16 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
One of a Kind Hotel. Service Concerns Misplaced
"My husband and I have recently returned from a trip to the J.K. Place Capri and had a fabulous time. Many of the reviews on this site adequately describe the out-of-this world decor and luscious setting, so I would like to focus on what appears to be the most contentious issue--service.
I can see why the service does not match some people's textbook definition of 5-star service. We definitely experienced some misfires in terms of the wrong wine being set on our table and the like. But I feel many of the detractors of the hotel have failed to grasp the fundamental dynamic that underscores the hotel's vision. The entire magic of J.K. Place is quite simply that the entire experience--from the abundance of coffee table books, to the overflowing vases of fresh flowers, to its intimate size--has the a cumulative effect of making you feel that you are staying in a personal home where you can put your feet up in your own public living room.
Given this, the style of service follows suit. Rather than being solemnly grand (like we found at the Il San Pietro), the style here is hipper, more relaxed and definitely not "textbook" which adds up to a style of service that we vastly prefer. My favorite staff memory was the time that it rained unexpectedly. Afterwards we caught an glimpse of Constanino the chef in the outside pavillion pulling dripping wet cushion covers off the outdoor chair cushions. It was a glimpse we clearly weren't supposed to see,--the hotel in a vulnerable moment--but rather than tensing up at the impropriety of having the "guests" see the scene, he simply grinned broadly, shook his head and uttered the word: "Disaster" which of course pulled us right in to the inherent humor and made us feel we were "in" on the secret. There's a word for this style of treating guests-- it's called charm, and the staf there have it in spades.
Renowned hotelier Andre Balazas who runs the Chateu Marmot and another one of our favorite hotels, The Raleigh in South Beach, has famously said he hires staff for their personality rather than their order-taking ability. If you've ever stayed at one of Andre's hotels you will know exactly what we mean. The same philosophy reigns at the J.K , producing some minor muddles amid an overwhelming abundance of staff personality and charm.
Ultimately, the J.K. Capri might not be the best place for those in search of "well-starched" textbook service. For the both of us thirty somethings, it was a magical place we found to be indelibly chic, intimate, and one-of-a-kind. We cannot wait to return."
- Travel date: Tue 1st of July 2008
Stunning decor, incompetent staff, poor service.
"Although we stayed at JK Place in August of 2007, I waited until now to review the hotel fairly.
Since our stay at JK Place Capri we have stayed at Villa D'Este in Como and Il San Pietro in Positano. - so I feel I now have a frame of reference to compare JK Place Capri with other high end hotels in Italy.
As stated in previous reviews, this is an absolutely beautiful hotel to look at - the art, the colors, the decor are all exceptional.
Which is why it is such a shame that the staff are so impompetent, almost to the point of amusement.
Breakfast/Lunch Service -
Random selection of food, difficult to be served what you ordered, at times the waitstaff seemed angry at times just to be there.
Nice guy, but fairly useless. Everything we asked him to book was approximately 100 euros more than what we ourselves could book for.
Not enough loungers in the sun, and it was a big deal for them to move the loungers over for the guests. Everyday we would see people's disappointment as they had to sit in the shade. Our last day the pool attendant did not show up for work - so there was NO service - it was laughable.
My husband attempted to work out several times, the air conditioning was off and the attendants would lock the doors early (about 3pm) so they could leave.
Nice views, but there were a few days when the exhaust fumes from the ferries were very strong while we were on the terrace.
The shuttle drivers were the most competent staff members we encountered, very professional and it is a nice service to have the shuttle at one's disposal.
Overall it seemed as if there was an underlying weirdness about the majority of the staff, as if they were untrained and angry they were working there. There was a pleasant woman with long blond hair in a white pantsuit that would walk around with a clipboard all day - she appeared to be in a position of authority, but several times we witnessed guests complaining to her about various issues they were having and she appeared to be very baffled. We assumed her job was to walk aroung in the same white pantsuit with her clipboard everyday and not do much more than that?
To sum things up - this place has great potential, but currently operates as a 2-star bed and breakfast at best.
