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Ritz-Carlton Vs. Bulgari. Which Hotel Is Best?


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Which are best, Ritz-Carlton hotels & resorts or Bulgari hotels? While the choice between these two hotel brands varies between individual hotels, Ritz-Carlton hotels are generally larger, with more facilities. They tend to have larger grounds and a more formal setting. Bulgari or BVLGARI hotels are often smaller, with fewer facilities and their own very unique Italian Bulgari style and amenities. We love both brands, so we have broken the comparison down into the different parts of the hotel.

1. Loyalty

Bulgari or BVLGARI (they are both the same hotels but, rather confusingly, are spelled differently) and Ritz-Carlton are both high-end brands under the Marriott umbrella. They share this elite spot with EDITION, St. Regis, and The Luxury Collection. These brands both occupy a 5-star luxury category, with room quality and size, service, restaurants, and the hotel as a whole offering an ultra-luxurious setting. This means that Bulgari and Ritz-Carlton hotels are both part of the Marriott brand loyalty program, so you can earn Marriott Bonvoy points when you stay at these properties.

2. Style

Ritz-Carlton offers a variety of styles across their hotels according to the destination and the property itself. One of the best Ritz-Carlton hotels is the Ritz-Carlton in Maui, which has been recently refurbished with glorious wood flooring and a modern, luxury Hawaiian Island design.

Ritz-Carlton New York Nomad also embraces a bold, modern design, as well as legendary restaurants and bars, enlivening the essence of the new Madison Square Park.

Many rooms here have stand-alone bathtubs by the window, so you can relax in bubbles looking out over the New York skyline. Watch the setting sun cast a warm glow over the skyline as the city transitions from day to night. The views from the bed, the bath, and the room are just fabulous.

By contrast, Bulgari hotels are a la mode, fun and stylish. You feel like each hotel has just stepped off a Milanese catwalk. The Bulgari Milan is dripping with cool. From the moment you step through the glass doors, you feel like you’ve stepped into an edition of Vogue. Black marble from Zimbabwe coats the floors and walls and gives way to cozy corners with comfy sofas and an impressive fireplace. The walls of the lobby lounge also host glorious prints of beautiful women sporting ostentatiously large Bulgari jewels.

I don’t believe any hotel aches with more style than the Bulgari Milan. A highlight here is the most wonderful decked patio set in their 4,000 m² private garden, where you can enjoy drinks and dining under the stars (and under electric heater lamps early and late in the season). The garden is a natural extension of the nearby Botanical Garden and provides a restorative oasis dating as far back as 1305. Even though the area is steeped in history, it feels so “now” in this bar.

In the evening, funky music plays with dimmed lighting. Palms are dotted between relaxing sofas, and blobby lanterns hang from the trees like glowing melons. Stylish guests mix with sophisticated locals to create the top bar in Milan.

Which is best? With the exception of the highly stylized Ritz-Carlton Nomad in New York, which I love and that’s way too cool for school, Bulgari hotels win. They are so chic and trendy that you’ll feel like you’ve time-warped back into the 1990’s and have walked right into the set of George Michael’s supermodel infested “Freedom” music video.

3. Location

There are Bulgari hotels in Milan, London, Dubai, Bali, Beijing, Shanghai, Paris, Tokyo and Rome. They will soon open Bulgari hotels in Miami Beach (2025), Ranfushi (2025), and Los Angeles (2026). Ritz-Carlton currently has 108 luxury Ritz-Carlton hotels and resorts across 30 countries, so there are more destinations with Ritz-Carlton hotels than Bulgari hotels.

Bulgari and Ritz-Carlton hotels are both brilliantly located, so with regards to location, there’s little to choose between these hotels. In Dubai, the Ritz-Carlton is on the beach, and Bulgari isn’t, but the Bulgari is far trendier, which makes it more appealing than the more traditional Rotz-Carlton.

