Grand Hotel Villa Igiea Palermo MGallery by Sofitel
What We Love
- Stunning Art Nouveau decor throughout
- Two restaurants offering Sicilian specialties and gourmet tasting menus
- Sweeping views of the Bay of Palermo
- In-room spa treatments are available
What To Know
- Free parking and WiFi
- Free shuttle bus to/from Palermo city center
- The swimming pool is typically open between May and October
- Free WiFi
- Handicap Accessible
- Parking On Site
- Room Service
Overlooking the Bay of Palermo, the Grand Hotel Villa Igiea MGallery is one of the finest examples of Sicilian Art Nouveau architecture on the island. The villa was restored by modernist architect (and Palermo native) Ernesto Basile in the early 1900s, and its Old World charm is alive and well today. In the elegant guestrooms you’ll find lofty ceilings, floral walls and fabrics, gold framed prints and dark furnishings. Each is individually designed, and some offer views of the Tyrrhenian Sea or the Pellegrino mountains. Spend lazy days lounging by the outdoor pool or strolling through the extensive palm tree–studded grounds. In the evening sip a prosecco on the terrace overlooking the harbor before dining on Sicilian specialties at the Donna Franca Florio restaurant or sampling the gourmet tasting menu at Cuvée du Jour, a fancy fine dining room strung with chandeliers.
In the Area
Palermo’s 12th-century cathedral is a striking example of the Arab-Norman architectural style unique to Sicily. For an art fix, see works by Sicilian painters at the Galleria Regionale della Sicilia, housed in a 15th-century palazzo, or, for contemporary works, head to the Galleria d’Arte Moderna. See a performance at Teatro Massimo, a neoclassical opera house that was featured in the last scene of The Godfather III. The Mercato di Ballaro is the city’s busiest street market, a great place to stock up on Sicilian produce and vintage clothes.
How to Get There
This hotel is about to close for renovations. Why our tour company “Essence of Sicily” booked us in to this run-down place (which still charges high rates) is beyond my understanding. It is far from reassuring to know that you are staying at a place that is so dilapidated that it is about to be closed for a complete overhaul. Our room was terrible. The carpet was dirty, there was no safety bath mat (shower not freestanding but in the bath) and only one chair in the room What was to have been a sea view turned out to be a glimpse of water if you stood close to the window. We found the staff particularly rude. For example, at breakfast we took a seat at a table and were rudely shooed away by a waiter saying that this table was reserved. There was no reservation sign on the table. There were stray cats everywhere around the breakfast area. We ate there one night and they provided a different wine from that which we ordered. We checked what the cost of this new wine would be and while they assured us that it would be the same as the one we ordered originally they charged us more and we had to argue it out. This hotel is quite isolated from the city.
We chose the hotel based on its 5 star rating and the Sofitel recommendation; however, we had one of the worst experiences in our many years of international travel. Besides beautiful waterside views, the hotel is extremely weathered and poorly maintained. The room was dirty, full of ants (we lifted package with 100's of ants crawling below it), broken door handles, broken hairdryer, broken safe, ripped rugs, stale/rancid smell, and very uncomfortable beds. The worst part about our 1 star experience was that the hotel still had a 5 star price.
We stayed at Villa Igiea for the first two nights of a two-week Sicilian vacation. We chose the hotel because we prefer an old-world feel and because we wanted a location away from the city center that provided a swimming pool.
Our stay was very nice, and even better than I had expected.
All the people we encountered were friendly and helpful, especially those at the concierge desk.
The location was beautiful, with a stunning pool and very nice gardens on the harbor.
Others have recently noted that the hotel is shabby. While it is clear that some of the spaces are in need of updating, that was not the case of our room.
Our deluxe sea-view room with a private balcony was clean, well-appointed and had magnificent views. The bed was very comfortable. All appliances, AC, and wifi worked well.
While the style of the rooms is not going to be everyone's cup of tea, for us, it was exactly what we had expected. Those who prefer a more modern feel should not come here.
The food, especially breakfast, was quite good. My wife loved the opportunity to fill her own breakfast canolo! Dinner on the patio looking out at the harbor was quite good, although not gourmet.
We were happy we were not in the city center. Use of the free shuttle to the center was easy and convenient. The pool provided a welcome cool down at the end of a warm day.
I would encourage others who enjoy the elegance of an old-world hotel, even if it is a bit past prime, to consider staying here. Should we return to Palermo, we would happily stay here again.
It will be interesting to see how the Rocco Forte group, the new owner, changes the hotel in the future.