It’s that time of year again! Fashion month is officially upon us, with the trusted pack of editors, buyers and stylists making the pilgrimage to the biennial shows in London, Milan and Paris after starting in New York. As glamorous as it may seem, the itineraries are packed, making those rare moments of venturing off the beaten path and discovering unknown places or talent even more valuable. Sure, you could do the legwork yourself, but why not streamline things? Enter Bulgari Hotels. Yes, the Bulgarian. Think about it: who better than a luxury brand to source the best of the best in food, retail, and unique experiences you won’t find anywhere else (not to mention unparalleled Italian hospitality)?
I started my journey at Bulgari’s property in London’s Knightsbridge, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this month, in collaboration with British-Nigerian art world darling Yinka Ilori. Asked to reinterpret the afternoon tea stand as a sculptural work of art, Ilori designed a series of kaleidoscopic, interlocking spheres for which award-winning Italian pastry chef and chocolatier-in-residence Gianluca Fausto has created a selection of candy-colored treats that are undoubtedly the most fashionable sweets (you can even bring the look home with these napkins). It’s the perfect pick-me-up after a day of shopping in nearby Harrods or Harvey Nichols, or a private cruise down the River Thames with an Oxbridge-trained historian guide. (Why not?)
After you’ve dropped off your luggage in your nautical-inspired room (the sleek, dark woods make the space feel more like the interior of a yacht and are a perfect nod to Britain’s maritime heritage), the hotel’s spa is the perfect place to unwind yourself in the bustling capital. After the treatment of your choice, you can relax and sip tea in the Zen-like relaxation room with a roaring fire. For the ultimate nightcap, reserve the private cinema for your own screening. La DolceVitaperhaps?
After arriving in Paris by train, why not start the day with literally the most sublime breakfast in town at the Arc de Triomph? Only the Bulgari makes it possible. Maybe it’s the clear view of Paris, but the crêpes and croissants taste even better from up there. Want to cut even more lines? The concierge is happy to arrange private shopping trips and provide you with personalized business cards during your stay so you can have your Chanel or Charvet merchandise delivered straight to your room (perhaps the two-story penthouse with a view of the Eiffel Tower — treat yourself).
If you prefer less retail and more culture, Bulgari’s relationship with boutique travel company IF Experience can open doors to rarely seen private clubs and homes, such as the antique-filled 17th-century Hôtel Particulier Montmartre. I recommend topping it off with one of the hotel bar’s original cocktails and trying the most exceptional turbot-stuffed pasta from chef Niko Romito, who has three Michelin stars.
It will be a year before Bulgari opens its first property in its hometown of Rome, but luckily we have Milan. Located on a quiet private street in the city’s Brera area and nestled in a large park-like setting, it’s not hard to imagine why this tranquil setting was once home to a monastery. A favorite of locals, the expansive Sunday brunch is the ideal place to while away the afternoon with friends and family over one of the city’s tastiest spreads. If you’re lucky, you might even spot one sciura or two (the well-dressed Milanese women of a certain age who call the neighborhood home). Street-style fame aside, any Sciura worth its weight can tell you where to find the best of everything from linens to silverware. Or, better yet, sign up for the Sciura tour the hotel offers. Buon Viaggio!
Naomi Rougeau is Senior Fashion Features Editor at ELLE.