This is a great 4 star hotel that looks like a 5 star place. It's a grand historic building walking distance from all the sights of Palermo. The main public space is an open air courtyard with a fountain in the center. The courtyard is air-conditioned (even when it is open air) and it's covered by a retractable roof if it rains. The rooms are very modern and comfortable and the bathrooms are large. The staff is great. The dining room is large and grand but usually empty. The bars are small and not terribly interesting but everyone drinks and hangs out in the courtyard anyway.
As mentioned in other reviews here, the place feels empty even when it is fully booked (who cares?). All I can say is that if you want to be completely comfortable in a hotel with modern rooms and large modern bathrooms and be in the center of it all in a historic building with an atmospheric never too hot courtyard to hang out in, this is the place. The price, at least when we went was incredibly reasonable for the combination of location, comfort, and atmosphere in the public areas.
We read some complaints about the staff on this site. We had the opposite experience. When our taxi driver from the airport tried to rip us off (it's 40 Euro fixed fare including tip from the airport) they argued with him and eventually they got him fired. The manager was so embarrassed by the whole thing he comped us a bottle of wine at the bar.
Try and keep in mind, it's a 4 star place. The reception speaks English and will try to help and they were helpful in giving us directions to the sights and in finding shops for a few things we needed. Much of the staff outside reception and the bars don't speak English but we did not find this to be a problem at all. If the person you are speaking to doesn't understand English and you can't make yourself understood, someone else nearby will speak English.
Also you should know that internet is free. In the courtyard it is by WiFi. In the rooms it is by Ethernet cable. They have short cables at the front desk. The password changes every day so you have to start your day by getting a new password. The Ethernet ports in the rooms are not always by the work desk which may result in having to move furniture around so that you can put your laptop on a coffee table near enough to the Ethernet jack to use their short cable. The speed of the Ethernet is not high speed. It is fine for sending emails without large attachments, a bit slow but perfectly usable for surfing the web, and will usually support a Skype conversation but sometimes the clarity on Skype is such that it isn't really usable at that time. Usually Skype was usable although sometimes during long calls we had to hang up and redial to get a clear line when the sound broke down and there was one time when I just called on the mobile as the other party couldn't hear me.
One small word of advice, the Espresso is good. The Coffee Americano tastes like instant. Order a double Espresso and a pot of hot water and mix to taste and you will have a wonderful Coffee Americano.
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- Also Known As:
- Grand Hotel Piazza Borsa Palermo, Sicily