ATÜ & Heinemann unveil Bulgari VIP retail experience in Istanbul

ON LOCATION: Bulgari will use the VIP salon experience as a blueprint for further airport concept stores

The trinity partnership of ATÜ Duty Free, Gebr Heinemann and luxury brand, Bulgari have unveiled the jeweller’s first VIP retail experience, housed at the new Istanbul Airport. 

DFNI was on location for the launch event, which took place earlier today. 

For the first time in travel retail, this new Bulgari boutique is comprised of a VIP lounge, a glamorous and exclusive area where special guests are invited to live and taste the ‘Italian Dolce Vita’ – which Bulgari describes as its “contemporary way of life” and discover the store’s exclusive jewellery pieces and watches.

The VIP area is a reproduction of the original Elizabeth Taylor lounge ‘Il Salottino Taylor’, namely the private lounge area in Rome where the Hollywood actress used to spend many hours, escaping from paparazzi through the secret door of Palazzo Maruscelli-Lepri.

“This is a blueprint for Bulgari’s expanded retail footprint in travel retail. We think it mirrors the experience in our downtown flagship stores. This is the most attractive luxury travel retail location in the world right now and our store experience here elevates the brand. We will be launching this new VIP airport shopping experience at our newest travel retail concept spaces,” Roberto Marino, Sales and Marketing Director, Bulgari Travel Retail in Europe told DFNI earlier today at the launch event.

In July, the LVMH-owned brand opened the Istanbul flagship travel retail boutique – it’s largest in Europe at 115sqm – and described the store as “a Roman temple in the heart of Istanbul Airport”.

ATÜ Duty Free CEO Ersan Arcan stated: “We are the engine of this partnership. This store represents the next level of working together. This store is the crown jewel of the luxury retail offer at Istanbul Airport.

“At ATÜ Duty Free, we are very glad to collaborate with Bulgari, one of the world-renowned, significant brands. We harmonise our duty free retail experience of more than 20 years with luxury retailing culture to offer the perfect customer experience to our passengers as we always do. We are a pioneering, well-experienced and continuously growing company among the duty free operators in Europe in terms of luxury boutique field. With our new boutique at Istanbul Airport, we have the goal to offer the best service.”

The ribbon-cutting was attended by L-R: ATU Duty Free CEO Ersan Arcan, IGA Chief Business Development Officer Melih Mengü, Director Purchasing Watches & Jewellery at Gebr. Heinemann. Olaf Benjamin, Bulgari Europe Managing Director Vincenzo Pujia, Governor of Istanbul Airport Ahmet Önal

Marino added: “This new Bulgari shining gem further adds uniqueness and Italian glamour to the whole luxury and fashion shopping experience offered to travellers in the new Istanbul airport. Before heading to their next destination, passengers are warmly invited to a virtual stopover and time travel into the Eternal City’s treasures and heritage. The VIP lounge inside the boutique is another step towards selling more emotions to our customers in an airport environment.”

“Bulgari is one of Gebr Heinemann’s strategically important partners and the opening of the new boutique at Istanbul Airport is a further milestone in the global roll-out of our luxury watches & jewellery concept. We are extremely pleased to be opening this new boutique with our valued partner and operator ATÜ Duty Free. The success of our joint venture is owed to the genuine and efficient collaboration between ATÜ, Gebr. Heinemann and our brand partner Bulgari in sharing ideas and creating a shop with a big impact. It perfectly extends further into the selected line-up of first-tier luxury brands at Istanbul Airport,” said Olaf Benjamin, Director Purchasing Watches & Jewellery at Gebr Heinemann.

ATÜ, a subsidiary of Unifree Duty Free and TAV Airports, operates Bulgari’s new boutique at Istanbul Airport. The concept for the boutique was realised in collaboration with ATU Duty Free’s joint venture partner Gebr Heinemann.

DFNI is on location at Istanbul Airport. Look out for a further report, including interviews with key players in our upcoming November print issue.