For a truly wonderful experience both Villa D'Este and Il San Pietro did not disappoint - service was stellar, discreet, and efficient."
- Travel date: Wed 18th of June 2008
Had Great Time at JK Capri
We thoroughly enjoyed our stay at the hotel and would return. While the cost is high -- especially considering the USD/Euro exchange rate -- it was worth it.
We were pleasantly impressed with the service especially after reading the reviews. Everyone was friendly and it was clear to us that they were trying to make our stay very nice. Are they the fastest? No, but we chalked it up to a more relaxed setting and maintaining a respectable distance for privacy -- we don't want people asking us if we want something every 5 minutes. Did they make some mistakes? Yes, they served us the wrong item a couple of times at lunch but it appeared to be due to "lost in translation" issues which we just laughed about and were easily corrected. Especially noteworthy were the concierges, the service at the pool and the shuttle drivers.
We found the food to be the among the best on the island. The capri salad (tomatoes + mozzarella) was fantastic as was the risotto. We especially enjoyed lunch here. In addition, they occasionally served appetizers during the early evening if you ordered a round of drinks, i.e. between 4&6 pm. They were fantastic and as far as I noticed, included in the price of the drinks. The service at meals was more than adequate... Marco, Salvatorre, Roberto and Constantino (the chef) were especially good.
The room was just great. We had the junior suite and it lived up to our expectations. It has a modern, somewhat minimalist vibe which is what we prefer. The view of the sea was nice and there is ample space across the board. A/C worked well. The shower drain was slow but we never mentioned it to the hotel. Very quiet.
As mentioned in numerous reviews, the common spaces in the hotel are quite nice and the decor of the hotel was particularly notable. We used the pool and fitness rooms daily. The pool was great albeit a touch cold (refreshing for me; cold to my wife). The fitness room was decent -- biggest qualm was minimal free weights (going up to roughly 30 lbs). We did not use the spa.
While we were there, there was a fairly wide diversity of guests in terms of ages and nationalities (english, american, german, belgian, italian). Many honeymooners, no children. Easy to strike up casual conversations.
Pre-exchange rate, I think the prices are reasonable for what you get. After taking into account the exchange rate, they were admittedly painful but still worth it for us. One small complaint is that they don't allow irons in the room & the pressing charges are high. It cost about $100 USD to press a handful of shirts & pants.
. Town of Capri is very crowded during the day but largely due to day tourists. We preferred to wait until ~7pm to go up to town. More locals & easier to shop.
. Anacapri is beautiful and worth the short taxi ride. Going up/down the chair lifts was one of the highlights of our trip -- and only $8 euro per person.
. Especially enjoyed dinners at Aurora & Edode. Aurora appears to be favorite among celebrities (many pictures on the wall of celeb diners).
. ATM machines in Italy limit amount you can take out per day to $250 euro for Americans. Most places accepted AMEX card.
. We travelled to Capri from Rome & found taking the train (eurostar) to be enjoyable experience. We found it useful to get to station 1hr early to make sure to get limited space for large luggage."
- Travel date: Fri 13th of June 2008
"Of all the hotels in the world this has to be one of the most beautiful, inside and out. The reception staff are charming, the public rooms are Ralph Lauren chic, our bedroom was tasteful and glamorous, and the proper paintings on the walls made one feel like one was staying in a private home.
I agree that the service lets it down, particularly the barman, who takes himself but not his work too seriously, but this can be overlooked in view of the uplifting feeling of style and beauty which the hotel instils in its guests. I also recommend renting a boat for the day to tour this unique treasure of an island."
- Travel date: Fri 6th of June 2008
Nice dÃ©cor, shame about the service!
"On our bedside table was a copy of an article extracted from the magazine âDeparturesâ. In it, there was a quote from the hotelâs decorator, Michele Bonan, which read: âOf course, dÃ©cor is important, but with hotels what you really remember are things such as how you were treated and how well you sleptâ.
