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.
- 1 East 17 bandmember Brian Harvey in 'very desperate situation’
- 2 Is this bridge haunted by the ghost of nu rave?
- 3 Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
- 4 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 5 Scientists have discovered a simple way to cook rice that dramatically cuts the calories
East 17 bandmember Brian Harvey in 'very desperate situation’
Is this bridge haunted by the ghost of nu rave?
Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
Saudi Arabia says it won't rule out building nuclear weapons
Germanwings plane crash: Andreas Lubitz 'had eyesight problems' and woke from nightmares 'screaming we’re going down'
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
David Cameron calls Labour 'hopeless, sneering socialists' while announcing 7-day NHS plans
Revealed: Putin's army of pro-Kremlin bloggers
The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
£35000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This dynamic outsourced contact...
£19000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An excellent opportunity for a ...
£28000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Group HR Advisor with an established...
£40 - 50k (DOE) + Bonus: Guru Careers: We are seeking a HR Manager / HR Genera...