Head of Bulgari Hotels & Resort on the exceptional trajectory of the luxury hotel chain

CPP-LUXURY.COM has recently interviewed exclusively Silvio Ursini, Bulgari Group Executive Vice President in charge of the Bulgari Hotels & Resorts

How would you define the DNA of the Bulgari Hotels brand?

Bulgari Hotels and Resorts are a collection of hotels featuring three key distinctive elements:  unique locations, the blend of traditional design with dramatic contemporary Italian architecture, and the variety of services that have all been crafted with the same attention to quality that has always distinguished Bulgari creations.

Our Hotels aim at delivering a product and service experience that matches the very high expectations of today’s sophisticated travellers.  Bulgari  Hotels’ guest rooms are fewer in quantity than other luxury hotels so that we can increase the quality of the experience. This enables our hotels to offer the world-class, personalized service that is expected from Bulgari.

Your international expansion is gathering momentum. Tell us more about the new openings.

The Bulgari Hotel in Shanghai will be the fourth Bulgari Hotel in the world. The Hotel will distinguish itself for its exclusive location within an extraordinary riverside metropolitan complex development that is taking shape in Suhe Creek, a protected heritage zone in the Jing’an District , bordering the Suzhou River and overlooking the Bund and Huangpu River, as well as Pudong skyline, the financial district of Shanghai. Renowned as being the “Gold Strand of Shanghai” Suhe Creek is the city’s most upcoming district known for its flourishing arts scene.

It will also distinguish itself thanks to the combination of the architectural design by world-class architecture design team Foster+Partners and the interior design by the renowned architectural firm Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel and Partners.

The hotel will also be distinguished by a fascinating mix of tradition and modern themes through the juxtaposition of new and antique architectures, reflecting the design and style of the whole OCT Suhe Creek area, which combines historical architectures and modern commercial spaces.

The Bulgari Hotel and Residences in Dubai will be the world’s fifth Bulgari Hotels and Resorts property. Designed by Italian architectural firm Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel and Partners, it will be located on the exclusive Jumeira Bay Island, off the coast of Jumeirah Beach Road, sculpted in the shape of a titanic seahorse. The luxury marine 1.7 million sq ft. complex will be framed by lush landscaped gardens and it will be defined by 100 rooms and suites as well as The Bulgari Residences comprising 165 apartments, 8 penthouses and 15 mansions.

This project will present the first Bulgari Marina and Yacht Club globally, and an exclusive members lounge, to which the residents will have priority access.

Entirely designed by the Italian architectural firm Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel and Partners, The Bulgari Residences Dubai will be the first-of-its-kind master development in scale and magnitude, offering efficient living spaces with the brand’s signature style evident in every detail – whether inside the home, in the common areas or within the wider community.

The Bulgari Hotel Beijing will be the sixth property and will feature not just some of the city’s largest guestrooms, but also the Bulgari signature Bar and Ristorante set facing a private park bordering the river side, a large Spa with a 25mt long pool, and a spacious ballroom. The 120 rooms and suites will be an intimate haven of  luxury, with the aim of becoming a true urban resort. Located within the new Genesis Beijing project, the hotel will be flanked by two Office towers and by a contemporary art museum.

The combination of the natural landscape with the artistic content will make this development a new benchmark for enlightened luxury living in the future.”

On May 25th we announced that an agreement has been signed for a new Bulgari Hotel in Moscow which is expected to open in 2019. It will stand as the world’s seventh Bulgari Hotel, following the opening of Milan in 2004, Bali in 2006, London in 2012, and the Shanghai, Beijing and Dubai Hotels anticipated for 2017.

What motivated the choice of locations for your future expansion?

In Dubai the possibility to create from scratch a manmade island which has been sculpted and set like a sparkling jewel in a perfect bay on an island paradise.

Like an oasis in the sand dunes, The Bulgari Hotel and Residences will be framed by lush landscaped gardens and glittering with pools.

In Shanghai the hotel is located in a protected heritage zone in the Jing’an District , bordering the Suzhou River and overlooking the Bund and Huangpu River, as well as Pudong skyline, the financial district of Shanghai. Renowned as being the “Gold Strand of Shanghai” Suhe Creek is the city’s most upcoming district known for its flourishing arts scene.

In Beijing the hotel is set against a lively urban landscape and directly facing the Liangma River. The Bulgari Hotel Beijing is conceived as a link between the discerning traveller in search of nature and art, and the sophisticated elite of Beijing.

The Bulgari Hotel in Moscow will be located in a prestigious luxury area, just 300 meters from the city’s landmarks such as the historic Kremlin and the Red Square. As well, it will be adjacent to the Moscow State Conservatory P. I. Tchaikovsky, one of the most important music universities in the world.

For all the projects the partnership with leaders in the travel as well as real estate properties, namely Meeras (Dubai), OCT (Shanghai), Genesis (Beijing) as well as Storm Properties (Moscow) have been also an important factor as they will ensure once again the highest levels of quality and innovation.

Interior design has been part of your success. Tell us more.

We like to bring to each location a luxury hotel that is of timeless glamour like our jewels are and of a quality that is unmatched in the industry. Our hotels feature an unmistakable identity and are characterized by a unique contemporary style. The architectural design is reduced, powerful and relies on the extensive use of rich materials and finishes such as woods, marbles, and textiles, and branded residential furniture from Italy’s leading brands, all designed by Antonio Citterio. Many details are custom designed and made to order.

We have chosen the architectural firm Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel and Partners as they have been able to interpret our vision of luxury as an expression of superior Italian craftsmanship by creating a very luxurious, refined environment. They have been able to develop our idea of how luxury should be translated into a physical place.

How important is F&B for your hotels? Do you plan to pursue your collaboration with celebrity Chefs such as Alain Ducasse at future locations?

Dining is an important part of the experience at the Bulgari Hotel. Inspired by tradition and based on genuine flavours, the restaurants of the Bulgari Hotels offer a singular interpretation of Italian cooking with a contemporary accent. Top quality ingredients, best cooking practises and refined, minimalist presentation of each dish, combined with an ongoing search for new ideas are the key aspects of the cuisine of the Bulgari Hotels. The exclusive atmosphere of the hotel restaurants and informal approach to service – offered by a team of young professionals from various nations – create a pleasant setting for dining.

You have been focusing on Wellness, constantly introducing new concepts. What are your latest novelties at your Spas?

June marked the highly anticipated Milan launch of Workshop Gymnasium. A holistic fitness programme, Workshop has a proven ability to dramatically transform bodies from the inside out. Founded by renowned trainer Lee Mullins, Workshop was first introduced at the Bulgari Hotel London in 2015 and has become a phenomenon amongst the celebrity set.

How important is social media for your marketing and sales strategy?

It is an important part as it is not plain communication but it leads to an interactive dialogue which creates a viral impact. As well, social media reach global audience, even in remote corners of the world.

What is the profile of your traveler?

Bulgari Hotels & Resorts targets upscale, sophisticated and discerning travellers who are seeking a luxury experience in an exclusive and intimate yet glamorous setting.

The key attractions of a branded luxury hotel for customers include the brand’s commitment, design, and high-quality finishing. It also makes them feel a part of an exclusive community that shares similar tastes and mindsets.

Do your hotels tend to attract more leisure guests or corporate ones? Both of them. However what they share is a passion for contemporary design and for the Bulgari brand.

Silvio Ursini, Bulgari Group Executive Vice President in charge of the Bulgari Hotels & Resorts