In many ways heâs right, but what you remember most about this place (or should I say âthis J.K. Placeâ) is the dÃ©cor, which is quite wonderfully stylish and elegant. Both the public spaces and guestrooms simply ooze refinement, and this really must be one of the best-looking hotels anywhere. That said, the jury is still out on the turquoise walls of our room (number 10), which felt slightly aggressive. Anybody with slightly reduced mobility would also have trouble getting into our bathtub, which was so high that we felt we should have packed a pole vault. But, those are minor points and the hotel certainly has many other pluses. The pool is fantastic and we also liked the location. True, its position near the Marina Grande is not as picturesque as the other side of the island, but itâs wonderfully handy for access and itâs fun watching all the activity in the port. The free shuttle service to Capri worked well and the lunches were pretty tasty and not as exorbitantly priced as weâd expected after reading some reviews on this site.
What was shocking, however, was the service. Indeed, Iâd say that it was completely unacceptable for a hotel, where prices start at 500 Euros! The first evening, we sat on the terrace at cocktail hour for a full 20 minutes waiting to be served. The waiter came back and forth to other tables, but did not trouble us once. In the end, I had to get up and go to the bar to request the drinks menu. Then, I had to go back to order drinksâ¦ and when they had still not arrived a further 20 minutes later, I returned once again to cancel them (the waiter was just about to pour the second cocktail).
Things didnât get much better at breakfast the next morning. Fortunately, Iâd read reviews on this site, which said that eggs and ham and things were available. I actually decided to wait to see if our waiter would propose themâ¦ but nothing. Then, we both ordered scrambled eggs with four egg whites and one yolk. Picky, perhaps? Maybe, but when youâre paying these prices, such an order shouldnât be a problem. Apparently, however, it was for the chefâ¦ as the waiter brought us four scrambled eggs, which were of an intense yellow and had obviously been made with four yolks. He also had the gall to announce that there were âfour whites and a yolkâ as he set the plates down on the table. Itâs always nice to know that people consider youâre an idiot! That morning, we let things drop, but two days later, they tried to do the same thing and we sent the eggs back to the kitchen.
That last morning, breakfast was absolutely laughable. There were intermittent rain showers and so, the terrace was out-of-bounds. Thus, there were not enough seats in the dining room for everyone. A poor Australian couple not only found themselves perched uncomfortably over a coffee table, but also placed right by the entrance to the kitchen. Whatâs more, every time they ordered something, there was a problem. It felt rather like a luxury version of âFawlty Towersâ. In the end, the whole breakfast experience was rather tiring. You constantly have to point out that there is no orange juice left in the jug, that there are no spoons available... and when you do, they are not always replenished quickly. We also had to systematically ask for salt and pepper. Would it really be that difficult to simply put them on all the tables? Plus, both times we had lunch, we ended up sitting next to dirty tables, which were not cleared for a good 10 minutes.
It was pretty clear that the staff just donât have things under control. We were also a little perplexed by a couple of other things. There were no nail files availableâ¦ and there should be. This is supposed to be a top-class hotel and I canât be the only guest to chip a finger nail! Then, one day, I asked the concierge about one of Capriâs most famous restaurants, Grottino, and he told me that he couldnât tell me anything about it! By the way, if you do want to have a wonderful meal, book a table at Da Paolino and dine al fresco under lemon trees. Itâs only a five-minute walk from the hotel. Another tip is to avoid the hotel car service from the airport, which costs about 130 Eurosâan exorbitant amount for a 10- to 15-minute trip. We took the Alibus, which stops almost next to the landing station for the boats to Capri and cost us 3 Euros each!
So, all in all, what will we remember about the J.L Place? The dÃ©cor? Definitely. The service? Weâd prefer to forget it. And how did we sleep? Actually, very well."
- Travel date: Wed 21st of May 2008
My husband and I stayed here for 6 nights in room 10 and had a truly memorable stay in this beautiful hotel.
Room 10 does not face the sea, but overlooks the front courtyard and has a balcony which was great because we had the sun on it all day and the room itself was beautifully decorated and very stylish. Room 10 is Â£500 a night so falls into the cheaper category!
