I was urged by a neighbour to go to the Pimlico Road Jubilee Street Party, on the basis that it would be awash with free hospitality, only to find that the antiquitaires had, this year, sensibly decided not to dispense much more than free crisps. Town Mouse was forced to wonder whether London’s rash fierce blaze of riot hadn’t burnt itself out. But the next morning, a friend took me to breakfast at the new Bulgari Hotel, opposite the Hyde Park Barracks (to be put on the market, apparently, as another sovereign-wealth-fund opportunity).
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In order to squeeze a ballroom, a spa, a high-tech cinema and a swimming pool onto the constricted site, the architect excavated six storeys of basement. No half measures there. Many of the rooms are lined with lacquered mahogany, which has been coated 40 times. What about scratches, I asked, in a housekeeperly way?
There’s a special man on the staff to take them out. Even so, I hardly dared breathe. All is impeccably Italian, as you would expect from Bulgari’s Roman origins-but we natives had a hand in it, too. Just as the reproduction Chippendale desk that I saw at Arthur Brett (retail price £127,000) was carved in Norwich, so the Bulgari’s ballroom chandelier, solid silver and inspired by a swirling dress, was made in Kent.
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