Calling all architecture and design buffs, art connoisseurs, Old Hollywood fans, glamour-inclined, serenity-seekers, and stylish travelers: Are you looking for an ideally located five-star hotel with a superlative staff and a beautiful breakfast in the eternal city? Have you not yet experienced JK Place Roma? Perche no?! Did a Roman ruin fall on your head?
Housed in the former architecture school of the established Sapienza University, the newest addition to the JK Place hotel group has been getting a great deal of well-earned hype. Michael Bönan, who also designed JK Place Firenze and JK Place Capri and who is known for incorporating a locale’s history, utilized Roman elements and the fortunate former setting of an architecture school.While JK Florence exudes a classy Jackie O. vibe with black and white motifs, and JK Capri is as sunny and vivacious as the island in the summer, JK Rome is a sleek, fashionable combination of jewel tones and stone neutrals, cascading with Rome’s vibrant personality and moda, as well as the ancient art and materials so deeply tied to its history and ancient remains.
Located just off Via Condotti, one of Rome’s chicest shopping streets, the exterior is so quiet and unassuming, you are likely to walk right by. After a hectic, crowded day in the city center, it is bliss to retreat into the oasis of the interior courtyard, to rest on a velvet chair surrounded by cool, soothing colors, Roman statues, and beautiful coffee table books. The library is a burst of stimulating color with exquisite orchids and fifties-style lamps, and the dining room uses brilliant yellow and deep teal on velvet banquets, which awaken my senses and jumpstart my mood on any Roman morning- sole o piove.
Rome is the number two travel destination in the world, and it boasts at least 35 five-star hotels. How does a small property compete? A superb staff is at least three-quarters of the battle and JK Place Roma triumphs over the crowd on this touchpoint. Each interaction with the lovely, spirited JK staff members contributed to the fabulousness of the trip. After a long afternoon of train travel, we were welcomed with a homemade strawberry cake (and whatever else we pleased) before being shown to our room, a sumptuous, well-sized bedroom draped in teals and wood tones, a beautiful white bathroom with carrara marble, and a completely open, unobstructed, westward view. We dipped into the complimentary, bottomless fridge and snack bar, crunching on pistachios and eyeing the gummy bears. The pillows were heaven, and we both found it rather difficult to pry ourselves out of the tremendously comfortable bed in the morning. What I really loved was that instead of an old-fashioned, germ-covered phone with frustrating cord on the bedside table, we were gifted with a cell phone, pre-programmed and far easier to manipulate than the pesky dated office-like phones that have become a fixture in all hotel rooms across the world. We could lay on the bed in full rest pose, cell phone laying somewhere nearby, conversing on speaker with the concierge downstairs. When accidentally I knocked it out of its holder and it fell so far below the smart bedside dresser, which was far too heavy to move out of the way, I thought for sure it was a goner. They would have to call in Roman gods to move that dresser. I suppose housekeeping has muscles like Jupiter, the king of the Roman Gods, because it was back in its holder a few hours later.
We dealt with a little bit of November rain during our stay, but no matter; Camilla was our sunshine each morning at breakfast. Like a Vitamin D shot, she was full of vim and vigor, and she remembered each of my cockamamy breakfast preferences detail for detail. With only 30 rooms, and many guests who prefer to take their cappuccini in the privacy of their rooms, the dining room is relaxing and quiet. This is a property for adults; I cannot imagine many a crying baby. The only guest I noticed under the age of 10 was the most well-behaved, classy little Russian girl. Each guest is welcomed at breakfast with a daily ‘buongiorno,’ a homemade, creative, sweet treat from the kitchen. The chef will make whatever you please: eggs any way you like or any other warm dish. I went for the elegantly displayed fresh fruit. Nearly all fruits were equally represented: berries, banana, pineapple, stewed fruits, apples, oranges, dried fruit, and papaya. There are homemade cakes, an assortment of bread, cereals, nuts, each kind of milk, and plenty of options for gluten-free. It is a modern breakfast for the international traveler, with more than enough options for the health-conscious, all the while remaining true to the foods of the locale: Roma. I must mention the homemade Greek yogurt: the richest, most decadent, most otherworldly Greek yogurt that I have had the pleasure of tasting. It is like dessert, and as tempting as it was, I politely asked Camilla to hide it from me, lest I make my way back to the kitchen to finish off the whole tub.
As we popped in and out throughout the day and evening, each person at the sleek ‘front desk’ (situated off to the side, unlike a podium which is fast going out of style in luxury hotels) treated us like a dear friend having come to visit their home. Michaela, Marina, and the entire reservation team were so genuine in wanting to know what we did each day, what we saw, where we dined. They exude a warmth that is difficult to teach; it feels so natural. Perhaps this can be attributed to Samuel Porreca, the General Manager at J.K. Place Roma, whose philosophy on luxury experiences extends far past ‘excellent service.’ Excellent service is to be expected, especially at a five-star property. It is the interaction, the connection, between the team and the guests that makes the experience uniquely memorable, special, and worth the kudos. A poignant connection is emotive, and Mr. Porreca understands the value in this concept so completely, I almost feel as if he could write a book on the many psychological significances in the luxury hotel business. Of the 35+ five-star hotels in Roma, and after only one year, JK has already secured the coveted reputation for highest quality staff, most sublime decor, and best boutique experience.
Perhaps one of my most cherished times of day was after dinner, when we returned to JK with full tummies, and we cozied into the sofa in the interior courtyard with a selection of coffee table books before us. Lovely Anna would come over with chamomile tea and a glorious plate of homemade cookies (as if I needed more). She, too, was eager to know what we did that day, where we went, where we dined. Her smile was infectious, her positivity and late-night energy was a final dose of gaiety before bed. It is easy to quickly adopt JK Roma as my home in Rome, and indeed this became our routine. In fact, I began skipping dessert at dinner, knowing full well that the occhi di bue con cioccolato back at the hotel were well worth the wait. What better way to end an evening than in a gorgeous interior courtyard in the heart of Roma, with tea and cookies and reading material on all of my favorite subjects- travel, hotels, design, fashion, film. Then it was off to bed- through the secret door into the cushy elevator, where I found that yes, the built-in elevator sofas do come in handy after many hours of walking and eating in this eternal city.
Tutto e chicissimo a JK Place Roma.
Via di Monte D’Oro, 30, 00186 Roma, Italy
+39 06 98263