Don’t get me wrong, I’m not some sort of baller at the Saudi, Chinese, or Russian oligarch level, but I can hang for at least a few days at this level. I’ve been to a lot of nice hotels. When I travel to a big metropolitan city in another country, I like to go all out at least for 2 or 3 nights, then I can slum it at an Airbnb or stay with friends for the excess days. We’ve been to Numerous Waldorf Astoria, Ritz, and Four Seasons around the world, from the US to Kyoto, Tokyo, Mexico City, Paris, Rome, etc. but the Bulgari hotel in London is in its own league. This is some next level shit.
I tried to find the price of a regularly sized loft in the residence section of the hotel but all the listings were POA…Price on asking. But a penthouse sold for 100 million pounds here. Holy fuck!
We only stayed here one night as it cost $1600pounds/night, but it is literally the best hotel I have ever stayed at in my life. Some might think it’s not all that, and that there are more luxurious places, but when I saw a post from the Sartorialist blog on this hotel, it just reaffirmed my conviction and convinced me to also just post pictures of my stay here. I need to clarify; when I say the best hotel, I’m talking about attention to detail. If you really think about it, these guys are jewelry designers, so attention to detail is their hallmark. I will get into the details soon. Look at this back-lit green onyx encased in glass at the spa reception!
Talking about jewelry, look at this emerald-tinted door. I’ve had a little too much Wizard of Oz references on this UK trip.
The magic emerald door opens as you enter this Roman palace of a spa.
This is pure perfection to my eyes, I was eating it all up. This place was worth every penny. It was like walking into a Departures magazine layout of a staged Minoti living room or something. I am talking every detail was considered, to the floors, the texture of the cement blocks on the wall, the translucent sheets mimicking Roman columns. The sick ass ultra modern/mid-century hybrid lounge furniture. Even the tiles on the bottom of the pool. The sparsely populated room. I mean there is something to be said about a $1600/night price tag keeping the riff-raff out.
This is some serious Cleopatra shit. Look at the lighting. So many people underestimate the value perfect lighting provides. Even the continuum of the columns reflecting in the pool. Not only lighting coming in from the columns themselves, the back-lighting from the ceiling onto the cement wall, the lighting from inside the pool. The spacing, the layout, totally exquisite.
I am an exotic stone nut job. I can spend hours just looking at images of tiger onyx on the internet. I was in my own little world when I saw all these precious stones all over the place. I mean, no expense spared. Floor to fucking ceiling dopeness. Look at this shower. My pre-swim shower was spent slowly rubbing my hands all over these walls and just staring at all the veins in the stone. I was in heaven. Every fucking stall was like this, and there were like 10 of them.
Carrera fucking marble on the floor as well as the walls, every inch covered, no copping out with cheap materials here.
Caligula style decadence here. I spent like an hour at each spa station.
Then came the amazing pool in the corner with a jungle gym of underwater jet stream massage contraptions in this golden orgy room.
I was beyond relaxed after 3 hours here. Holy shit, look at the intricacy of all the gold tile. You can see the motion sensor switches along the wall every couple of feet, that activates different jet streams. There was actually an Iron Maiden chair that shot jet streams at every inch of your body as you sat in it.
Time to go change in the room before cigars and dinner.
Here is our room. What an amazing first impression!
Look at that trunk, leatherbound, polished steel frame. Look at the polished steel thermostat and light switch wall plate. Just gaze at the textured linen wallpaper. I could not believe that they did not cut any corners. Most high-end hotels in Vegas look like they were made by a DIY fashion designer that wraps some cheap fabric over a sponge with plywood on HG TV. This was all handcrafted high-end furniture, where one sofa costs like $15,000.00.
Just look at this fucking door handle. I want to rub it for like ten minutes. You don’t see this level of perfection and taste in any hotel. I mean, at more classic Ritz hotels, etc you see the gaudy frescos and marble angels, etc, but this is all brand new ultra-contemporary super modern design.
I literally could not make it two feet before I had to stop and admire something else. The lacquered dark wood walls, the giant mirror, perfectly angled against the wall. The leather and chrome luggage rack. Fuck.
Even the desk was pure beauty. I normally don’t even like carpet that much, but this was some serious cashmere looking texture, with such a perfect taupe hue. Impeccable taste. I always thought to myself, you can go buy a Bugatti if you get rich overnight, but you can’t buy taste, you either have it or you don’t. This place is for those that appreciate that whoever decorated this place had amazing taste. This is what you are paying for, not the status of staying here. If this kind of thing tantalizes your sensibilities then it is totally down your alley.
