J.K. PLACE FIRENZE
THERE WAS no bell boy to greet me when I arrived at J.K. Place Firenze; only the initial letters mark the discreetly signed hotel door.
From the first moment, this Italian town house tucked away on the corner of Piazza Santa Maria Novella invites intrigue.
I rang the doorbell and a man dressed in a fine Italian suit jacket with a silk handkerchief neatly placed in his chest pocket welcomed me in. Far from an impersonal chain, Claudio Meli, the hotel’s general manager, made me feel as though I had arrived to stay with a chic Italian uncle.
So instead of standing in a line at a reception desk I checked-in over a glass of prosecco in the loungeslash-library, while Mr Meli shared his inside knowledge of Florence and helped connect me to the WiFi.
Thankfully there was no need to worry about not being able to remember all his words of wisdom because his tips are also conveniently recorded in a pocket-sized guidebook which is supplied to all of the hotel’s guests free of charge.
And his enthusiasm doesn’t stop with the city alone as he revealed the secrets of the hotel’s classic yet contemporary décor — a collaboration between Israeli hotelier and brand founder Ori Kafri and local interior designer Michele Bonan — with a warmth that’s infectious.
Taking my time to look at the framed fashion house prints that decorate the communal spaces under elegantly high ceilings, while jars of complimentary sweets, plus tea, cakes and coffee, make it all the more inviting.
And after climbing all the 463 stairs to the top of the city’s famous Duomo and seeing the Florence Baptistery, otherwise known as the Baptistery of Saint John, I was more than ready for my dinner at the hotel’s restaurant, J.K. Lounge.
The piazza is the perfect place to relax as the sun sets — the attentive but laid back staff making for an intimate atmosphere. And with salads and tapas on the menu alongside classic Italian dishes, there is something to suit everyone’s tastes.
If you do indulge, it’s only a short stagger up to bed in one of the 20 chic guest rooms, the crisp white linen feeling even more welcome after a full day exploring the city and the four-poster beds of the classic rooms adding a special touch to even the smallest option.
With luxury additions from cashmere blankets to oak parquet flooring and marble bathroom fittings, it’s as stylish as its home city — not to mention leaving with plenty of inspiration for your return home.
RATES: A night costs from around £455 based on two sharing, B&B. Book with Small Luxury Hotels of the World.