We noted that the rooms in the main building which overlooked the sea and were probably much more expensive did not have sun on the balconies in the afternoon.
The public rooms are stunning as are the grounds and swimming pool.
In summary the style and decor was fautless.
I have however marked this hotel down a notch basically because in my opinion the service was incredibly slow at breakfast and throughout the day. We had to wait up to 25 minutes for coffee and toast in the morning and nearly as long for a drink in the afternoon. This was after chasing our order a few times.
I also didn't like the fact that there was no menu for any of the meals. For lunch and dinner you had to select from whatever the chef was cooking that day and to be honest it's hard work remembering all the dishes or suggestions that the waiting staff are reeling off. You also have no idea how much you are paying because no prices were listed. This should be stopped because people do like to know how much they are spending and see a choice of food written down. Because of this we ate out at the numerous excellent restaurants in Capri Town and Ana Capri.
The staff however are polite and friendly, just slow at service and to be honest I expected the service to be more polished and slick.
The staff are great at recommending trips & restaurants.
Location. A lot has been said about the location and yes the Marina Grande isn't as pretty as Ana Capri or Capri Town but it's certainly not offensive and the hotel offers a free shuttle day and night to and from Capri Town. The views from the hotel and the actual hotel make up for its less than desirable location.
We wouldn't return basically because there' are too many hotels and countries to visit in the world, but for weeks rest in luxurious surroundings we recommend it!
We selected this hotel based on Tatler Magazine naming JK Place as 'Hotel of the Year'. I'm not sure the hotel deserves this accolade after being open for just one season because in my opinion there are issues which clearly need to be addressed and I have stayed in better hotels, but it will certainly be in my top 10.
As for Capri it is lovely but very, very busy - even when we were there in late April/ early May and I would hate to see how busy the ferries and towns are in July / August. It's also very steep and can get tiring if you choose to walk to Capri Town and hot!
P.S The photos on the website are just as the hotel appears in real life!"
- Travel date: Sun 11th of May 2008
Truly wonderful chic boutique hotel
"My husband and I and our 3 month old son stayed here for our honeymoon, and we were not disappointed. The room was on the ground floor at the rear of the hotel with a seaview balcony which fitted two sun loungers. The room itself was beautifully decorated with a real nautical feel. The four poster bed extremely comfortable, and a bathroom the size of a small London studio flat! The staff were wonderful and extremely helpful from the moment we arrived, with useful information on where to visit and restaurant recommendations.
Breakfast at the hotel is good, but as per other reviews, ASK what else is available. We only discovered on our last day that a pastry selection, ham, cheese and eggs were also available at no additional charge.
The overall hotel menu is good, but be prepared, it is pricey. Lunch for two, generally consisting of a pasta or fish dish averages at Â£45-Â£55 (this is without wine). The evening menu is limited and the restaurant lacked atmosphere at it always seemed to be empty.
Overall this is a wonderful, chic, friendly, quiet hotel. I would happily go back and recommend it to all my single/ married friends or a family with a baby under 12 months. I would not recommend this hotel to families with older children as there is absolutely nothing for children to do."
- Travel date: Fri 2nd of May 2008
An unforgettable experience in the best way possible
"My husband and I stayed at the JK Place Capri midway through our honeymoon and LOVED it. We stil can't stop talking about how incredible the entire experience was. I tell people it was like staying at our rich uncle's villa in Capri (if we had a rich uncle). The staff was incredibly warm and friendly - never intrusive. The deck overlooking the sea is incredibly relaxing. We rarely ran into other guests. It was very uncrowded. The vibe is luxurious but in a cool, non-cheesy way. You could spend hours in the lobby looking through great photography books and relaxing in the cozy couches. Our room had a comfortable bed (a rare find at many European hotels), a flat screen TV, a wonderful bathroom with good water preasure in the shower and the #1 draw was the deck overlooking the sea. There were 2 cozy chairs where we'd enjoy a lovely breafast (comped) each morning while reading the paper. The pool is spectacular too -- with a great wooden deck. We enjoyed the hotel so much we found it difficult to explore the island.
