To behold a lofty level of chic. J.K. Place Paris is an intriguing and quintessentially Parisian home-from-home with Italian soul.
Whether planning a minimoon or grand European tour (19th century style) J.K. Place is a stylish oasis of calm in Paris’ historic Left Bank – an ideal launchpad for exploring the city, if you can muster the strength to leave it’s warm embrace. Romance comes naturally to a hotel group which began in Florence, graduated to Rome and Capri and couldn’t resist occupying the grand skeleton of an old Norwegian consulate in the city of love. The shoulder-lowering smart-casual tone is precisely what honeymooners crave after months of pre-wedding heat. Along with a sumptuous, subterranean spa, top-drawer Italian restaurant and unpretentious yet outstanding service.
Set the scene:
It must be lonely, operating in your own league of exquisite taste. J.K. Place’s home-from-home concept warrants a bespoke approach to interiors, all of which are flawless. Architect and designer, Michele Bönan and J.K. Place Hotels owner, Ori Kafri took their vision for the hotel and keen eye for style to Paris’ legendary flea market, Marche Saint Ouen. The resulting concoction is one of chic eclecticism – the drawing rooms’ handsome marble fireplaces are framed by bronze vintage wall lamps and fashion sketches, walls panelling and fitted mirrors echo a Belle Epoque era but through the modern gaze, Dedard Milano curtains are thick and heavy, velvet sofas follow the communal corners like an illustrator’s pencil. It’s the sort of taste you can’t teach. Like good genes or a stellar singing voice, you can only marvel at it and bask in its glory.
A discreet, unmarked entrance spills into an Italian-style courtyard, replete with a trickling fountain, heavy glass ashtrays and wrought iron chairs. Rooms flow effortlessly, from a bust-clad reception area into marble-velvety-parqued drawing rooms, and chequered floored restaurant, La Tua (the Italian references slot neatly into a typically French picture). Meaty Assouline books are meticulously placed throughout, on charcoal Chinese coffee tables, marble sideboards, gilt bamboo tiered tables, their thick spines a 20th century roll call for chic destinations and brands. Couples sink into quiet corners with cappuccino and biscotti, or slink off to one of the terraces for martinis under riviera-style umbrellas.
29 rooms and suites differ in size and subtly in style. 11 contemporary four poster rooms don richer hues and more lavish details than 18 light-filled rooms, whose cushioned headboards and earthy tones feel more Provence than Paris. The hotel heeded the advice of its guests, keeping the vast dressing rooms and absurdly spacious marble showers its Italian loyalists adore. They also addressed the pain points of other hotels: the minibar is complimentary, as are the personalised J.K. Place shopping bags to take home Parisian boutique hauls in style, the Dyson hairdryer leaves another ten minutes for make up before drinks at 8pm. It’s all in the detail. A tan-leather covered espresso machine honours Italy’s coffee prowess while a gorgeous stationery set encourages a little poetic scribble… you are in Paris, after all.
Food and drink:
This is where J.K. Place shows off, and justifiably so. A potent blend of French and Italian plates and cooking heritage lends La Tua its edge. An intimate, orangerie-style space oozes Dolce Vita glamour with its floor to ceiling windows looking over a terrace, as well as its white-table cloth service. Far from the stuffy, formalities endemic in Paris’ Palace hotel restaurants, the mood here is elegantly unfussy. A locavore menu (it has to be Brittany lobster) reads as the occasional french interruption of Italian classics – homemade tagliolini with caviar, guinea fowl, ragu – with lashings of Sotto Fiesole olive oil drizzled on homemade focaccia. Andy Warhol grins on the wall in the bar – a discreetly lively soiree spot where locals and guests nurse Negronis (rumoured to be the best in Paris) over a generous slab of up-lit marble.
Ori Kafri and his father, Jonathan Kafri (the JK in JK place, which seems to adorn everything from slippers to leather hairdryer boxes), opened their first hotel in Florence in 2003. Capri and Rome soon followed, building on Florence’s signature home-from-home boutique appeal. Florentine architect Michele Bönan continued his distinctive work on the group’s first move beyond Italy, to Paris. Prior to its life as a consulate, the Rue de Lille building was home to the Parisian poet, historian and writer, Alphonse de Lamartine – a key representative of the Romanticists beyond the Alps and a history Ori is keen for the hotel to channel.
While children are welcome, with cots provided on request for babies and toddlers, the overall feel of J.K.Place is chic and grown up.
Less hotel spa, more private Parisian townhouse wellness space (as befitting JK’s DNA), the basement level of the building is occupied by a small, but perfectly-formed pool, a steam room and sauna which guests must book for hour-long slots. This guarantees a level of privacy unbeknown to most 5* hotels in Paris. Couples can dip into the pool after a long stint in the steam room or curl up on a sun bed with a book, without worrying about leaving space for others. Treatments here are as divine as JK’s home-made green juice, served on tap. A partnership with skin don, Dr Barbara Sturm ensures spa bunnies receive the Signature Sturmglow, among other transformative facials.
A mere four bathtubs for the 29 rooms ensure water use is kept in check while nourishing Alpha K skin and hair products are kept in large, refillable bottles. Single use plastics are nowhere to be seen and a programme is in place to employ and train locally based team members.
Tucked along Rue de Lille, just across the river from the Louvre, JK Place is the perfect Left Bank launchpad for exploring Saint-Germain and its warren of historic cafés, drinking holes and independent boutiques. Located in the Left Bank’s VII arrondissement, Musée d’Orsay
Rates start from £720 per night per couple, including breakfast. JKPlaceParis.com