This was the most comfortable bed we slept on the entire trip. Absolutely lights out as soon as you lie down. The slippers were no joke either, like thickly padded gels. The comforter reminded me of an aerated buffalo mozzarella foam puff.
More lacquered wood panels that just wrapped around the whole fucking room. This closet was no joke. Thick, shoulder width wood hangers. My clothes could finally breathe.
Look at that luggage cubby. It was lined in felt or suede, with chrome runners. It was like we were living in a Louis Vuitton store. They even had wooden shoe horns for my shoes. I was cracking up that the Sartorialist’s Scott Schuman was also raving about this little detail. My wife teased me that even the Sartorialist was sensible enough not to travel with wooden shoehorns in their luggage, as who can bear the extra weight? Erika just looked at me with disapproving eyes and said, “See!”
Here is a post from the Sartorialist’s Instagram above.
Out of control. I want to design my dream bedroom like this.
Floor to ceiling black marble in the bathroom. Look at the veins, the backlighting, ouf, ouf, ouf.
Wonderful waterfall shower head.
Notice the corners are curved, no edges. How the fuck do they mold the stone to wrap around the wall? It’s as if they went to a marble quarry and gave them custom specs to cut a curved piece out of a giant slab.
I’m also a cigar aficionado, so this hotel was a big plus in that it housed an Edward Sahakian cigar sampling room. I need to define a sampling room as, since 2007, cigar smoking in public spaces was banned in London. There is a loophole in the law that if you go to a cigar shop and you want to sample a cigar, you cannot just sample a few puffs, as there are three different phases in smoking a cigar; the 1st third, the middle third, and the nub. All three can have different aspects, flavors, etc, and you can make the argument that you cannot sample an entire cigar unless you smoke it from start to finish. Hence, indoor smoking with fine whisky justified through legal gymnastics.
Here’s an article on this place:
OMG, once again, I was a kid in a candy store. They had a cigar that I had way back in 2012 at the Habano festival in Havana that I never forgot. It was a Cuaba 2008 Piramide. I have looked everywhere for this and I found it in this cupboard. I was beyond pleased.
They even had the Cohiba Talisman with the pigtail cap, which is the replacement for the Behike, which they have suspended production on, and just one of these cigars was priced at like 250 pounds if I remember correctly. Thank god I have a box of this at home and I don’t have to get raped to smoke just one. Another one of my faves just below, Bolivar Libertadores Edicion Limitada.
This is a proper fucking cigar lounge. Leather and wood, it’s all good.
Look at those accouterments, very elegant ashtray.
Here it was, my favorite cigar of all time. I don’t know of anyone else getting the same tasting notes on this other than me. But this is what I affectionately call my Kimchi cigar. It tastes just like eating very dirty and fermented kimchi. It has this intense garlic and salt flavor on my lips when I am done. Wow. The draw and creamy smoke were also beyond perfection.
Here is the box I bought back in 2013 on my second trip to Cuba. I wish I kept a few to age. OMG, look at the price, I should have bought 3 boxes, so cheap.
Ok, I am going to have to take a quick detour to my past Cuba trips for a moment. This got me jogging down memory lane.
This place was my morning hangout. The Casa De Habano in Old Havana. Every morning started with a cortadito and a nice cigar. How I have aged over the past 6 years. It’s all the binge eating and drinking.
This was my bounty of smuggled goods that I miraculously survived customs with.
OMG, if I only knew what I had in my hands back then I would not have smoked it all or given it away at parties.
Look at this 35th anniversary Cohiba. It is basically an extinct box now.
Santiago de Cuba rum. They don’t export this rum out of Cuba, or that’s what they told me at the time.
Look at that Cohiba 1966, another legendary cigar. Like a dumb ass, I did not know that when I first started getting into cigars that you can age them. If I had only put 2 aside from each of these legendary boxes, to age, I would have some seriously rare gems on my hands. I am kicking myself in the ass now.
Look at those Hoyo de Monterrey’s. Impossible to find. I think these were the Excallibers, but I am not sure.
I took this puppy for later. After dinner treat.
They had a legit whisky selection as well. Rosebank 21, closed distillery.
A bit much to pay 85 pounds for a glass, but I needed to cherish this 2008 Cuaba with a proper dram.
Their Islay selection was very deep. Impressive.
Some nice Carribean rum to finish off my cigar.
Now that we are properly lubricated and fumigated, off to yet another dinner at a place that is nearly impossible to get a reservation. It’s the back room of an hot-dog and champagne restaurant, (not a typo) where everyone sits in a bar encircling the entire kitchen. It was one one of the top 3 restaurants on our UK trip, which I will highlight in my next blog post; called the Kitchen Table at Bubbledogs.