PARIS – Dolce Vita, meet the City of Light.
Roman goldsmith Bulgaria is preparing to bring a bit of Italian hospitality to Paris with the December 2 opening of its seventh worldwide hotel, located in the city’s Golden Triangle, just a stone’s throw from tony Avenue Montaigne, where LVMH parent company Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton is a two-minute walk. its headquarters.
Completely redesigned by Italy-based architecture firm Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel, the firm worked on all BulgariaThe former hotel, office building dating back to the 1970s has been converted into an 11-story luxury establishment with just 76 rooms and suites.
Its formerly mirrored façade is now clad in signature light gray local stone, oblong window frames inspired by Italian Renaissance architecture.
With prices ranging from 1,400 euros for a 450 square meter room to 35,000 euros for a two-story penthouse with a roof garden overlooking the Eiffel Tower, the Bulgari hotel sits right at the top of the pyramid of luxury in Paris, along with its steady companion, the recently opened Cheval Blanc on the Seine.
Jean-Christophe Babin, chief executive officer of Bulgari, told WWD: “We are delighted that this is perhaps the most challenging, crowded and expensive city in the world. “For us, it will really be the ultimate proof of the desirability of our brand and concept.”
The hotel will include a 2,365 square foot store, replacing the previous Bulgari flagship on Avenue Georges V, and complementing the brand’s store on nearby Avenue des Champs-Elysées, which was opened opened in 2018. Bulgari earlier this year announced a refurbished shop on Place Vendôme, the epicenter of high end jewelry all around the world.
“As a jeweler and master of hospitality, Paris is ultimately the most important city for us, even though we are from Italy. So bringing Roman hospitality and Roman jewelry to Paris in terms of business is clearly the right thing to do, as Paris will forever remain the capital of jewelry,” commented Babin. .
Located on the corner of Avenues George V and Rue Pierre Charron, the hotel is a short distance from the Four Seasons Hotel George V, where Sylvain Ercoli, chief executive officer of Hotel Bulgari Paris, used to work.
He was therefore set to know what sets the newcomer apart from the French capital’s existing “palaces”, the official ratings for hotels exceeding the five-star standard.
“I think it brings out a little bit of Italian luxury, for me it’s completely timeless,” he said on a recent tour. “It’s Italian luxury, bourgeois, but somehow endorsing Paris.”
He pointed to the decor of a 20,000-euro-a-night room, lined in glossy eucalyptus panels, its dining area clad in straw from renowned master Lison de Caunes’ workshop. Dotted everywhere are designer objects and furniture from Gio Ponti, Flexform, Fontana Arte and B&B Italia.
Viel describes it as a cross between Roman glamor and Parisian sophistication.
“Somehow, Rome and Paris are two faces of the same ambition, if you like. They are at the heart of modern creativity. Fashion is both Rome and Paris; Food is both. So somehow they are representing the same place worldwide, but from two very different points of view,” said the architect.
The hotel shares some code with Bulgari’s jewelry universe, which includes a warm palette of garnets and amethysts to the hotel’s signature shade of saffron. At the entrance, a painting of actress Monica Vitti by Chinese artist Yan Pei-Ming overlooks a marble floor inlaid with a star pattern, similar to the one found in Bulgari’s shop on Via. Condotti in Rome.
The 14,000-square-foot spa includes a semi-Olympic pool inlaid with emerald, jade and malachite tones. Meanwhile, the lively swimming pool is decorated with motifs inspired by Caracalla Baths in Rome, the main inspiration for the Divas’ Dream jewelry collection.
Featuring 9 treatment rooms and circular spa suites including private hammams, a wellness area in partnership with beauty brands Amala, Bellefontaine, Ananné and Augustinus Bader, and the only venue to offer spa treatments. therapy at 111Skin’s clinic in France.
Il Ristorante is run by Michelin-starred chef Niko Romito. It seats 58 indoors and 40 outdoors in an interior garden and offers dishes including his signature vegetable lasagna and Milanese-style risotto made without butter. French classics like single meunière and onion soup are on the room service menu.
Babin says the amenities are exceptional for a boutique hotel and justify the high average daily room rate (ADR).
“This business model only works if the experience is so exceptional that you are willing to pay a lot higher ADR than other palaces, because otherwise you won’t have the critical mass to absorb the cost. offers better services and infrastructure – swimming pools, or spas, for example – than most existing palaces,” he said.
He notes that Bulgari, which has hotels in Milan, Bali, London, Beijing, Dubai and Shanghai, is often number one in every city in terms of revenue per room availability. It also scores near the top of the charts due to the top Quality Assurance (LQA) benchmarking service.
“Obviously we want to be number one in Paris, which is not easy, because Paris is the most competitive city in the world when it comes to that,” he said, noting that the city has more 10 hotels with ADR over 1,000 euros.
It’s an ambitious goal, at a time when the city is still struggling to recover pre-pandemic tourism levels. Ercoli said the French traditionally account for only 3% to 5% of customers at luxury hotels in Paris, while US citizens make up 35% to 40% of the customer base.
While American, European and Middle Eastern tourists are returning to the French capital, citizens of Russia, South America and China are staying indoors due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. However, city officials are betting on a large influx of visitors for the 2024 Summer Olympics.
In the race to attract VIP customers, Babin is expected to face Cheval Blanc, an internal competition seemingly approved by LVMH chief Bernard Arnault. “Certainly the ambition of the group is for those two hotels to become two new references in the ultimate luxury experience in the City of Lights,” says Babin.
The executive noted that both are new entrants to the hotel segment. Bulgaria opened the first hotel in 2004, and Cheval Blanc’s hospitality division was founded in 2006. “Cheval Blanc is essentially the finest wine in the world, and we are essentially one of the best producers of high-end jewels in the world. world, so the two activities I would say are a bit far-fetched,” he said.
“On the other hand, our obsession with customers has helped us build business models that have in so far proved very successful in creating, in fact, a style of hotel that I love. will qualify not only as a palace of the 21st century, but also as the ultimate experience through the form of a boutique hotel,” he argues.
Next for Bulgari’s hospitality division which will open in Rome and Moscow next year, Tokyo in 2023, Miami in 2024 and Los Angeles in 2025. It’s also looking for a location in New York City, Babin said.
“The master plan is to have New York, LA and Miami. I think if you really want to establish a strong presence in the United States, those three cities are absolutely required, and I think in all three of those cities, our concept remains unique, because so we don’t have to stress to be there as soon as possible,” he commented.
As the only Italian player in the French capital’s hotel industry, Bulgari plays to its full cultural strengths. “Our style is very different from any player currently in Paris,” Babin said. “We come from a highly culturally historical environment and background. On the other hand, we are Latino, so we are very warm, we are cheerful, we have love and empathy.”
That approach works for his guests, who he describes as independent, successful people looking for a home away from home, and has resulted in a high rate of return visits.
“Customers are much less formal today than they were more than a century ago, when [other Paris] palace was built. And they really appreciate being in a real, contemporary, modern environment with a staff that is extremely respectful to customers, but at the same time approachable and friendly,” says Babin.
“When I see the evolution of luxury, it seems like a trend right now. Representative, high end jewelry More and more people are well dressed and loosely dressed, which means that people are enjoying their luxury not only for various formal opportunities, but also informal opportunities, and the concept of guest Our hotels are really following those lines,” he concluded.
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https://wwd.com/eye/lifestyle/bulgari-hotel-paris-la-dolce-vita-1235003461/ Bulgari brings La Dolce Vita to Paris with Italian-inspired hotel – WWD