to accompany meat, fish or pasta dishes.
WHAT ARE YOUR TOP 5 TIPS TO NEWCOMERS OF THE HOTEL ON HOW BEST TO ENJOY THEIR STAY, AT THE HOTEL AND IN THE SURROUNDING AREAS?
Bulgari Spa: Just voted as ‘Best Spa’ by Virtuoso at their annual ‘Best of the Best’ hotel awards 2014, the Bulgari Spa is one of the most exclusive and largest spas in central London. It is a major element at the hotel that makes us truly unique and stands out from others. The centerpiece of the spa is a 25m swimming pool, lined with shimmering green and gold mosaic tiles and is complemented by a vitality pool, relaxation room, sauna, steam room, and ice fountains as well as 12 treatment rooms. It is the only spa in London to offer treatments and products by renowned Swiss Perfection Cellular anti-aging and next month will launch a dedicated Gentlemen’s Grooming menu reflecting the growing demand from our male guests.
Rivea: For more than 25 years, Alain Ducasse has worked to express the myriad of flavors from the Mediterranean region, between inland Nice and Liguria by combining the regional traditions of that delicious land with gastronomic expertise and local produce. Experience his latest London offering by dining at Rivea, a must for all hotel guests.
Culture: The hotel is located just a few minutes from cultural attractions such as the Victoria & Albert Museum (V&A), Natural History Museum and the Royal Albert Hall. The V&A is one of the most popular places to visit in the city and throughout the year they have exhibitions to suit all tastes whilst the Royal Albert Hall in all its splendor, plays host to the most eagerly anticipated events in the annual calendar including The BBC Proms which we can even screen for our guests in our private 47 seats in-house cinema.
Shopping: Located in the true heart of Knightsbridge, the hotel is steps from world-famous stores such as Harrods, Harvey Nichols and the promenade of luxurious boutiques along Sloane Street.
Hyde Park: Just across the street from the hotel, this royal park is the ideal place to unwind whilst in the city. It is home to such attractions as The Serpentine Gallery and the Queen’s Royal Horse Guard who can be seen daily making their way to Buckingham Palace for the changing of the guard. During the summer months, high profile music events take place and the park is also perfect for exercise with jogging trails. Here at the hotel we even have our own bespoke Italian designed Bulgari Bicycles for guests of the hotel to use.