Destination: Italy: Florence
Read about a Il Salviatino, a boutique property in Fiesole that opened in summer 2010.
J.K. Place Firenze
Vibe: Boutique, sleek, design-oriented
At a Glance: Located on the Piazza Santa Novella, J.K. Place is a sleek boutique hotel – with only twenty rooms, it feels like a very stylish friend’s elegant home.
Review: One might walk by J.K Place without realizing it’s a hotel, which is its main charm. The property is a cozy, intimate refuge in the center of Florence. Guests buzz to enter the front hall to find a sitting room, lounge, restaurant and library in place of a formal reception area. The beautifully restored palazzo is tiny – just twenty rooms – which makes guests feel as if they are relaxing in a friend’s chic abode off the square of Santa Maria Novella. And guests truly feel as if they are in a private home – each morning you can sit down at the main dining table for breakfast, snack on treats and drinks all day, and take any of the selection of DVDs available in the library up to your room or watch on the full wall screen of the media room. Guests particularly love enjoying a drink on the rooftop terrace in the late afternoon with the Duomo backlit against the sunset.
The hotel’s Zen-like atmosphere is enhanced by dim lighting cast from 19th-century copper lanterns, its beautiful grey sandstone central staircase complete with wrought-iron railings and the soft music playing in the lounge. The rooms are on the smaller side – but plush and contemporary, decorated with canopy beds, Art Deco zebra-skin ottomans and large framed mirrors. Centuries collide in an eclectic melding of style – an 18th-century marble statue sits next to a 1950’s chrome lamp and Chinese red lacquer chair from 1910. Guests may request a view of the beautifully intricate Santa Maria Novella church façade across the square, or the duplex penthouse suite with a view of Brunelleschi’s cupola from the bathtub.
The property is luxurious, sexy and small – while some visitors love the discreet entrance and intimate townhouse ambiance, those who require the 24-hour service, gym and lobby scene of a larger property may want to consider the Four Seasons Florence, Hotel Savoy or Hotel Lungarno.INDAGARE LOVES:
- The private rooftop terrace with views of Florence’s skyline
- The media room with a full wall screen for movies or sports games
- The buffet of snacks, beverages and treats on offer all day in the breakfast room
Two stylish European friends told me about Palazzo Vecchietti, raving about this hidden-away hotel located near Piazza della Repubblica. Situated in a restored 15th-century palazzo, the hotel has a barely marked entrance and the small hallway visible from the street leads to a large bookcase stacked with fashion titles and oversized photo books. Once you turn the corner inside, you find yourself in a soaring atrium centered around a cozy living room with a roaring fireplace. The check-in and concierge desks are hidden away behind a set of doors, furthering the sense that you have arrived at a private abode.
Owner Alessandra Giusfredi hails from nearby Montecatini, where her family also operates a hotel, and her concept for Palazzo Vechietti was that of a high-end but family-run city retreat. Each of the fourteen rooms, including three large suites and two apartments, is unique and was created by star designer Michele Bönan, who also masterminded J.K. Place (in Florence and Capri) and other Florence newcomer Palazzo Tournabuoni. His signature look—sleek but comfortable, modern but referencing the city’s history—prevails and other top amenities in the rooms include Nespresso coffee makers, kitchenettes, and high-speed internet access. For travelers looking to be based in midst of the action but in an elegant, serene, small hotel, Palazzo Vecchietti will be an excellent option, especially when J.K. Place, on Piazza della Santa Maria Novella, is booked. Vechietti doesn’t have a restaurant but guests won’t miss it, seeing as such excellent options as newcomer Osteria Tournabuoni, longtime favorite Il Latini and hot spot La Buca dell’Orafo are within walking distance.
Breakfast is served in an elegant lounge on the top floor, with great city views, where diners are seated at a communal table, completing the image of the ultimate Florentine house party. Rooms from €375 ($540).
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