The Centrale Palace is a pretty good, attractive, professionally run four star hotel. Nice rooms, good breakfast, decent, if slightly expensive, restaurants, good bar and public spaces. The staff are professional and helpful but it would be a stretch to call them friendly. In fact they are cool and aloof to a point and it wouldn't hurt for them to realise that being slightly more human and accessible doesn't compromise your professionalism and indeed enhances it. That probably applies to most four stars though for some reason I noticed it more at the CPH.
I was there as Tour Manager for a small group of eight and the staff treated us with something that felt like slightly suspicious respect although that could have been influenced by my role. That changed ever so slightly, by a few degrees, after a couple of days when the place was descended upon by West Ham supporters, there to get thrashed by Palermo FC the next night, who proceeded to treat the place like their local bar. Compared to them we must have seemed like nice people.
The hotel is well situated, although the road can get very busy, and is within easy reach of most tourist attractions and pretty good for local transport. The area feels quite dead at night, like most of Palermo, but there are decent restaurants within easy walking distance.
The Centrale Palace obviously caters for upmarketish tour groups, there was one with 30 people in it when we were there, but doesn't feel like a groups hotel (even with about 30 West Ham supporters in it as well) and although it's a bit pricey it's a good hotel and, assuming I was feeling flush, I would stay there as an independent traveller.
Directions: Central area just above the Quattro Canti which is a main, and at times very busy, crossroads in Palermo. Walking distance from the railway station.
I had booked and paid for the hotel in advance in order to take advantage of a good offer. The photos on the website looked fanastic and it was advertised as 4 star and very centrally located. It seemed too good to be true.
When we arrived quite late on the first night we were shown to a room on the first or second floor. It was quite large but very tired looking... far from what was shown on the website. The view from the window was over a depressing and dismal alleyway... better to keep the shutters closed. But, the big problem was the airconditioning unit which was making a racket!
Someone cam immediately to take a look... too immediately and the step ladder was too conveniently at hand. This was obviously a pre-existing problem so why did they put us in that room. When we asked to change rooms we were told that all the rooms at that price were full and that the only other rooms available would cost more...
With some insistence in the end we were offered a very charming room on the fourth (top) floor (419). There was a cute little balcony and a terrific view over the roof tops of Palermo and the dome of San Giovanni and Santa Caterina.
On returning to the hotel after several days away in another part of Sicily we were given another lovely room (420).
All told it's a comfortable, well equipped hotel and central, even though most of the restaurants, etc are a bit closer to Piazza Verdi which meant a 15 minute walk each evening (not appealing in the middle of summer after having walked all day in the heat). It may have seen better days. It does look as though it needs a bit of a spruce up but the charm of the old building and antique furniture, etc, is still a winner!
Unique Quality: Great views fromthe terrace and top floor rooms.
Directions: About 50 metres from the '4 Canti'.
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Address: Corso Vittorio Emanuele 327, Palermo, Sicily, 90134, Italy