We decided to take our first-ever trip to Italy and began planning in 2010. The trip took place in October, 2011. We reached out to our wonderful and well-traveled Vineyard neighbor, who delights in offering travel suggestions. We told him our thoughts about destinations and price points for accommodations, he came back with a variety of specific thoughts on hotels, restaurants, where to go, what to see, the name of a specific guide to use in Rome, but we MUST stay at J.K. Place in Florence.
He mailed us a long magazine article about the finest places in Italy. It included this blurb:
We read about the boutique hotel, which at the time only had one other location, in Capri, and we eagerly signed up.
They were a delight to deal with exclusively over email, totally professional. They arranged our guide for the desired times, arranged for a rental car to be delivered to the front of the hotel upon our departure, as we continued our trip driving through Tuscany. We arrived from Venice by train and the train station is walking distance to the hotel.
Upon arrival, and each day when we returned from our tours, we were greeted warmly, but professionally by the hotel staff with an offer of Prosecco or cappuccino, according to our wishes. There was a fresh fruit bowl in our gorgeous room (a copy the European edition of “Architectural Digest” showed photos of the award-winning renovations of this little gem of a hotel).
Here is their customer service statement on their website:
And they took this seriously (they have since broken away from the other J.K. Place hotels, now also in Rome and Paris, and are known simple as “The Place, Florence”, but a friend stayed there recently and assures us they are still fantastic). The concierge was happy to recommend, then make restaurant reservations for us each evening, all fabulous places. We had excellent breakfasts each morning. Nothing was lacking here.
They hired our guide, who was knowledgeable, spoke excellent English, had pre-bought our tickets to all the places we wished to see. We enjoyed her company very much (above, we are just outside the Boboli Gardens). In fact, we continued to correspond via email for a number of years, sharing stories of our families. She loved my reaction to seeing “The David”, since I had studied Renaissance art history in college. I found it incredibly moving.
On the other hand:
We have subscribed to the Boston Globe for years and years. As I wrote in an earlier story, I still enjoy the form-factor of the print edition, though when I must, I will read it online. I know the world is moving away from paper and I do read several other papers online only, but the Globe is doing their best to push us in that direction too. They are hard to love these days, despite that “Serving our community for 150 years” subheading.
We move our subscription between our summer and winter residences (both in Massachusetts) and have done so for 25 years. The cost of the subscription goes up quite a lot when we are on Martha’s Vineyard, as it is an island and everything must come in on a ferry (unless you are a migrant seeking asylum and Ron DeSantis charters a private plane with tax-payer money for you). Through the years, I call to tell about the change of address. It routinely takes me a LONG time to talk to a human to do this change of address. They somehow think that all transactions can be done via telephone prompts. That works if I am suspending the paper for a few days for a vacation (and they no longer give us credit for these, we pay for everything), but not when I want to give delivery instructions.
Our Newton house is on a corner lot. I want the paper delivered to the kitchen door (up the driveway, where it is under a covered area and I don’t have to get wet to retrieve it), but that is NOT our actual address, so I have to stress this. The first few days that I am home, it is usually tossed up on the front walk (where I don’t tend to look) and I have to walk out in inclement weather, down a few steps and try and find it. I am in my bathrobe and slippers. So I call again and again until the delivery person (hopefully) gets it correct.
On Martha’s Vineyard, we have a driveway on either side of our house, but just one front door and my instructions are quite simple. Put it in front of the door.
It is usually thrown on the first driveway, half-way under my car, so now I am walking out on a very public street in my bathrobe, looking for my paper. The first several days, it did not come at all. Eventually, for some reason this year, it wound up at my BACK door (the delivery person had to park, open a gate and walk onto my property to place it there.
It took me quite a while to figure this out, but I sort of like this, as then I’m not concerned that some stranger will pick it up and I don’t have to open the front door in my bathrobe. It also does NOT arrive early. I’m lucky if it is here by 8am. But it does seem to get here, so that’s something. Can’t wait to see what happens when I return to Newton in October. The games begin!
I have a friend who lives north of the city who looked for his paper for some time, only to find out that it was no longer being delivered to that area! He was never told that and they kept charging for home delivery. With the price of gas so high, they couldn’t find drivers. He was furious and, after decades of reading the Globe, he canceled his subscription. He finally relented and now reads it online; not nearly as satisfying, but that’s his only option.
This is lousy service, poor communication, little regard for the customer. I understand the economics of print and delivery are changing, but the customer still deserves better.
Retired from software sales long ago, two grown children. Theater major in college. Singer still, arts lover, involved in art museums locally (Greater Boston area). Originally from Detroit area.