Luxury brand Bulgari will open the first completely new luxury hotel in London in 40 years, the company says.
Although the name and design will be all Bulgari, the hotel will be built and managed by the Ritz-Carlton group.
It will be located in Knightsbridge, the most prestigious area of central London, next to Hyde Park, on the spot of the Normandie Hotel, which has been demolished.
The hotel, due to open in 2012, will apparently feature a variety of marbles, fine woods, however Bulgari's trademark silver metal will remain the dominant feature of the design. It will cost £350 million ($561 million) to build.
Bulgari says out of the 85 rooms in the hotel, seven will be suites measuring over 200sqm each -- almost as big as an average family home. The hotel is hoping to attract some long term residents of significant means, as the hotel is officially called "Bulgari Hotel and Residence".
The hotel will also feature a private cinema for guests, so they don't have to mix with the hoi polloi. There will also be a 25 metre swimming pool, entirely decorated with mosaics.
Although extreme luxury hotels are not normally allowed in corporate travel budgets, they're often used to host lavish corporate events to impress financial analysts, journalists and product buyers.
And of course, "C" level executives like former Telstra boss Sol Trujillo, whose available pot of cash make any hotel rate -- no matter how lavish -- look insignificant, also stay in the best hotels available.
A boom in luxury hotels in London highlights both a rebound in business travel budgets, and a rush to get the city ready for the Olympic Games, according to PriceWaterhouse Coopers.
Although Bulgari claims it will be the first new hotel in London for 40 years, PwC estimates that 18 luxury hotels have commenced construction, which will see a 27% increase in the number of rooms available.
Many hotels have been refurbished in preparation for the Games and hotels have been bucking the trend for ever smaller rooms in high-density financial centre cities, instead cutting the number of rooms to allow for more suites.
Dan is a tech enthusiast who frequently qualifies for enhanced airport security screening due to the number of cords and gadgets stuffed into his cabin bag.