There aren’t many locations where Bulgari and Ritz-Carlton hotels overlap so usually you will not have to make the choice between these two hotels in the same destination.

4. Size

Although this is not always the case, Bulgari hotels generally tend to be smaller than Ritz-Carlton hotels. They feel more boutique.

5. Grounds

In Milan, the terrace at the Bulgari is so achingly cool and this borders a lovely lawned garden. In Maui, the grounds of the Ritz-Carlton are enormous and span all the way down to the shoreline. As a general rule, the Ritz-Carlton has larger grounds than Bulgari hotels.

6. Beach, Pool & Spa

There are only two Bulgari hotels which are set on the beach. The soon-to-open Bulgari Hotel Miami Beach will be located at 100 21st Street in Miami Beach and will be the first-ever Bulgari Hotel in the United States. Located on the waterfront with access to Miami’s beautiful beaches, the hotel will offer stunning ocean views just a few steps from the exciting Miami Art Deco district.

The Bulgari Resort Bali is the other Bulgari on a beach. This hotel is located in one of the most exclusive destinations in the world, a veritable emblem of the tropical exoticism of the Orient, combining the breathtaking beauty of the unspoiled nature of Bali beach resorts with a sophisticated contemporary design born from the encounter between traditional Balinese forms and high Italian style. The views of the Indian Ocean offered by its magnificent position 150 meters over the sea are mind-blowing.

Bulgari also house excellent spas. I don’t think spa pools get more sparkly than the spa pool at Bulgari Hotel Milan. The tiles on the stairs of the pool are made of pure gold, and the mosaic tiling in the rest of the pool also sparkles like jewels. This is a serene and luxurious place to relax on a comfy lounger. This spa is typical of Bulgari hotels and also offers private treatment rooms and a decent-sized gym in this wellness area.

Ritz-Carlton beach hotels are also brilliant. The Ritz-Carlton, Saint Thomas on the US Virgin Islands, is set on the shores of a Caribbean beach. The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island is just off Florida. The Ritz-Carlton South Beach is an oceanfront luxury hotel in the heart of the Art Deco District of Miami, and there are so many more in Dubai, Hawaii, the Pacific coast, Naples, Fort Lauderdale. Ritz-Carlton beats Bulgari as there are so many more Ritz-Carlton beach hotels.

7. Rooms

Both hotels offer luxurious rooms. As a general rule, I find the rooms at the Ritz-Carlton to offer a more generic room design and decor, but again, this is very property-specific. The rooms differ between hotels, and newly refurbished Ritz-Carlton hotels like the Maui and New York Nomad hotels offer extremely swish decor.

Bulgari hotels don’t embrace the local area. They embrace Italian style wherever the location. Plush atmospheric corridors lead to stylish rooms with a coffee palate. The rooms tend to have lots of dark wood, and in the bathroom, stand-alone baths perch by windows to a backdrop of black marble tiling and worktops. Toiletries are, of course, Bvlgari, one of my favorite fragrance brands.

8. Ski

Ritz-Carlton has some amazing ski hotels, including Bachelor Gulch and Vail. Bulgari has no ski hotels.

9. Food

Both brands offer excellent restaurants. You will need to review the specific property to determine whether a particular property has an award-winning restaurant.

10. Family Facilities

Both brands are family-friendly, but Ritz-Carlton has a better kids program with gifts and special touches in the rooms. Their facilities can include kid-friendly pools. Bulgari hotels feel very adult.

11. Conclusion

Both of these hotel brands offer magnificent hotels. Ritz-Carlton is best for formal elegance, resort size, grounds, and facilities, but Bulgari wins for vogueish fun times.

Image © Sasha Zvereva / Adobe Stock.

Note: Benefits & upgrades subject to availability. Benefits offered correct at the time of writing. Terms & conditions apply. Enquire for more information. Posts may be sponsored by the proprietor or brand being appraised. All opinions remain our own & are in no way influenced.