Man About Town: The aim is clear - to remind diners of their summers on the Riviera

The Bulgari Hotel has a suite that is bigger than my home. I know this as I once, very briefly, had the run of the place. My wife – also a journalist – was reviewing the hotel and I was the plus one, so while she tested out the spa, I took some exercise by taking a long walk around the room, through the kitchen and the dining room into a living room area containing a sofa, which had bum-room for more friends than I actually have.

It’s a gemstone’s throw from Harrods and Harvey Nichols, and across the road from the One Hyde Park development, where an apartment sold last week for £140m. It is perfectly placed to catch the super-wealthy who see investing in London to be as safe as (empty, multimillion-pound) houses.

Its extravagance was mocked when in first opened, but it now has occupancy rates of between 90 and 100 per cent, which is even more striking given that rooms start at an eye-watering £750  a night.

I went back to the hotel this week for the launch of its latest draw, Rivea restaurant. No expense spared, the hotel has recruited Alain Ducasse – a man who has collected 18 Michelin stars across the world – to oversee a re-launch. He has created a fresh Provençal-style menu – think marinated sea bream with citrus, blue lobster with purple artichokes and a dessert of wild strawberries.

The aim seemed quite clear: attract the booked-in crowd, and perhaps remind them of their summers on the Riviera.

A former manager at The Ivy was looking after the front of house, and guests included Bryan Ferry, Eva Herzigova and Elizabeth McGovern, who arrived straight from the set of Downton Abbey. On other tables were plenty of expensively suited men with women who, to borrow a phrase from one of my fellow diners, were “wearing enough jewellery to finance a movie”.

Or presumably to book into one of the suites.

ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

COO / Chief Operating Officer

£80 - 100k + Bonus: Guru Careers: A COO / Chief Operating Officer is needed to...

HR Manager - Kent - £45,000

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Manager / Training Manager (L&D /...

HR Manager - Edgware, London - £45,000

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Manager - Edgware, Lon...

HR Manager - London - £40,000 + bonus

£32000 - £40000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: HR Manager (Generalist) -Old...

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments