Il Ristorante at The Bulgari

The lowdown When news broke that the Bulgari hotel chain was setting its sights on opening in London, expectations and excitement were running high straight off!  The group's previous openings in Bali and Milan have seen critics and guests alike breathless at how beautiful the hotels are and gushing at how each has redefined the notion of what is a modern luxury hotel.  After recently experiencing a brief stay at the London property, it is fairly safe to say those incredibly high expectations have been met.  
Set just a stone's throw from Hyde Park, one minute from Harrods and a couple minutes more from Harvey Nichols, this is a central London paradise of epic luxury proportions, set right in the heartlands of the city's high end and most opulent neighbourhood.  From the minute you step into the high-ceilinged and very airy lobby, and are greeted by the friendliest front of house staff, you start to feel like the proverbial million dollars!
As your eyes adjust to  the acres of black marble and silver and, should you be lucky enough to be staying in one of the suites where you are assigned your own butler, our best advice is to just settle in, hunker down and treat yourself to the full-on, luxe Bulgari experience.

The rooms Attention to detail is the thing here in creating a very distinct type of understated retro luxe look. My butler- serviced suite was all dark wood in the living room, Murano glass chandeliers, and hand- crafted silk wallpaper. Looking out directly on to buzzing Knightsbridge, you'd be forgiven for wanting this as your personal London residence, and that’s before you've even spied the chicest and best stocked mini bar I've ever come across.  The onyx clad bathroom is a fabulously guilty pleasure to wallow around in – best not to hurry your me-time in such a well appointed space!

The spa This has to be one of the most impressive spas you might come across in a hotel. The vast subterranean space over two levels hosts plenty of hushed treatment rooms, a gym, steam rooms and, most impressively of all, a 25-metre swimming pool lined with gold leaf tiles.  After some time spent lolling around in the pool and Jacuzzi, make sure you've saved some time to grab one or two of the ESPA treatments – the massages are heavenly stress busters, and the revitalising facials will wipe the strains of city living off your face!

Dining After a couple of expertly mixed Negroni's in the hotel bar, head down to Il Ristorante to experience some of the best Italian food the city has to offer. Start with amazing cichetti before moving on to classics such as veal milanese, and do not, heaven forbid, miss the pasta courses in between. For once, do not beware the carbs – just enjoy!

The details The Bulgari Hotel, 171 Knightsbridge, London SW7 1DW. Rooms start from £500 per night excluding VAT. To book call 00 44 207 151 1010 or email Visit

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By Jaye Thompson