A stylish boutique hotel set in an 18th-century townhouse in central Palermo, with charming rooms, outstanding service and great prices”
Palermo is shaking the dust off its recent past and this is clearly embodied in the optimistic energy of the city. It has the history and grandeur to match any other in Europe, but there’s something a little different in the air. Pop-up bars and galleries breathe life into crumbling palazzi, and a hodgepodge of influence from all over the Med creates a surprisingly offbeat atmosphere on the street. It all feels like a work in progress, and the staff's positive energy about this fabled city is infectious.
- Location! You can roll out of the door straight into the historic sights but are peacefully tucked away off the main thoroughfare
- Great value: Rooms have smart and stylish décor; some have chandeliers and frescoed ceilings echoing its illustrious past
- Genuine effort goes into lavish breakfasts (extra kudos for the local produce)
- You're near Palermo’s 3 best markets: The souk-inspired Capo market, the huge Ballaro market (where you’ll hear the famous abbanniate (vendors’ cries), and the vibrant Vucciria food market
- The staff were exceptionally helpful and are a wealth of local information, helping you to get under the skin of the city
- Lacks communal space or a roof terrace to relax on summer evenings
- The décor is polished and smart, though lacks a little bit of colour
- The Classic rooms are a bit small, but the balcony lets in plenty of natural light
- While children of all ages are welcome, it’s probably best suited to couples
- No lift
Best time to go
Our top tips
- Boutique Hotel
- 11 rooms
- Breakfast + light meals (restaurants nearby)
- Allowed but not ideal
- Open all year
- Spa Treatments
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Beach Nearby
- Off-street Parking
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
Most of the rooms are spread over two floors in the main building. White walls and muted greys run throughout, with refurbished antique furniture adding character - some have extravagant carved headboards, others frescoed ceilings. You get all your mod cons, like flatscreens and Nespresso machines. We loved the gift of local frutta di Martorana, presented under a cloche, giving a whimsical feel.
Our Classic room was cosy and stylish, but it’s worth paying extra for a Deluxe room for extra space and natural light. For something really special, go for the larger Grand Deluxe, which is bathed in light, with a chandelier and two balconies overlooking Corso Vittorio Emanuele. Luigi Natoli wrote his famous novel I beati Paol from this very room. The Superior Apartment is a little plainer in style but ideal for families (it has a sofabed for kids), with lots of space and a fully equipped kitchen.
There are two further rooms, located in the building next door. These are more spacious, each with a dining table where you eat breakfast (brought to your room) each morning. The Comfort Room has its bed on a mezzanine and sleeps 2; the Family Room is enormous (100m2) and comes with a sofabed for kids. Both rooms have characterful stone features and antique furniture.
- Safe box
Breakfast is served at onsite Caffe Natoli (or in-room if staying in Comfort or Family Rooms). Dine alfresco on the street in summer. It’s a treasure trove of flamboyant Sicilian style and produce – glass shelves lined with bright local porcelain provide a pretty backdrop to a buffet heaving with local organic produce. Beautifully displayed organic jams, local cheese and salamis, pastries and homemade cakes tempt you to overindulge.
Headed by chef Marco Piraino, the cafe also offers lunches and dinners with an emphasis on the 'slow food' ethos of traditional cooking with local-sourced produce. A selection of local wines and Sicilian craft beers accompany regional dishes, along with local cold cuts and cheeses.
There are also enough eating options within a 5-minute walk to last a week. Staff will point you in the direction of their favourite patisseries, Arancini stalls or hidden bistros. Palermo covers all budgets with aplomb and this is a great city to eat out in. We strolled to nearby Bisso Bistrot for traditional dishes in a funky old bookshop at bafflingly low prices. The fresh pasta with fried aubergine was delicious, but one word of warning – come hungry: These are nonna portions (large dishes an Italian grandmother would serve!)
- Coffee / tea making
- Restaurants nearby
- Room service
- Stroll around Palermo - a fascinating city of crumbling palazzi, glittering yachts, Baroque churches and flagged alleys worn smooth by the centuries. It was once a flagship of Arab culture, then the seat of Norman kings; today it’s a melting pot where you can dine on everything from pasta to couscous, and admire stunning architecture in varying states of repair
- Visit the Norman Palace, now the seat of the Sicilian Regional Assembly. Wander through its arcaded courtyard and stately rooms, and admire the Palatine Chapel, whose Arabian carved ceiling and bejewelled arches will take your breath away
- Browse Sicilian art at the Palazzo Abatellis art gallery, or view the classical marbles at the archaeological museum
- The Vucciria, Ballarò and del Capo street markets are a must, as much for the people-watching and atmosphere as for the chance to buy exotic fruit and veg
- Escape to the long, sandy beach at Mondello for a swim
Activities on site or nearby include:
- Historical sites
- Museums / galleries
- Shopping / markets
There are no facilities for kids as such, but there are baby cots and sofabeds. Truth be told, it's very hushed and more of an adult place.
Family friendly accommodation:
The Family Room, one of the Deluxe rooms and the Superior Apartment all have a sofabed for 1-2 extra guests. The Superior Apartment has a full kitchen, too.
Palazzo Natoli Boutique Hotel is located in the very heart of old Palermo, overlooking the main pedestrianised thoroughfare of Corso Vittorio Emanuele. Most of the main sights are within walking distance, so footwear will be your best transportation.
Palermo (34km away) is the nearest airport but if you're touring the whole of Sicily, you might fly into Catania (210km away) or Comiso (232km away).
You can take a taxi from Palermo airport or, if you're feeling energetic, hop on public transport. The airport bus runs every half an hour or so and takes 40 minutes; it drops you off around a 7-minute walk from the hotel.
If arriving by car, try to get a city map (and a good navigator!) in advance. Finding your way around the centre is tricky. There is no parking at the hotel but staff will meet you and take you to a nearby private carpark (extra cost). If you want to hire a car, see our car rental recommendations.
Detailed directions will be sent when you book through i-escape.
More on getting to Sicily and getting around
- Palermo Falcone-Borsellino 34.0 km PMO
- Catania Fontanarossa 210.0 km CTA
- Beach 15.0 km
- Shops 0.5 km
- Restaurant 0.1 km