On a splendidly balmy day, I headed to Rome’s latest gem–the Bulgari Hotel Roma. A longtime friend, Elena Bruno who heads the hotel’s marketing, invited me for a ladies’ lunch on the fifth floor terrace. It was an impeccable experience, recalling the specialness of this luxury hotel series, which I had experienced in Milan, Tokyo and London. A former consultant to the brand for their web presence, I am deeply familiar with the exquisite touch in every detail. Needless to say, I was curious how the Bulgari vision would translate in this property, close to its native headquarters.
I was impressed. The combination of ease in the elevated environs with extraordinarily luxurious finishes and materials make it a subtly sumptuous experience – a quiet beauty. The scene was full of texture, from the building’s warm bricks, to the nubby cushioned couches on the terrace, to the black and white streaked marble, shiny dark wood, burnt orange leather and golden shimmers. Vintage photography from the Bulgari jewelry archives provide a pop of color and whim.
The luncheon fare itself – served on marvelous Ginori 1735 porcelain – was a gorgeous array of color, form and flavor, made by the Abruzzese chef Niko Romito. From crusty rounds of homemade bread adjacent tiny pools of golden olive oil, to a tasting of their top appetizers like oysters and veal tonnato. The food was beautiful to gaze at, colorful and delectable – reintepreting Italian classics in new arrangements. Unexpected presentations, and unusual pairings made for an adventure.
Conversation pinged about Roman life, art and other topics amongst our lively table – each woman with her own distinct contribution to the afternoon. Like the myriad of dishes on harmoniously mismatching china, there was a synchronicity in our eclectic gathering.
Following sweets of gold-covered chocolate, tiramisu and miniature creme puffs, the group was led to the rooftop terrace. An iconic view of the piazza where Augustus tomb lies is enjoyed over a plant-lined glass wall. The garden itself, continuing the theme, was an example of a thoughtful curation. I found the layering of varying leaf styles, shapes and occasional on-palette orange flowers to be remarkable. The effect was lush – refreshing greenery in Rome’s bustling center, serving also to divide the large outdoor space into discreet sitting areas, shielded by well-placed landscaping.
From design to attitude, the Bulgari Hotel Roma is a true benchmark, seamlessly blending Italian elegance with contemporary allure.