Silvio Ursini on the targeted attitude of Bulgari Hotels & Resorts
It took nearly 20 years for Bulgari Hotels & Resorts, a subsidiary of Marriott International, to establish itself in Rome, the birthplace of the luxury brand. Debuting in 2023 in the shadow of the Mausoleum of Augustus, not far from Via Sistina, where Greek goldsmith Sotirio Bulgari founded the first Bulgari jewelry store in 1884, the property will be designed, like the rest of the portfolio, by Antonio, based in Milan. Citterio Patricia Viel.
Silvio Ursini, group executive vice president of Bulgari‘s hotels and resorts division, describes the works of Citterio and Viel as “the ultimate example of Italian craftsmanship”. Bulgari’s jewelry is timeless, but simultaneously exudes a “contemporary attitude,” adds Ursini, and that ethos has also guided the hotels since 2004, when the first opened in Milan. London, Dubai, Bali, Shanghai, Beijing and most recently Paris have followed, displaying Citterio and Viel’s embrace of materials including marble, silk and eucalyptus to evoke “our roots as opulent jewellers”, as Ursini says.
Ursini, who grew up in Naples, Italy and Switzerland, worked in advertising and at Procter & Gamble before joining Bulgari in 1989 as group marketing director. At the time, there were only 10 stores, and Ursini recalls “uniformed butlers with white gloves serving us lunch because there were so few of us. It was a very rarefied atmosphere.
Several years later, Ursini was appointed Creative Director of Bulgari, leading global development and product diversification in areas such as fragrances and homewares. Although Bulgari toyed with the idea of venturing into fashion, the prospect was quickly scrapped because “it would have been a betrayal of our origins,” says Ursini. Instead, the company satisfied its desire for thoughtful growth by launching a complementary collection of hotels (“a jewel is made around a precious stone; a hotel is made around a precious place,” says Ursini ) which will grow faster over the years. next three years. Besides the Rome flagship, other outposts are planned for Tokyo, Miami, Los Angeles and Raa Atoll in the Maldives, joining recently opened sites in Paris and London.
“The idea from the start was not to treat it like a business because if it was a business we would now have 100 hotels,” says Ursini. “It was, and still is, a focused exercise in creativity and innovation, an experimental adventure.”
Rather than conventional guest rooms, Bulgari accommodations are reminiscent of chic apartments outfitted with residential furnishings like a “surprisingly comfortable and heavy” Maxalto leather armchair, Ursini says. “We have translated the jeweler’s soul into hotels with obsessive attention to detail. It’s not about gold and glitter.
This article originally appeared in the August 2022 issue of HD.
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