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In Pursuit of La Dolce Vita

Our insatiable love for Italy seems to grow stronger with each passing year, so, you don’t have to ask us twice to plan our annual pilgrimage.

This year, we kicked off summer travel season with some of our travel advisors hailing from the U.S. and Australia by visiting Florence together. Each with a specialization in Italy and unique clientele, we sat down to chat about some of the best country has to offer their guests. We asked one seemingly simple yet impossibly difficult question…” What’s your favorite property in Italy?

J.K. Place Firenze: Florence

GM Claudio Meli personally points guests in the right direction [of the] most iconic places to eat. — Gloria Gammo

With 20 luxurious rooms offering everything for those who want a stylish place to settle in, guests truly have the feeling of being on a visit to someone’s sophisticated home when checking in at J.K. Place Firenze. The hotel is located just stone’s throw from the Renaissance church of Santa Maria Novella in central Florence. Add very friendly, discreet service plus probably the city’s best concierge, and you have the perfect combination!

“Nothing beats an amazing hotel General Manager that knows the heart and soul of their city. That is certainly the case at J.K. Place Firenze where GM Claudio Meli personally points guests in the right direction of his favorite experiences and most iconic places to eat.”

Gloria Gammo, Sydney-based SmartFlyer Travel Advisor

Relais Borgo Santo Pietro: Siena

The romantic, family-owned property feels like more than a hotel stay, it’s the Tuscany of your dreams. — Kara Slater

Guests are welcomed to this 800-year-old villa by a drive lined with Cypress trees, rolling hills for as far as the eye can see and a garden stocked with different species and fragrances. Borgo Santo Pietro’s spirit of collaboration and deep-rooted wellness permeate the estate, where the Michelin-starred chef works with farmers and culinary gardeners to craft dishes using tailor-made ingredients, an onsite skincare laboratory produces the hotel’s natural amenities with ingredients harvested from the farm, and the Borgo spa blends freshly picked seasonal plants and healing herbs into purifying tisanes and therapeutic treatments.

“The infinity pool offers stunning views over the valley on this magnificent 230-acre organically cultivated estate. Relais Borgo Santo Pietro is a romantic, family-owned property that feels like more than a hotel stay, it’s the Tuscany of your dreams.”

Kara Slater, L.A.-based SmartFlyer Travel Advisor

Lefay Resort & Spa Dolomiti

Lefay’s setting is literally nature’s doorstep. — Kimberly Gavin

The property has an innate beauty which can be experienced in every season: in winter, glaciers and snow-capped peaks are the ideal destination for skiers of all levels; while in summer, the idyllic green mountains of the Dolomites provide the perfect sets for hiker. Two golf courses are located just a few minutes from the resort and those who are looking for adventures may choose among horse riding and mountain bike excursions.

“A luxurious new mountain resort in one of Italy’s most beautiful destinations, Lefay Resort & Spa Dolomiti caters to those who want relaxation with a fabulous spa. Or, for the more actively-inclined, Lefay’s setting is literally nature’s doorstep.”

Kimberly Gavin, Newport Beach-based SmartFlyer Travel Advisor

Villa Spalletti Trivelli: Rome

It’s where old meets new and fresh. — Laura Epstein

As the estate of the Spalletti Trivelli family, this intimate hideaway has just 15 luxury bedrooms and individually styled suites, giving visitors a taste of aristocratic grandeur. The exterior is classically Italian. Then, behind the door wait warmly lit drawing rooms filled with antiques and artworks to welcome you inside. Yet Villa Spalletti Trivelli has a surprise up its boutique hotel sleeve. Up on the rooftop is an exclusive space with shaded loungers, bar, Jacuzzis and soothing music – the place to be as the sun sets over the Eternal City.

“My favorite is Villa Spalletti Trivelli! It has tapestries that are hundreds of years old in the living room, but also a cool rooftop terrace. It’s where old meets new and fresh. The location is ideal in between the Colosseum and the Spanish Steps in a quiet part of town, but right in Monti which is one of Rome’s best, and often overlooked neighborhoods for shopping and dining. Plus, who doesn’t love an open bar in the living room?”

