The Bulgari Resort & Residences Dubai officially opened its doors today (following a stylish opening soirée last night with Bella Hadid in attendance) and it's every bit as spectacular as you would imagine.

Set upon the exclusive new Jumeira Bay development by Meraas, the resort is the only hotel on the penninsula, surrounded by private villas and palaces, and features the very first Bulgari marina in the world. It also is home to the only La Mer spa in the GGC (and just the fourth outpost globally). 

Designed to become Dubai's third landmark, following the Burj Al Arab and Burj Khalifa, Buro 24/7 Middle East sat down with the renowned architects Antonio Citterio and Patricia Viel to discuss their inspirations and aspiration for the resort...

What was the inspiration behind this hotel?

Patricia Viel: When you start thinking on a project of this size, first of all you have to play with the parts of the site. What we do as European architects is we try to understand what the sun does  where it rises, where it sets, which way the natural light plays with the views but of oucrse in this particular case, because of the design og the island which was already in place, and was very well designed. With the architecture, we wanted a very strong relationship with certain elements, like the skyline for example. So the idea was to open the crescent towards Dubai because we had the understanding that the view of the skyline was the view but also that the shape of the lines was creating a kind of protection against the busy life of the city. That was the starting point. 

The idea was, of course, to create a very strong destination here but the challenge was to design a piece of architecture that was not a tower but a low-rise building with the power of being a landmark. 

Antonio Citterio: We made the hotel for the busy people of Dubai and other countries who come to visit. Everything about the hotel — the restaurants, the marina  the idea is that it's a place to relax, even though you are not far away from the city. I hope people like it. 

How did you choose the Bulgari codes you used in this project?

PV: We have been working with Bulgari for 17 years. We started with very simple elements from the brand like the black and travertine colours and that was the core of the concept at the beginning. Two materials with a very different presence in the project: black for the public spaces as it is more vibrant, energetic, more night-like and the travertine was for the guest rooms. And then, year after year, we added more codes, like the mesh from the Pantheon floor and the star which was used to design chandeliers and glass lamps in this propertt - and we won't stop adding them. 

How important was it for you both to look at the jewellery and interpret elements of that into the design?

PV: When we started thinking on the project with Silvio [Ursini, the Co-Executive Vice President of Bulgari Hotels & Resorts], we tried to find a story to tell and when we saw the shape of the marina, which is quite strange because its very closed, we though 'This is a perfect necklace!' with the boats and buildings as the gems and the shape is perfectly round.

What's one of the most important design details in the hotel?

PV: Inspiration for us is something that is always related to the experience you give to your guests. It is about the sense of arrival, what you see. The spectacle of the arrival here is that you come in over the bridge which is already something and then you pass by the buildings with their different elements and finally you arrive in the lobby where you can see the beach and the marina. This is something that very much drives the project. We always try to make an arrival that gives to the guests a clear understanding on where they are to make them comfortable. 

AC: The entrance is the most standout part of this hotel thanks to its use of marble that gives a Roman/Italian touch and the coral that provides a contrast.

The rooms and the hotel itself have such a homey feel to them which is rare in a luxury hotel of this size..

PV: This is because of his furniture! He used residential pieces.

AC: That was one of the first ideas we had for the hotel — to use residential furniture to give a different feeling [to the hotel]. In many hotels, they use cheap furniture because the furniture life is very short, maybe 7 years and it's incredible how everybody understands the difference once they see this furniture. From details you read the world and choosing this kind of furniture for us was a natural decision. It's my job to do home furniture and it makes an incredible difference. People feel the difference immediately.

One of our favourite elements is the fridge in the rooms designed like a vintage luggage trunk...

PV: The first time we used this was in London and a lot of guests wanted to buy the trunk [laughs] because of the look of it with the Bulgari brand on the handle but it is not for sale! [laughs].

See the hotel in detail below...

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Bulgari

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Also, see Bulgari's new LVCEA collection.