If it sounds like I'm gushing, I am. We've stayed at Ritz Carltons, Four Seasons, etc. and the service is at the same level but the vibe is much cooler and more contemporary. We plan to go back soon and we will be staying at this hotel."
- Travel date: Wed 2nd of January 2008
"We stayed at the JK Capri for three nights at the end of our honeymoon. The place impressed us tremendously, particularly after we had bad experiences with famous hotels such as Il San Pietro in Positano and Palazzo Sasso in Ravello. Since JK can't simly ride on a glorious history, it actually focuses on delivering a great guest experience. It succeeds.
Our top floor suite was amazing -- facing the sea, with a large terrace. The furnishings were new, elegant, and comfortable. The bathroom was huge with two shower heads, a great soaking tub, and two sinks. We also had a very large closet that not only fit our clothes but also accommodated all of our large luggage.
The breakfasts were good (not amazing) in terms of selection but the quality was quite high. The hotel also puts out lots of free food throughout the day -- cakes, bruschetta, drinks. It is a very nice touch.
The other highlight was the design of the public spaces. More than any place I've stayed, it really feels like a large vacation house that you happen to be sharing. The pictures on the wall, the beautiful books, the soft couches all create a terrific environment.
The staff are efficient and very friendly. The location is superb.
We actually took a look at some of the other hotel locations we considered before we settled on JK. Nothing else seemed even close. This is the top place on Capri and probably in the entire region."
- Travel date: Fri 5th of October 2007
Loved the J.K. Place
"My wife and I stayed at this beautiful and romatic hotel for an unforgettable week. The staff is not only professional, they are very friendly people with a smiling face giving a feeling that you are at a good friend's house. Lucio is very friendly too, helping the guest for any kind of help, from outside restaurant to luxury boat trip. Costantino is the right person for professional dinner suggestions, your meal will be always a gourmet experience.
Many other hotels could learn from them how to treat their guests.
Our luxury room (suite?) was ultra-clean and pretty and the location excellent with a romantic view of the Naples gulf.
Here you will discover also a unique experience of beauty treatments, massage, special body treatments, complete fitness Tecnogym equipment and finally a large lavish pool all with everywhere relaxing background music.
I definitely recommend this hotel to everyone who knows how to appreciate first class services, impeccable quality and the feeling to stay in a place like no others."
- Travel date: Mon 10th of September 2007
Amazing but not cheap!
"WOW what a hotel!
More like a family home but be warned you will need to make sure your wallet is very very full this place is not cheap!
We were in a deluxe room but the sea view superiors are just as good so save your money!
Also depending on what you want and like make sure you request were you want or don't want your room to be! We did not and ended up in the room right out side the lift on the floor below the outside terrace room 6, I cannot tell you how noisy it was on our first night! We were moved the next day thank good to room 9, on the same floor but on the side and under the main drive so very peaceful!
This really is a new style hotel with the most amazing pool and pool beds ever! Hydraulic mechanisms!!! So lazy but so much fun!
The staff over all were very nice especially the concierge Lucio and the food and beverages manager Constationo! With everyone else you felt like you were a bit disposable and that your place could be filled very easily!!!
Capri is amazing and the JK Place is truly a magical place the views from the terrace will take you breath away!"
- Travel date: Tue 7th of August 2007
Absolutely beautiful but...
"My husband and I stayed here for 4 nights recently - it was our first trip to Capri. I did a lot of research on hotels/location and decided to try out this new hotel with very few reviews on the Web. I hope my review will be of some help to those deciding on whether to also try JK Capri.
