Beat back-to-work blues at the Bulgari Hotel, London

LESS than a month ago, the majority of us were wearing a summertime dress, enjoying summertime evenings, maybe even a summertime holiday if you were lucky. Yet, in the space of two weeks, it seems as if the grey clouds have absorbed the blue skies, the rain is a constant looming threat, and if we’re hoping to wear a dress out of the house best believe it will be accompanied by heavy dernier tights.

Yes, autumn is in full swing. And though you may have friends squeezing the last shred of sun out of Ibiza’s off season, I imagine you’ve rehabilitated into a work schedule by now, switching flights for the underground and a summery location for the office.

It doesn’t have to seem so miserable though. Because with a cooling down of summer’s heat there is a welcoming back of a sense of relaxation, of a return to some sense of a normal schedule, and ultimately, a time to enjoy the indoors more than ever.

Where better to do so than the Bulgari Hotel? Located in the heart of Knightsbridge, Bulgari Hotel London is a fan favourite for luxury hotels in London, boasting 5 stars it is the perfect place to indulge in a sense of escapism despite its cosmopolitan surroundings. It’s a hotel that not only features 85  rooms and suites, but also a spa and gym, a cigar lounge, a chocolate boutique, and even a cinema. In fact, during our visit, we didn’t even see a room at all – the Bulgari Hotel transcends what it is to be a hotel, offering a slice of luxury to its guests, walk ins, and even passers by too.

In celebration of the Bulagri Hotel’s 10 year anniversary, multidisciplinary artist and designer Yinka Ilori has taken over the hotels facade, coating the exterior in his vibrant prints, which can also be seen at his first institutional show at the Design Museum nearby. It’s a fitting match, with both Bulgari Hotel and Ilori featuring their bold, distinctive and visual aesthetic when celebrating their Italian and British Nigerian heritage, respectively.

Bulgari Hotel London exterior

Yinka Ilori and the afternoon tea

Ilori’s colourful motif that he created specially for the celebration can be found across the hotel, most impressively in the afternoon tea pastries that have been created in collaboration with award-winning Italian pastry chef and chocolatier-in-residence, Gianluca Fusto.

Fusto has expertly translated Ilor’s playful designs into the most delicate and sweet constructs, from hazelnut praline biscuit with hazelnut cream, hazelnut namelaka and Azelia chocolate mousse built into a square and coated with a layer of bright pink and orange geometric shapes, to the Avola almond Sable, Bronte’s pistacchio chou with pistacchio mousse built in a grass green cube finished with a wafer thin Bulgari B chocolate decoration.

Each creation is also presented on specially designed afternoon tea stands – based on stacked and interlocking spheres, together with printed napkins that are available to purchase as a limited edition gift set.

Afternoon tea at Bulgari Lounge

“My designs for this collaboration celebrate London’s cultural mosaic and the joy of coming together over food. The tea stands are based on the geometry of the sphere and the meeting of different cultures, and I hope people will gather at the hotel and enjoy a vibrant and colourful dining experience through the afternoon tea” Ilori says.

It’s enough to take anyone’s mind off the grey skies outside. With belly full, a venture downstairs to the Bulgari Spa introduces you to an all over body indulgence, with a treatment list that is so long it has been built into a bounded book. Featuring the most advanced beauty, grooming and health-enhancing treatments available today, the spa has become the championing feature for many visitors to the Bulgari Hotel. Making up 2000m², the Bulgari Spa is one of the largest spas in central London.

The Bulgari spa sauna

The Bulgari spa pool

If you’re after a little TLC after an intense work week back, I can’t recommend a Bulgari Spa facial enough. Adhering to all of your skin concerns, nurturing you into a cocoon of relaxation with an ambient treatment room, and a skin specialist (in my case, the lovely Claire) who has such a far reaching understanding of our varying skin needs that they are able to put forward special skin regimes. In my case, LED light therapy – I’ve never had such an immediate response to a treatment, with troublesome roasaceau acne beginning the healing process in a matter of minutes. Finished with a 111 Skin mask, a favourite of mine, and I was in a dream like state upon leaving.

So much so that it took me until going to sleep that evening to realise the next day was a Monday and the return to a work week. Proof that the Bulgari Hotel is the ultimate cure.

by Lily Rimmer

The Yinka Ilori X Bulgari Hotel London Afternoon Tea is available now, Monday to Sunday from 14.00 to 17.00. Advance bookings only, priced from £95 per person.  For more details and to make a reservation, visit The Bulgari Lounge online. For more details and to make a reservation at the Bulgari Spa, visit here.

Bulgari Hotel London, 171 Knightsbridge, SW7 1DW.