Ori kafri in An Unexpected visit

The American is chilled to the bone when he rings the doorbell at a large front door on Piazza Santa Maria Novella. A girl dressed in pearl-white opens the door. He steps inside, asking permission as he does so, as if he were entering someone’s home – it just came out that way, unbidden. “Welcome, Sir.”

There is no such thing as check-in here. Nor is there any check-out, for that matter. And when he goes, I am quite sure he will say See you again soon. You are our guest. Not a customer, I feel like saying to him, but I keep quiet and hope that my gestures convey it – thinks the girl.

“I’d like to speak to Mr. Kafri, could you give me his contact details?.” “You’re in luck sir. It just so happens Mr. Kafri is here,” she says. In one of the two small rooms, in front of the blazing fire, Mr. Kafri is seated in an armchair upholstered in ivory fabric. “Good morning, can I get you something to drink?” “I’ve already had an espresso, it was excellent, thank you”. “So how can I help you?”

“Do you remember me? I came to Mr. Rappaport’s villa, the one turned into JK Malibu for a week. The wine, the mozzarella...Italy was in the spotlight, and yet everyone kept saying “that’s very JK”. So I came to discover the first JK, where it all started.”

“Well let me accompany you then”. Mr. Kafri goes out onto the small balcony overlooking the square: to the right are the two-tone decorations of the basilica of Santa Maria Novella, whilst to the left there are posters for a personal exhibition on Gaetano Pesce.

Mr. Kafri takes out a pocket book from the desk and hands it to the American. “This is the JK guide to Florence, written by Claudio Meli, Manager of the Florence JK Place. Take it with you, you will find all the most essential maps and addresses to really familiarise yourself with the spirit of this city.”

In two steps they are outside on the terrace, nestled amidst the geometrics of the rooftops and the vast silhouette of the dome of Santa Maria Del Fiore. “Do you believe in coincidences? I do. I came here with my family in ‘95 for a farewell dinner, before moving to America.", Mr. Kafri says.

"It was a bustling Chinese restaurant, later it was abandoned. When we bought it the building was derelict and very few people frequented the square. But we didn’t let that stop us. I was 23 or 24, and I had this ambition to change the hotelier’s profession starting from something very simple: a return to the roots of real hospitality which a good host reserves for his guests.”

Walking back down the staircase, Mr. Kafri guides his guest towards the breakfast room, which is now empty. “What is the most important thing of this new way of being a hotelier for you?” “The manner of course. It’s not just about what you give, but how you offer it. At JK Place, nothing is more important than sincere intentions.”

“Well if we met today, Mr. Kafri, then coincidences exist for me, too”. The American walks out into the silent square. The River Arno will open up in front of him.

The Travelling Box

When the iconic magic box meets the place, captured from hotel guests shots to let discover the details of the hotel destinations.

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website.