This hotel is the 2nd one to be opened by Michele Bonan (first one in Florence) and the reviews of the one in Florence influenced my decision to book Capri. We like to stay in small hotels, preferably independently owned. I booked a Superior Double, sea view, and my first impression on entering was "Wow, if this is what one of the smaller rooms is like, I can only imagine how fabulous the rooms in the higher categories must be!" The room was definitely bigger than it appeared on the website, with a 4 poster bed. We had a small balcony. I noted that other rooms had directors chairs on their balconies - I meant to ask reception for the same but never got around to it. The decor was restful creams with nautical touches of blue. We had a massive walk-in closet and the bathroom was also huge. The tub was big enough for 2 (my husband is very tall) and the separate shower had not 1 but 2 showerheads, both about 8inches in diameter. Luxury tiling and fittings, complete with bidet and scale. The double sink, bath AND shower were fully stocked with the most gorgeous toiletries, which they kept topped up. Normally I never try the hair conditioner provided because it never works but the JK "hair balm" was unbelievable - made my overprocessed straw hair like silk!
Cleverly hidden behind the mirror in the bedroom is the refrigerator, fully stocked with water and soda. This is kept topped up twice a day during cleaning and turndown. No nasty, overpriced minibar here.
The public areas of the hotel are just gorgeous, both inside and out. What you see on the website is very accurate. Plenty of places to spread out and have a drink, watch the boats go by and just relax. I would have liked more time to have look at all the huge books in the library - if you like style and design, you will appreciate these. We didn't try the restaurant as this was our first visit and we wanted to explore the island at night. We ate twice at Da Gemma - the food there was spectacular. I would definitely recommend JK Capri for honeymooners. Just the sort of place to unwind after the stress of a wedding.
A few niggles:
- Location: Marina Grande isn't the greatest place to stay on Capri - it lacks the traffic-free charm of Capri town. However, it's great to watch all the boat activity, to see the lights on the mainland and of course Vesuvius. The hotel will run you up to town if you want. I can see why this building was chosen for this type of venture. The fact that it's located at the Marina is really a minor point and I definitely wouldn't exclude the hotel from your list just because of the location.
- Breakfast. The so-called buffet breakfast was very disappointing. It consisted of sliced fruit, yoghurt, cereal and juice. On our first morning, we could not find any staff so that we could order some coffee. The man who eventually dealt with us was very brusque. We were not greeted in a cheerful manner and made to feel like we were in the way. This contrasted sharply with the gentleman (I should have got his name) who worked the remaining mornings were there. Charming and very friendly. He suggested a plate of ham and cheese (we did not know this was on offer!!) and brought us a delicious selection. So make sure you ASK for what you want. Comparing this breakfast with what was offered by La Maison Minervetta in Sorrento was like night and day. Perhaps it's not chic to eat too much in the morning at JK Capri but I would at least like the chance to decide for myself!
- Pool. The pool area is, again, stylishly designed and very large. Great for a morning workout swim. On our last day, however, we arrived late and were stunned to find 3 loungers "reserved" and all the others taken. Fine. We had to make due with our towels on the grass. In the 2 hours were there, the people never showed up to take the loungers. I'm sorry but this is disgusting. Of course we should have said something but it was our last day and we couldn't be bothered. I would warn that if this happens to you while you are there and it bothers you, you should take it up immediately with management.
- Children. The hotel is aiming for a sophisticated traveller and I know some of these travellers will have children. However, I really feel that the peaceful ambiance of the hotel is destroyed by the presence of children. Do they appreciate what the hotel is trying to offer? I doubt it. We shared our stay and, in particular, our pool visits with 5 very noisy children. They used the grassy area around the pool for ball games and hide and seek. What can I say other than that I feel the hotel should seriously reconsider their policy on children under 12. I know the sort of hotels I should book if I want to be around children and this isn't one of them.
- Staff. Had a tendency to be a little cool (is this supposed to epitomise chic?). Sometimes a little of the "what do you want?" attitude at reception. I don't know whether it's because they are sussing you out or not but when we are on vacation, we don't want to play these kinds of games. I would suggest they relax a little - some of their guests are not actually ogres!!
As the previous poster said, a true guideline on your experience is whether you would return. I would say yes, we would. I think JK Capri would be perfect outside of school holidays, if this is your second visit to Capri and you just want somewhere to relax."
- Travel date: Wed 1st of August 2007