Bulgari Resort Dubai, Jumeirah Bay, Dubai, UAE review

When you see the slogan “Made in Italy”, it is often associated with legendary designers, beautiful sports cars and, of course, fabulous food. Italians are well known for their luxury exports – but no more so than their fashion.

A brand that originated in Italy but has since become a global name is Bulgari. And, after having made a name for itself in the field of luxury, the secular company is today a player in the world of the hotel industry.

Bulgari Hotels & Resorts has a portfolio of chic hotels in some of the world’s hottest destinations, including Milan, London, Bali, Shanghai and Paris. Properties opening soon include Rome, Tokyo, Miami Beach and Los Angeles.

In December 2017, Dubai was added to Bulgari’s hotel offering. Located on Jumeirah Bay, a man-made seahorse-shaped island connected by bridge to the mainland, Bulgari Resort Dubai is a sprawling property that includes a hotel, residences, private villas, a beach club and the world’s first-ever marina and yacht club brand.

I stayed here for one night to assess if Italian luxury was really on the coast of the Emirates…

why stay here

The pride of the hotel to be “Made in Italy” appeared to me almost as soon as I arrived at the Bulgari Resort Dubai. The majority of staff I spoke to were Italian; here, you have as much chance of being greeted by a “ciao” as you are a “merhaba” or a “hello”.

True Italian luxury, however, is found in the interior design and furnishings of the resort’s buildings, which include 101 hotel rooms and suites and 20 villas. Designed by Italian architectural firm Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel, the complex and residences occupy 123,000 square meters of the island.

My deluxe beach view room was full of Bulgari branded products and designer furniture that replicated an upscale Italian hotel. The bed and bedding were ultra-comfortable, and the bathroom, which featured a freestanding tub and rainforest-style shower, had plenty of toiletries and accessories.

Furnishings included stylish lighting, designer tables, fashion-themed books, sofa, yoga mat, artwork, and a contemporary desk with workspace. Outside, the private balcony had a decent sitting area with a view of the Arabian Gulf, the beach, and the pool.

Mini bar/fridge is a beauty

A big highlight of the room was the Bulgari mini bar. This custom-designed leather trunk, which contained a refrigerator stocked with Italian food and drink, was the quintessential designer piece of furniture. Due to its size and weight, I couldn’t fit it in my suitcase when checking out, which was a real shame. . .

For a bit of Italian relaxation, the resort also has a beach club with swimming pools, a bar, a kids’ club and private cabanas, while the Bulgari spa includes an indoor pool, a vitality swimming pool, treatment rooms and a hammam.

If you want to buy Bulgari jewelry or luxury goods, there are also a number of shops inside the hotel.

The terrace of Il Caffé

Eat and drink

In July of this year, the Michelin Guide announced Dubai’s first Michelin-starred restaurants. Two received two stars, nine received one star and 14 received a Bib Gourmand.

Of the 11 Michelin-starred restaurants in Dubai, two are at the Bulgari Resort. The two-star Il Ristorante-Niko Romito was described by the Guide as an “ultra-cool, elegant and discreet” Italian restaurant. The one-star Japanese restaurant Hōseki, located on the hotel’s fourth floor, seats only nine and has been described as a “little gem”.

In addition to Michelin-starred options, the Bulgari Resort is home to numerous restaurants and bars. Il Caffé is where hotel guests can enjoy a superb breakfast (definitely go for the smoked salmon and avocado on toast) and it also serves Mediterranean and Middle Eastern dishes All day long.

Outside, near the beach and pool, you’ll find La Spiaggia, a restaurant serving antipasti, pasta, pizza, grills, sandwiches and desserts. And on the marina side, the Yacht Club restaurant specializes in fish and Italian dishes.

Afternoon tea can be enjoyed in the Bulgari Lounge, while the Bulgari Bar – located in the same space as Il Ristorante-Niko Romito – is perfect for a pre-dinner aperitif, sunset cocktail or a light snack.

The Galleria is one of the resort's shops

Out and about

Just a 25-minute drive from Dubai International Airport, the Bulgari Resort’s central location in the city’s Jumeirah 2 district puts it close to the Creek, Downtown Dubai, Burj Khalifa, Business Bay , Jumeirah Beach and Kite Beach.

While Italy has a thousand-year-old heritage and history, Dubai, a “new city”, is often accused of “having no culture”. This is simply wrong, as you only need to head to the creek to find the old town and historical museums to wander around. At the creek you will also find the souks (markets) of gold, spices, perfumes and textiles, which are definitely worth exploring.

Shoppers can also find their fashion fix at The Dubai Mall or The Mall of the Emirates, while golfers can hit some of the world’s best courses including Emirates Golf Club, Jumeirah Golf Estates and Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht club.

Bulgari Resort Dubai, Jumeirah Bay Island, Jumeirah 2, Dubai, UAE. During the winter months, rooms start from AED6,500 (£1,571) per night and villas from AED29,500 (£7,132) per night; bulgarihotels.com

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