Up here, looking out over the 50-berth marina, there are no tourists milling about; no taxis tooting for business and none of that draining/droning city noise, just peace, quiet and whatever drink you’ve ordered from the bar.
In fact, the only giveaway as to where you are is the iconic Business Bay skyline, with the centre-stage Burj Khalifa making for a very Instagram-friendly vista. Sipping on a juice while enjoying the view, you feel part of a very exclusive club and that’s no surprise, as Bulgari has put considerable effort into the yacht club – after all, it’s the only one on the planet.
Before we head to the yacht club, Marina Director Oliver Rees and Bulgari’s Katrina Poore take us for a tour of the exclusive resort. With prices for the main villa coming in at around AED 100,000, per night, film, rock and rap stars have all stayed here, with the location on the seahorse-shaped Jumeira Bay, guaranteeing privacy. Top class dining is all part of the experience, with Michelin-starred chef, Niko Romito, serving up modern and classical Italian concepts exclusively for Il Ristorante by Niko Romito. Chef Masahiro Sugiyama takes his nine guests on a one-of-a-kind sushi journey at Hōseki, with the hotel’s spa and fitness teams on standby to help you work it all off. As with all the Bulgari hotels, the Bulgari Resort Dubai was designed by the renowned Italian architectural firm of Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel. Regular visitors to the Milan, London, Bali, Beijing and Shanghai hotels will feel immediately at home, with the Mediterranean feel combined with the ‘Made in Italy’ quality – a look and feel reproduced here in the Yacht Club.
Bulgari’s first ever Yacht Club understandably makes the most of its Italian heritage, with the surroundings best described as Riva-like. As soon as you step inside, you’re greeted not only by the attentive staff (who are dressed in vintage naval-inspired uniforms), but a classical nautical theme, highlighted by the acres of wood cladding. Here, all your senses are engaged, even your nose, as Bulgari’s signature fragrance is piped in to the hallways, creating a fruity aroma and adding to the fresh experience. Stepping out of the lift and into the club itself, the nautical theme continues, with prints of celebrities living la dolce vita, lining the walls.
The restaurant, open for lunch and dinner, serves Italian seafood including Maltagliati with red mullet ragout and grilled Maine lobster. It’s not often we mention a location’s tableware, but the Richard Ginori-designed china in the restaurant is particularly pleasant in its white and blue colourway with gold detailing. Aft of the restaurant is the exclusive Members’ Lounge. Here, club members can sit back in cream-leather seats and enjoy the exclusive surroundings, which include an extensive library. A teak floor adds to the Riva feel, with a private meeting room overlooking the Gulf.
AREA Also with a Gulf view is the yacht club pool area. This family-friendly space is open from 9am to 7pm and with only a select amount of cabanas for hire, its guaranteed to be peaceful. As Mom and Pops relax by the pool and enjoy the extensive bar menu, the children can make the most of The Little Gems Kids’ Club and kids’ pool.
At the heart of the Bulgari Resort Dubai is the marina. Here, the 50 berth harbour continues the Mediterranean feel with a travertine promenade that connects the hotel to the Yacht Club. Lit by custom designed street lamps at dusk, it makes the most of the resort’s chilled atmosphere, creating a sense of relaxation as the water laps upon the boat hulls. Currently, the pontoons are set up for a range of LOAs from 10-metre to 40-metre, however, as Dubai’s yacht owners are steadily buying larger vessels, the pontoons may well be extended to accommodate longer yachts.
Superyachts can anchor in the bay, as can any boat owner, as Bulgari, despite its exclusivity, wants to encourage local boat owners to actually use their craft. “We also have free berthing for visitors,” comments Oliver. “So boat owners can come here for dinner and enjoy the facilities before heading home.” For some lucky boat owners though, home is just a footstep away, as The Residences, which include 173 sea-facing apartments in six buildings and 15 mansions, surround the marina.
The brand has been around since Sotirio Bulgari opened his first jewellers in Rome back in 1884. It’s a name synonymous with style, exclusivity and quality, with the marina and yacht club capturing the essence of the brand perfectly.
From the moment you enter the lobby you’re taken back to the golden age of boating, with all your senses stimulated. The restaurant is particularly impressive, especially so at night, when the marina is lit up and the Burj Khalifa can be seen in the background.
It may not be the cheapest marina to berth your motor yacht in, but as the old saying goes, “You get what you pay for.”