Hotel Review: Bulgari Hotel Tokyo Is An Engaging Dialogue Between Japanese and Italian Cultures

The revered jewellery house draws guests into a spellbinding world of finery by blending Japanese craftsmanship with Italian design in its Tokyo hotel.
by Mavis Teo
bulgari hotel tokyo

Photo: Bulgari Hotels & Resorts

Opened last April, the Bulgari Hotel Tokyo is the eighth gem in Bulgari Hotels & Resorts’ crown and the first to depart from its design DNA. (Bulgari Hotel Rome has also opened since then, bringing the brand’s collection of hotels to a total of nine.)

My first Bulgari hotel stay was at the Beijing outpost in 2018, and while it was great and tastefully luxurious with faultless service, it also struck me as being very Italian through and through, from its design elements to its F&B offerings.

I later heard that this was the mission until the Tokyo opening: All Bulgari hotels (even in diverse locations such as Bali and Dubai) should have a rather homogenous style.

Except that in the Beijing outpost, I went away feeling like it was a hotel for the well-heeled who would go to a foreign land but do not actually want a local experience. Although there were offsite activities that would immerse guests in the city, inside the hotel, one of the few references to the host destination I remember was a Chinese dim sum set at breakfast and some works by Chinese artists. I really don’t recall there being much of a sense of place.

However, Bulgari’s long-time collaborator, ACPV Architects Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel, was given a Rome-Meets-Tokyo brief for this Japanese outpost. This vision seems to have also been extended to the programming of activities — the two cultures are also well-meshed and represented in the hotel’s software and offerings.

The concierge desk at Bulgari Hotel Tokyo. (Photo: Bulgari Hotel & Resorts)

Cultural exchange

The Bulgari Hotel Tokyo is at the crossroads of commerce and culture — modernity and the past.

Located on floors 40 through 45 of Tokyo Midtown Yaesu, the newest skyscraper in the block in the area, the hotel is a short stroll away from the red-brick Tokyo Station and the Tokyo Imperial Palace. All around it are Ginza’s shopping district and Otemachi and Nihombashi’s financial districts.

Views of the surrounding Imperial Gardens draw guests who like to jog while Mount Fuji beckons from a distance — its snow-capped peak visible on a clear day.

The hallowed hallways that lead to Bulgari Hotel Tokyo start at its private lobby on the ground floor of Tokyo Midtown Yaesu. Walkways paved with green-veined Italian marble and black granite lead to a corridor on the 40th floor that is lined with Japanese textile patterns. The mood is dark and seductive, very Italian.

A fan shape that mimics patterns seen on the walls of the Roman Colosseum is etched on wallpaper at the Bulgari Hotel Tokyo. (Photo: Bulgari Hotel & Resorts)

References from classic Bulgari jewels adorn the space. An eight-pointed Star of Michelangelo is etched on the marble inlay in the centre of the 40th-floor lobby. The fan-shaped motif from Bulgari’s DIVA’S DREAM collection can be seen in wallpapers throughout the hotel.

An image of Mount Fuji with a red pine tree in the foreground hangs on the wall on the same floor as a nod to the hotel’s host destination. It is inspired by a brooch Bulgari made in the 1970s for its very first Japanese client. This Mount Fuji motif can also be seen on the in-room yukata robes. On the terrace on the 45th floor, Italian lemon trees line the western deck, while Japanese yuzu trees decorate the eastern deck.

The melding of fine Japanese craftsmanship and sleek Italian design continues in the rooms. Flexform armchairs and Maxalto writing desks share the space with soft furnishings and throws by Kyoto kimono fabric maker Hosoo.

bulgari hotel tokyo

One of the suites at Bulgari Hotel Tokyo. (Photo: Bulgari Hotel & Resorts)

As this is a hotel by one of the world’s most venerated jewellers, one should expect to see jewellery books and vintage jewellery ads in the room.

In the 4300 sq ft Bulgari Suite (one of the largest suites in Tokyo and can be connected to an adjacent junior suite for more space), a Hoosoo silk headboard designed by Japanese artist Shoko Okumura complements a Murano glass chandelier by Barovier & Toso.

bulgari hotel tokyo

Japanese craftsmanship is beautifully blended with Italian design at the Bulgari Hotel Tokyo. (Photo: Bulgari Hotel & Resorts)

Bedtime is a dreamy ritual at Bulgari Hotel Tokyo. Nightly, a different chocolate confection awaited me after a restorative bath steeped in Bulgari bath salts. I tucked into bed, sheathed in pyjamas made from the finest cotton provided by the hotel.

For the uninitiated, this is a standard practice one can expect at a respectable ryokan or Japanese hotel. But the bedsheets are Italian, of course, by Rivolta Carmignani, a Lombardy-based tailored linen atelier founded in 1867.

Two cuisines side by side

bulgari hotel tokyo

Il Ristorante Niko Romito at Bulgari Hotel Tokyo. (Photo: Bulgari Hotel & Resorts)

Also, in five other Bulgari Hotels, Il Ristorante Niko Romito, helmed by Niko Romito, one of Italy’s most celebrated chefs, takes centre stage on the 40th floor. Awarded one star in the 2024 Tokyo Michelin Guide, the Tokyo outpost run by head chef Mauro Aloisio serves pared-down, simply presented dishes that are big on flavours, using as much Japanese produce as possible.

The tortellini with spinach and ricotta is so comforting and delicious that you’d ditch your low-carb diet. Breakfast is also served here.

Linguine di Semola, Aragosta e Gamberi Rossi. (Photo: Bulgari Hotel & Resorts)

On the same floor is the bijoux jewellery box of Bulgari Dolci where guests can pick Italian pastries from a beautiful selection. Next to it and tucked discreetly behind a curtain is the eight-seater Sushi Hōseki, overseen by Kenji Gyoten, who made history in 2014 when he was the youngest Japanese chef to have a restaurant, Sushi Gyoten in Fukuoka, awarded three Michelin stars.

bulgari hotel tokyo

Sushi Höseki by Kenji Gyoten. (Photo: Bulgari Hotel & Resorts)

Don’t miss out on the Bulgari Bar on the 45th floor. I am spellbound by the Bisazza mosaic wall — a beautiful tableau of an enchanted garden. The cocktails dreamt up by bar manager Andrea Minarelli are also heady and seductive — the perfect end to a magical evening.

To start, order the garden-themed Giardino from Gin Primo, cedar essence, and Senkin Organic Nature Zero sake. It makes a refreshing overture.

bulgari hotel tokyo

The Bulgari Bar. (Photo: Bulgari Hotel & Resorts)

Like one of the Serpenti Vipers encased in one of the not-too-many glass displays, the brand messaging slowly snaked itself into my subconscious. While the jewellery powerhouse didn’t quite work its magic on me during the Beijing stay, the deft melding of two cultures this time, which showcased Bulgari’s finesse, did.

As I did my swim laps on my last morning, I was transfixed by the seafoam-green mosaic tiles and Venetian glass at the bottom of the pool. They shimmered like the emerald eyes of the Serpenti (on a Seduttori bracelet). I succumbed to its spell (and would later indulge in some Bulgari trinkets on my next trip to Europe).

This story originally published on The Peak Singapore.

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