On just service alone there’s little to distinguish between one luxury hotel and another but you’ll need to stay in the Bvlgari Resort in Dubai to really understand how even at that level of luxury, things can be taken to the next level
Words Aninda Sardar
Getting out from the airport, Dubai catches me out with a pleasant surprise. The weather. With my muscle memory of Omani summers still intact, I had braced myself for impact with a wall of heat at the exit. What I get instead was a cool breeze and a general air that is at least thrice as cool as the Pune I had left behind just a few hours before. That Dubai is a melting pot of cultures from around the world becomes evident the moment I landed. My contact at the airport turns out to be a strapping young South African smartly turned out in a Bvlgari Resorts uniform with a matching peaked cap, who hands me over to a Pakistani chauffeur, who in turn turns me over to the folks at the hotel whose nationalities are far too diverse for me to be able to figure out.
Checking in is a breeze, as it should be in a hotel of this class, and before I’ve really soaked in the novelty of the fabulously arty Brise Soleil that adorns the façade I find myself treading silently over piles of thick carpet towards my room on the first floor. What strikes me is that nothing here is ostentatious, even though locals have a taste for bling. Instead, it’s classy and tasteful in a way only a Bvlgari can be. Understated but with presence. And chic to the core with an artsy touch to everything. Hell! Even the minibar is shaped like a vintage leather bound sea chest on its side.
The second surprise of the evening, another pleasant one at that, comes in the form of a bright little corner atop that minibar. What stands out is a colourful activity book in the shape and form of a passport. Something to keep the kid engaged while mumma and papa can enjoy a glass of champagne on the verandah that overlooks the marina and then the endless Arabian Sea. It’s that little detail that tells you why this place is special.
Half an hour later I find myself soaked up to my chin in a bubble bath, staring out of the giant glass portal, it can hardly be called a window, to where the inky blue of the sea kisses the pink of a dusky sky. With Sinatra crooning Strangers in the Night softly in the background, I can’t remember the last time I felt this relaxed.
As far as accommodation is concerned you can choose between a villa or a room. At the bottom of the value chain are the one bedroom beach view villa and the superior room. At the very top are the Bvlgari villa and Bvlgari suite. As with every other hotel with each upgrade in villa or room, the luxury levels are dialed up a notch or two so by the time you have worked your way to the top the L dial is wound tight. At 540 sq mt, not including the extra 500 sq mt of garden and wooden deck, the Bvlgari villa is the largest accommodation on the property and is fit for royalty. The floor plan includes a private home theatre, an oval swimming pool, indoor Jacuzzi and hammam. The 120 sq mt Bvlgari suite meanwhile boasts a wraparound verandah with spectacular views of the sea from any side you want. Additionally, you get a two-person Jacuzzi and indoor and outdoor dining facilities. This is luxury at an incredible level.
For those who live to eat, there are six fantastic and super exclusive restaurants to choose from and it is a pity that I do not have the time to sit and dine at each one of them at leisure. God knows I would love to. While I chose to dine at the waterfront Il Café, the experience that isn’t to be passed on (I learnt later and to my detriment) is the Hoseki restaurant. I am told that between bites of sumptuous Japanese cuisine curated carefully by chef Sugiyama and his team and the dramatic skyline of Dubai the experience of dining at this gemstone, which is what Hoseki literally means, is out of the world. Be warned however that you can’t just walk in to the Hoseki. This exclusive experience needs to be reserved in advance.
Back from the culinary traditions of the Land of the Rising Sun you can also chill out some more at the Bvlgari Spa. Choose from eight different treatment rooms, get a hair treatment at the Italian barbershop (yep, they still call it that and no one takes offence) or the beauty salon or do nothing at all as you soak yourself in the 25-metre indoor swimming pool that looks out on to the sea. With a pool like this, swimming can wait. You’d rather watch the yachts bob on the waters.
Perhaps the only place where you’ll find things rather difficult is at the checkout desk. Because the thing is, it’s too easy to get used to this luxury and bloody hard to leave it all behind. From the plushness of the carpet that hide your feet to the chic art that adorns the entire property to the very fact that the resort itself is on an island, the Bvlgari Resort in Dubai is unlike any other.