While packing last week in Spain I received an email from a friend in Miami who knew I was on my way to Capri. He asks me to check out “that new place” opened last April, restyled by Florentine designer Michele Bonan — the same one of Art Deco District in South Beach Casa Tua — where we had gone for dinner together last winter. My immediate answer to his request was that I’d do him the favor in a exchange for a weekend together in the “New Place“. Having got myself a deal with my friend I then agreed to check it out as soon as I got to Capri.
The “place” perched on a cliff above busy Marina Grande port is called J.K Place. It’s apparently an outpost of a stunning J.K. Place boutique hotel already existing on Piazza Santa Maria Novella in Florence, idealized by Israeli Italian developer Ori Kafri in 2003, whose interiors and lifestyle concept are also designed by Bonan. His idea, the experience of spending time at J.K. Place boutique hotels is like being a guest in a house, in your house, with your own friends and help.
I arrive at six o’clock for the aperitivo (cocktail) dressed in a Pucci long cotton dress, invited by some girl friends from New York that I run into coincidentally at the Napoli aliscafo (ferry) on our way to the island, They were all staying at the J.K! Michele Bonan’s idealistic spell was already taking it’s course.
It’s now what the French call “L’Heure Blue” — the blue hour — that interval between sunset and the night, on the Mediterranean, it lasts more than an hour, sometimes two, everything looks blue, suave, nostalgic, mellow. It’s a feeling of a glorious day of sunshine slowly passing by, giving way to something yet unknown, the depth of a darker night, maybe the one of the F. Scott Fitzgerald novel: Tender is the Night.
J.K Place welcomes my senses as I arrive at the elegant entrance hall, holding on to the railway of a Chinese motif staircase heading to the seaside terrace overlooking the Capri Bay. Feeling like a sophisticated and tanned woman from 1950’s American aristocracy, While waiting for my American friends in the hallway surrounded by tons of Phalaenopsis orchids, framed photos of vintage yachts, and white silk curtains, I notice a library at the end of the hall filled with books of tasteful art, architecture and photography. On my right hand side is a communal breakfast table. Very chic.
Finally, in the living room I realize my New York girlfriends got acquainted with some exquisite and charming young Mexican women whose friends knew my friends here in Capri. We say it’s a small world, but no, there are no coincidences. Everything is meticulously planned to the smallest detail; from the bottle opener to the universal law of attraction gathering brand-weary travelers thirsty for a new Dolce Vita moneyed with melancholy but with an awareness of simple values of true elegance and of what could be a simple “seaside perch.”
The Mexican, American and Brazilian women are now all together for the drink on the terrace. Soon we were all going to meet Italian hosts and the hotel owner for dinner. Laughing about our experiences with men, career, family and children, interspersed with text conversation with other friends spread all over the world who were obviously participating with us in our newest BlackBerry Curve, and special summer white leather edition Vertu phones, we realized that we were basically all the same. We wanted the same things, we promised each other to meet in New York, Playa del Carmen, Paris, Angra dos Reis.
One of us rushed to Verena Fiori, the welcoming Brazilian hotel manager and asked if Mr. Kafri had plans to open in any of those places so we could ask our Vertu Concierge to book in advance before those openings.
Ori Khafri — his name means my light in Hebrew — is arriving, and he is smiling. His plan went right.
The Hotel: J.K Capri, Via Prov. Marina Grande, 225,8007 Capri,( Na) Italy / tel: +39 -081 8384001 http://www.jkcapri.com/home_ing.php
The Book: Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald /download in pdf http://etext.library.adelaide.edu.au/f/fitzgerald/f_scott/tender//
The Music: Good Morning Blues, Billy Holiday, The complete Columbia recordings http://www.amazon.ca/Good-Morning-Blues-Complete-Recordings/dp/B00011V8D6
The Shopping: Pucci Boutique, Via Caramelle, 65 / Tel:+ 39 081 838 8200