May 28, 2004
Hotel Orientale is five minutes on foot from the Central railway station. It is inside an old historical building: Palazzo: Filangieri Principe di Cuto. Filangieri’s bust can be seen in the vaulted entry to the hotel. The palazzio dates back to the early 18th century.
The entrance is through an impressive porch on to an inner courtyard. If you have come by car there is enough parking place here. At night the big entrance doors are closed.
At the far end of this courtyard a marble staircase leads to the hotel which is on the first floor. We were warmly welcomed by a lady who spoke good English.
Our room, no 7, was very much to our liking. To begin with it is huge: 5 x 8 metres and 4 metres high. It is more a ballroom than a bedroom. It is on the front and overlooks Via Maqueda. It is built over an archway through which traffic can reach the market streets behind the hotel.
There is a balcony all along our room. The furniture is style 1950s. There is a double bed, with azure blue cover, two bedside tables with blue and white marble tops. Two bedside lamps, their lampshades in the shape of flowers. There are two dressing tables matching the bedside tables in style,
In the middle of the room there is a mahogany dining table and three chairs. Opposite the double bed a wardrobe and next to it a single bed. And still there is enough place to walk about.
There are huge french windows with solid half-blinds and outside louvre doors to shut out light and noise. In front of it a buff coloured floor to ceiling curtain. There is air-conditioning but we did not need this in early May.
Above the bed there is a painting of sailing ships moored in harbour. The blue sky matches harmoniously with the blue bed cover.
There is a well-equipped but small bathroom. Soap, shower/shampoo sachets and shower caps are provided. Two soft normal-sized and two small-sized bath towels.
Next to our room is the lounge equally large, a good place to sit and watch TV. There is no TV in the rooms. Best part of the lounge is the original hand painted ceiling.
This is the perfect hotel at a perfect price €60.
There is internet access in the lobby next to the reception desk, but it is too slow. We went to Aetna International at Via Maqueda 353, just down the road.
From journal Traveller in Palermo