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Locanda Scirocco, Castellammare del Golfo: Review

Locanda Scirocco offers decent budget two-star accommodation in the town centre of Castellammare del Golfo, a picturesque fishing harbour on the north coast of Sicily. I stayed at the B&B in June 2010, booking online and paying €48 for a double room (single use).

About the Locanda Scirocco

The Locanda Scirocco is a two-star hotel, perhaps a bit more like a B&B, in a cluster of historic buildings on the main street of Castellammare del Golfo, in the upper town. It's a practical and cheap place to stay.

My stay at the hotel

The hotel is announced by a carpet on the pavement and a smart nameplate alongside the imposing gateway entrance. This opens into a little courtyard lined with plants; the reception area is in a room off the back of the courtyard. The building's set up gives visitors an idea of what life is like in these traditional old town buildings in Sicily. I found a friendly welcome from a receptionist, who gave me a welcoming tourist brochure and showed me up to my room, which seemed to involve an endless flight of stairs. She kindly stepped in to help with my suitcase when I began to struggle.

Bedroom

I was given my own key to an external door, just inside the Locanda's gateway, which led directly up to the bedrooms. My bedroom was one of two on the top floor of the building, up three interminable flights of steps, narrow and awkward with a suitcase; however staff helped with my case both on arrival and departure. My lockable doorway opened onto a small private hallway with a suitcase stand and a small high window which had no curtain or blind. The bathroom was through a doorway in one direction and my bedroom in the other.

The Locanda was a budget accommodation choice, and after the comfortable up-to-date hotel I'd stayed in the previous night, it did feel it. There was nothing really wrong with my room or facilities, but the furniture and decoration were rather tired. They were clean and acceptable, though, and I had plenty of space. The room had a double bed (made of two singles), a mini-bar with snacks and wine for sale, a chair, a wardrobe with plenty of hangers, bedside tables and lights, and a TV with Sky and international news channels. There was a mirror inside the wardrobe door. I didn't have a desk or table to work at, and this wasn't the kind of room to spend a lot of time in; still, Castellammare is a good place for wandering and sitting in waterfront cafes. There were mosquito grilles outside the windows, allowing them to be opened, though I had no view except for the walls of another building. My room had effective air conditioning, and in general it was quiet, though there was an outburst of loud chatter from nearby dwellings in the evening, and I was woken once by a mysterious loud noise.

The bathroom was spacious with a window and attractive wooden ceiling, but otherwise fairly dated, like the bedroom. The shower was a big disappointment as it lacked pressure. Otherwise the bathroom was fine, with quite good white towels, hooks and hanging space, a hair dryer, bidet and shower gel sachets.

Breakfast

Breakfast was where the Locanda Scirocco really excelled. Cheap hotels in Italy don't often offer much more than a croissant and hot drink, but the Scirocco had laid out a small but wide-ranging buffet to suit all tastes. The food included bread rolls, steaming hot croissants delivered while I was eating, meat and cheese, tomato and mozzarella, olives and other savoury dishes, cereal, yoghurts, fruit juice and fresh fruit including peaches and chopped strawberries. The hot water provided for DIY tea wasn't really hot enough, but the staff were anxious to please and would doubtless have provided more. I was impressed by the breakfast, which was served in a bright little room next to reception.

Service, staff and public spaces

There seemed to be a member of staff available all the time I was there. They were professional and helpful, looking up train and bus times for me, printing them out and giving me directions. The hotel is run in conjunction with a travel agency business and a gastronomic wine bar, and on arrival I was given a special welcoming booklet they produced, in English and Italian, with a map and information about the area, places to visit, special events, and possible excursions they could organise. The Locanda didn't seem to have public spaces, apart from the breakfast room.

Location

The Locanda Scirocco is in a fairly convenient place for visiting Castellammare. It's on the main street, Corso Garibaldi, which runs down a long slope towards the castle promontory. Around the corner is the pleasant town park. There's a street which zig-zags down to the harbour, and various pedestrian routes down, via alleys and stairways, start near to the hotel. However, up in this central part of town you don't get much sense of the sea's proximity, and the Locanda doesn't have sea views. On a hot day, climbing back up the slope from the waterfront to the hotel was sweaty and tiring - and that was before I started on the long stairs up to my room. For public transport, this location is better than a harbour hotel, however. The bus station (with connections to the railway station) is about ten minute's walk away - uphill but with no steep gradient to climb.

Recommendation

The Locanda Scirocco was definitely a budget option compared with the comfort of the waterfront Hotel Cala Marina where I'd stayed the previous night, and it would most suit realistic travellers wanting to conserve money. The Locanda was decent and clean, and staff were helpful. Breakfast was excellent and the location is unromantic but practical enough.




Highlights

Choosing a hotel in Italy

Castellammare del Golfo

Hotel Cala Marina, Castellammare - 3-star hotel by the harbour


If you like Castellammare del Golfo, you may like

Scilla, Calabria

Cefalů, Sicily


Useful external links

Castellammare del Golfo hotels & B&Bs

Italy car hire





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