J.K. PLACE FIRENZE

The Jewish Chronicle - - LIFE -

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.

ROSA DO­HERTY

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