The Baccheschi-Berti family, above, enter the Italian luxury hotel theatre. Carlo and Aurora Baccheschi-Berti and their sons Neri, Brando and Corso will, by March 2021, have two lovely properties, both of which excite Girlahead. Castello di Vicarello, in the Maremma region of Tuscany, was a 12th century castle that they have turned into what will eventually be a 15-key palace, complete with 11th-century wedding chapel plus on-site olive groves and, thanks to keen viticulturalist Brando Baccheschi-Berti, a high-quality vineyard. Castello di Vicarello will make a perfect sibling to the family’s city hotel, the nine-key Vico Milan, at Corso Genova 11. It is Neri Baccheschi-Berti who is overseeing the conversion of what was Aurora Baccheschi-Berti’s fashion business, Bungai (before that is was the Legnano racing bicycle factory): he envisages Vico Milan as not only a stylish home-from-home but also as a place to work, meet and relax, for guests and locals alike to mingle.
Italy has so much history, and castles and palaces just seem to belong there. It is difficult for new countries to compete – or IS it?Bulgari announced yesterday it will open in Miami Beach in 2024. The 100-key Bvlgari Hotel Miami Beach, at 100 21st street, will be the first ever Bvlgari Hotel in the USA. It is on the waterfront with access to Miami beautiful beaches. True to Bulgari format, Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel will redesign what is currently a 1950s Modernist property. Not so exciting in Girlahead’s view is that food will be yet again by Niko Romito who seems to believe in set tastings rather than what you, today’s busy wellness traveler, might want.
The UAE has one significant contender in palatial language, the $2.5-billion Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi. This opened in 2005, and it is a kilometre long, with wellness at both ends, and 1,150 employees to look after a mere 394 rooms (Michael Koth is currently evolving this into a Mandarin Oriental). Not to be outdone, Dubai now has two palaces. Its Emerald Palace Kempinski opened in late 2018 with over 6,000 crystal chandeliers, 400 seats for Ducasse dining, 390 stately bedrooms, a 23-room spa and one white Leipzig grand piano. In 2019 Caesars Palace opened on Bluewaters manmade island, next to what will be the world’s largest Ferris wheel. This is actually a lifestyle palace, ready for new-luxury junkies of all ages – read more about it, in days to come.
Meanwhile, but still on the palace thread, let us go to India. Listen, below, to Puneet Chhatwal, CEO/MD of Mumbai-based IHCL, talking about Taj’s unique palaces.