Unveiled in December, the hotel’s low-slung layout is a pleasing contrast to Dubai’s ubiquitous skyscraper hotels.
The newly opened Bulgari Resort Dubai boasts at least a couple of firsts: it marks the Italian hotel brand’s debut in the Middle East, as well as the first marina and yacht club in the Bulgari portfolio. Set on a seahorse-shaped artificial island against a backdrop of Dubai’s cloud-reaching skyline, the 13-hectare property ticks all the boxes for an idyllic beach retreat, while being conveniently located just on the other side of a 300-meter bridge that connects it to the city center.
Unveiled in December, the low-slung layout is a pleasing contrast to Dubai’s ubiquitous skyscraper hotels. This is thanks to Milan-based architecture firm Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel, which built the 13-hectare property around the idea of an intimate Italian marina. The result is anchored by the main hotel building that separates two bays, one a secluded stretch of sugary beach lined with 20 villas, and the other, the Marina itself, where the swanky Bulgari Yacht Club and a string of residences and restaurants flank a 50-boat harbor.
The interiors cleave close to the brand’s luxury DNA with a mix of lavish materials and understated Italian furnishings in a soothing palette of creamy shades and teak hues. Ranging in size from 55 to 120 square meters, the 101 rooms and suites are cozy cocoons, each with a view—some toward the sparkling Arabian Sea and the Dubai skyline—that is best enjoyed from the balcony or the deep soaking tubs. The 20 beachside villas, meanwhile, are private bolt-holes with butlers, kitchen facilities, and temperature-controlled pools.
This wouldn’t be a Bulgari property without a spa and, true to form, the facility does not disappoint. There’s a hammam lined with white marble and green onyx; a cabana-flanked 25-meter indoor swimming pool with sea views; aroma-infused steam rooms and ice fountains; and a vitality pool with shimmering green and real gold mosaic tiles inspired by Bulgari’s Divas’ Dream jewelry collection.
Revived after a day of pampering, you might be tempted to check out the delights of downtown Dubai. Or, you could just stay put. In addition to the resort’s line-up of Marina-side eateries and the Yacht Club with its lounge, bar, and swimming pool, there are no less than five in-house restaurants vying for guests’ attention. One is La Spiaggia, an all-day beach spot serving crowd-pleasers like juicy wagyu beef burgers. More alluring still is Il Ristorante, where Michelin-starred chef Niko Romito doles out modern Italian classics from pasta al pesto to veal Milanese against evocative views of the Arabian Sea (971-4/777-5555; doubles from US$545).
This article originally appeared in the February/March 2018 print issue of DestinAsian magazine (“Dubai Debut”).