Laura Epstein, Atlanta-based SmartFlyer Travel Advisor

Capri Tiberio Palace

I love the colored tile, amazing views and being able to walk out the door and be on a pedestrian street in the heart of Capri. — Courtney Beaver

A glamorous Mediterranean retreat, Capri Tiberio Palace offers close proximity to the beach and is perfectly situated for exploring the heart of Capri. The hotel features 45 impeccably detailed guestrooms, most with sea views. Architect Giampiero Panepinto uses his fashion designer sensibilities to juxtapose soft pastels, inlaid majolica floors and black-and-white stills from the town’s Hollywood heyday.

“I love the colored tile, amazing views and being able to walk out the door and be on a pedestrian street in the heart of Capri.”

Courtney Beaver, Dallas-based SmartFlyer Travel Advisor

Hotel de la Ville: Rome

Wellness will be top of mind here, especially with the opening of the Irene Forte Spa and thoughtful in-room touches. — Erina Pindar Chamberlain

One of the newest additions to the Rome hotel scene, the Hotel de la Ville is ideally located atop the Spanish Steps with a glamorous rooftop bar and a fresh cocktail program. The property’s 104 rooms and suites are filled with playful, contemporary furniture and sumptuous fabrics that draw influence from the era of the Grand Tour. With traditional wooden floors, elegant marble bathrooms and wonderful views over via Sistina and the rooftops of the Eternal City, Hotel De La Ville promises to an artistic and timeless choice in Rome.

“The restaurant offerings are equally exciting with emphasis on attracting the all-day local bistro crowd with a classic, yet innovative twist on Roman cuisine lead by Michelin-starred chef Fulvio Pierangelini. Wellness will be top of mind here, especially with the opening of the Irene Forte Spa and thoughtful in-room touches. Signing privileges will be provided for guests at sister property over at the Hotel de Russie.”

Erina Pindar Chamberlain, N.Y.-based SmartFlyer Travel Advisor

Borgo San Felice: Siena

Guests can take an authentic Italian cooking class, wander rows of cypress and olive trees or tour vineyards. — Maria Paradisis

Set in the hills of Chianti, Borgo San Felice is an idyllic ‘home away from home’ for anyone who dreams of life in the Tuscan countryside.  Dating back to its founding in the 8th century, the property has hardly changed since. In 2010, it was restored and transformed into a 5-star hotel as a part of the Relais & Châteaux hotel group, so you know the food will be excellent. Hotel Borgo San Felice offers luxury accommodations that include 33 guest rooms and 20 suites scattered throughout the buildings of the historic village.

“The property is made up of an entire medieval hamlet including its old chapel, large pool, cellars and its vineyard surrounding it. Guests of this ancient stone village can take an authentic Italian cooking class, wander rows of cypress and olive trees or tour vineyards to sample the region’s renowned wine offering.”

Maria Paradisis, Sydney-based SmartFlyer Travel Advisor

Portrait Firenze: Florence

The Portrait Firenze staff welcomes you as if it’s their home. — Cydney Lembersky

Portrait Firenze, owned by the Ferragamo family, provides a fashionable and luxurious space while overlooking the iconic Ponte Vecchio on the Arno. A perfect mix of classic and contemporary, Portrait Firenze offers a distinguished and unique style to guests. Views of the river, city rooftops and Florentine countryside provide guests the perfect backdrop for an Italian vacation.

Portrait Firenze: Prestige Suite River View

“The mood here is sexy with no traditional check-in and no traditional concierge. The Portrait Firenze staff welcomes you as if it’s their home. Plus, with 80% of rooms facing the river, guests are able to see the Arno and old-world Ponte Vecchio while being surrounded by warm-yet-modern interiors.”

Cydney Lembersky, N.Y.-based SmartFlyer Travel Advisor

Ready to begin planning your Italy trip? Contact your SmartFlyer travel advisor to begin your journey to la dolce vita.

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