In Palermo, a grand hotel, protagonist of the most intense chapters of Sicilian history, which today has returned to shine thanks to a restoration that has brought its fabulous halls and decorations in Liberty style back to their original splendor, enriching them at the same time with modern comforts and of a rooftop with panoramic bar & restaurant.
The Grand Hotel et Des Palmes “is” the history of Sicily. Built around 1856 as the home of the English Ingham-Whitaker family, who became famous for the trade in fabrics and Marsala wine, it was purchased in 1874 by the entrepreneur Enrico Ragusa who commissioned one of the most famous architects of the time, Ernesto Basile, to transform it into a luxury hotel.
The Grand Hotel, which took its name from the 2 imperial palms that still frame its entrance today, was inaugurated in 1877, thus starting the chapters of a wonderful novel that, according to the great writer Leonardo Sascia, tells us the true history of Sicily of the last 200 years.
The history of this hotel should be written as a chapter of splendor and misery of Sicily from the Savoy to the Republic.(Leonardo Sascia)
It is here that, in 1881, Richard Wagner stayed for almost a year with his wife Cosima Liszt, finding inspiration for the completion of Parsifal. The famous composer slept in what was originally the master bedroom of the Ingham spouses, which has now become the splendid Wagner Presidential Suite where the nineteenth-century decorations and the piano that Wagner received as a gift from his father-in-law Franz Liszt are still perfectly preserved.
It is also here that in 1893 Francesco Crispi, President of the Council of Ministers, led the interventions against the “Fasci Siciliani”, that in 1933 the French writer Raymond Roussel was found lifeless, a mystery that also tickled the pen of Leonardo Sascia, or that in 1943 Charles Poletti and General George Smith Patton decided the fate of the world, when the hotel was requisitioned as the headquarters of the US forces, or that in 1957 one of the historic meetings was held between the Sicilian Cosa Nostra and the American mafia, headed by Lucky Luciano…And the list would be truly endless.
The year 2021 marks the beginning of a new, dazzling chapter for the Grand Hotel et Des Palmes. In fact, a long renovation has allowed the 5-star luxury hotel to bring back to light all its splendid original decorations such as the frescoes by Salvatore Gregorietti in the foyer, the polychrome stained glass windows in Liberty style, the bas-reliefs and the many wooden decorations painted in gold and in the iconic Green Ragusa.
Above all, it was philologically reconstructed, on the basis of the photographs of the time, what on the idea of the designer Basile had been conceived as the beating heart of Palermo in the Belle Epoque: the marvelous winter garden which today, together with the Ballroom, is part of the rooms dedicated to the Neobistrot Restaurant & Sensus Mixology Bar.
Splendid spaces open to everyone all day long, with a summer outdoor area overlooking via Wagner, that offer the perfect solution for a 5-star break from breakfast to dinner.
Furthermore, the renovation has donated 2 new spaces to the Hotel: the 5th-floor terrace which houses the Ouverture Terrace restaurant and cocktail bar, with a panoramic view over the roofs of the city, also open to non-guests of the structure, and on the 6th floor a large 160m2 gym. Moreover, a new spa area of 500mq will soon be inaugurated.
The Grand Hotel offers 100 rooms and suites which, while maintaining some of the original Art Nouveau furnishings, have been completely renovated in the name of a refined contemporary design with all kinds of ultra-comfortable services and modern marble bathrooms.
Breakfast, served in the Ballroom, among stuccos and mirrors, immerses you in the fabulous atmosphere of the Roaring Twenties, ready to be pampered by the lovely personnel and by the delights of the best Sicilian pastry.
The history of the Grand Hotel et Des Palmes is so important that its spaces are often the protagonists of guided tours by associations such as FAI and art and architecture historians, waiting for the chapters of its novel to be enriched soon of new, exciting successes and anecdotes.
Initially, Palazzo Ingham consisted of a low two-story building with an exotic garden that reached the sea. The building was connected by a secret tunnel to the opposite Anglican Church, still operating today, built at the behest of the Ingham-Whitaker family to give the community a temple in which to celebrate worship according to the Anglican rite.
Grand Hotel et Des Palmes
Via Roma 398
Tel. +39 091 8048800
Rooms: from 300 euro, rate subject to availability and promotions