The first Bellagio hotel in China opened its doors last month, and with an interior set to bring timelessness, sophistication, and the ultimate guest experience to a luxury stay in Shanghai, the Space team were curious to find out more.
Known for its luxury hotel brand under MGM Resorts International in Las Vegas, the latest offering from Bellagio is its first to grace Asia, in fact it’s only Bellagio’s second luxury hotel in the world, but is set to wow just as much as its sister hotel in the States. Seen as one of China’s most opulent and vibrant cities, Shanghai is often referred to as ‘The Paris of the East’, so it feels right that Bellagio would want to lay roots with its
ultra-luxury nametag here, but the design brief was for something a little different to its all-singing, all-dancing counterpart.
The Bellagio brand takes its name from the Italian municipality, Bellagio, located on the spectacular Lake Como, while the Bellagio Shanghai is located in the Bund district, which exudes the elegance and glamour of the city’s period of greatest cosmopolitan excess – the 1930s. Wimberly Interiors, the team behind the hotel’s luxury look, have created a design narrative that captures the style, culture, and heritage of the surrounding neighbourhoood while incorporating subtle nods to the brand’s Italian provenance.
There has been extra care taken over the tiniest of details for this project to ensure the elegance of the brand is infused throughout the hotel using luxurious, bespoke materials, but not so much that it deters from the hotel’s setting, which is where WATG and Wimberly Interiors have come into their own. Working alongside Bellagio, the design teams, led by Oz Ekvirayakul, were able to produce sensitive yet dynamic spaces that balance the cultural and architectural heritage of Shanghai with a bit of Bellagio sparkle.
Clad in warm beige granite stone and accented with bronze metal and stone ornamental elements, the architecture is a reference to its location near The Bund district.
At its southern side, the ten-storey hotel follows the direction of the adjacent Suzhou River in a rhythmic movement of stepped façades and vertical towers. The towers and grand porte cochère are punctuated by a procession of elegant Art Deco-inspired columns, while a signature tower highlights the front corner of the building. The 162 guestrooms and 22 suites have been meticulously designed to maximise the panoramic views of the Pudong skyline and famous waterfront.
The design ingeniously unites classical built forms with contemporary, sumptous interiors, evoking the next generation of luxury, perfectly in keeping with the architectural language of the Bund, with the focal point of the hotel’s interior being the decadent lobby. The two-storey high lobby features an impressive grand staircase, handcrafted with Italian white marble, and highlighted by a custom chandelier constructed from precious Czech crystals with a shimmering crystal wall behind the reception area. The colour palette features a dramatic contrast of creams and blacks, stylishly accented with champagne-coloured details and bold emerald fabrics. All of which seamlessly blends high-end couture and a modern interpretation of Art Deco to create a distinct, luxury interior concept that runs throughout the building.
Guestrooms are another example of the overall design concept of classic luxury accented with Art-Deco detailing. From stitched leather headboards to marble floors, black lacquer walls, and sumptuous upholstery from floor to ceiling, the rooms offer a dramatic but elegant aesthetic, with telling signs of a vision expressed through the lens of couture fashion, with reinterpreted silhouettes, textures and embellishments, paying homage to the glamour and opulence of Shanghai.
The hotel is complemented by a contemporary-designed multi-level Chinese restaurant, complete with vintage steamer trunks and signature red chandeliers. The walls are adorned with leather that has been hand embroidered with silk, and private dining rooms, with three separate design schemes allow for guests to lose themselves in the sheer luxury
of the space.
The grand ballroom opens onto a stunning three-storey high, cascading crystal waterfall chandelier. The design for Bellagio Shanghai also encompasses over 2,000-square meters of retail space, a spectacular ballroom opening onto a stunning three-storey high, cascading crystal waterfall chandelier, a rooftop viewing lounge, and a lavish spa with a stunning indoor pool and fitness facilities.
“Between the 1920s and the 1940s, the city embraced the East meets West aesthetic in object design, fashion, and architecture. Art deco has been interpreted around the world as a style to express progress, innovation, and modernity.” Says Oz Ekvirayakul, Associate Vice President and Creative Director of Wimberly Interiors. “We used this design vocabulary to re-translate a Neoclassical building with an art deco expression that represents the continued progressive, innovative spirit
of Shanghai today.”
The key to the success of a hotel design is to create a space that feels authentically timeless, with a distinct sense of place. More hotels are now striving to bring an intimate, residential feel into their properties. Guests want to check into a hotel and feel a sense of being at home in the destination, something that feels stylishly residential. In every project, the aim should be to integrate reality with emotion. From concept to check-in, idea to installation, the point is for clients to immerse themselves in an experience through design, one space at a time. It seems the Bellagio Shanghai has achieved just that. The design uses familiarity combined with luxury to create a place that brings people together. It’s glamorous and energetic while at the same time offers elegant and subdued areas when guests are looking for a calming space, which ticks all the boxes on every level.