The first Bulgari – sorry, Bvlgari – hotel sprang on to the global luxury scene in Milan in 2004. It has been a somewhat slow journey since. Milan remains iconic, as does Dubai (with its sensational beach facilities). Bali, and then Beijing and Shanghai, have not made such an impact on the world stage. Girlahead does wonder, possible, if the repetitive set-menu food has just a little to do with that connotation with standardisation which, sorry for saying it, is just not luxury in the new-world meaning of the L word.
It is nothing to do with the buildings. Take a one-time convent here or a new-build tower there. It is not the fault of the interiors, done so uniquely by Antonio Citterio and his partner Patricia Viel. The GMs are superb (everyone loves that Catalan hotelier, Pep Lozano, in Dubai, and his hands-on approach – also, Girlahead will forever thank him for the outstanding polysyllabic library of real hardback books that awaited her in #220, one of the hotel’s five Bvlgari Suites.
Here, above, is the latest building to be Bylgarised. In Rome’s Campo Marzio area, it is in Piazza Augusto Imperatore, close to Via del Corso, Via Condotti and The Spanish Steps. It was designed in 1930 and was for years headquarters of Italy’s social security (it is now owned by Villorba-based Edizone Property SpA). Thanks to the Citterio-Viel partnership it will become a 100-key Bvlgari. And oh, says Girlahead, what an iconic hotel it is bound to be. Its Brutalist architecture, as in the style of Le Corbusier – real name Charles-Édouard Jeanneret, 1887 – 1965, – will surely give it instant world recognition.
Gosh, differentiation is so vital in today’s luxury world. Why does Girlahead always choose Emilio Pucci rather than any other sneaker-lifestyle brand: answer, they are different. Why does Fairmont Mayakoba stand out among its global peers: answer, it has unique inland canals between in and among significant mangrove forests… and so on. And for differentiation, this week hear what Quintessentially’s Global CEO Annastasia Seebohm has to say on MARY GOSTELOW GIRLAHEAD PODCAST