The lights have gone on at the seahorse-shaped Jumeirah Bay, Dubai’s next big destination for luxury living.
The first component of that experience — a Bulgari hotel and right on the waterfront — opens its doors wide on Thursday and to be followed shortly by the branded residential component spread across six buildings. An overnight stay in the hotel will come to Dh4,000-Dh5,000, of course depending on whether it is the peak season or not.
The hotel will feature 121 keys, with 50 being for the super-premium suites and villas. Meraas is the master-developer of Jumeirah Bay and also of the hotel and residences.
This is the first hotel — and residences — bearing the Italian jeweller’s name anywhere in the Middle East. As such, there are only five Bulgari hotels in the world and to be followed shortly by a sixth, in Shanghai.
The residences have been among the most sought after during the year, with multiple deals of Dh50 million and over. Would it then make sense to consider future projects in Dubai — and elsewhere — with just a residential element?
“No, the core benefit we are offering is the hospitality,” said Jean-Christophe Babin, Bulgari’s CEO. “If the rest of the real estate allows it — because of the location — then definitely we can have the residences. Jumeira Bay offered that possibility, for a hotel and residences. But anywhere we go, the hotel has to be there first.”
By 2020, the one in Moscow will have opened and another five are in the works, in New York and Beverly Hills among others.
But one thing Bulgari will not do is be associated with “100 hotels and become a player in the hotel industry,” according to Silvio Ursini, Executive Vice-President of Bulgari and head of Bulgari Hotels & Resorts. “It took us 15 years to get to three hotels and now five.
“We wanted to create something that’s not too big or businessy. Our hotels are for those who want the hotels of old, where everything was crafted to perfection. That’s what we’ve delivered in Dubai.”
With the news hotel, the brand’s gone the full distance with the Italian trappings, making it as exotic as they come. It is the same architectural firm — Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel — that did the earlier ones. The look on the inside is quite elegantly understated, while the hotel facade offers up quite an intricate set of miniaturised designs.
The hotel “sits” cosily between two bays, with the marina able to dock up to 50 boats of various sizes and speed knots.
Meraas leads change
In fact, all across the Jumeirah front, change is in the air, most of it led by Meraas. At Jumeirah Bay itself, there are plots assigned for private mansions (but not part of the Bulgari fold). There is also the Bluewaters development, which is more or less in its home stretch. It recently opened La Mer, a beachfront destination for play and recreation, and with a bit of shopping thrown in.
Up and down the coastline, there’s Nakheel with Deira Islands and, on Tuesday (December 5), the developer announced it was bringing in a second Raffles hotel to Dubai, this one located on the Palm at the upcoming Palm 360 twin-towers.