With lovely people and a chaotic space, Ai Quattro Canti is a Palermo microcosm. We enjoyed our stay in this central, helpful, and cheap hostel despite its extreme filthiness. If saving a few euros and making friends is most important, this hostel is perfect. If you want comfort and leisure, go somewhere else. Just keep in mind that what you save on the accommodation will probably be spent on the hostel's fun "Sangria Night."
The location is fantastic. There's a grocery store right downstairs and famous, open-air food markets nearby. There is a lot of cheap street food around, too. The historical Palermo intersection after which the hostel is named, Quattro Canti, is very close. Therefore, most tourist sights in the city are within walking distance. The train station is quite close as well, an easy, ten-minute walk away that could be unpleasant at night. The hostel itself is hard to find -- just be patient.
Rooms and Bathrooms
Know that Ai Quattro Canti is really dirty, and, although the staff love their jobs and the hostel, they are quite lazy when it comes to upkeep. There are three bathrooms, two of which are in poor condition. There is rarely toilet paper and there's dirt everywhere. The dorms are spacious but a bit uncomfortable and without lockers. There is hostel-wide Wi-Fi.
The whole place is very cozy -- it's a small hostel with perfectly sized common areas (not so big that they're lonely, but not so small that you can't fit). The high staff-to-guest ratio means there's always someone to give a passionate recommendation, good information, or interesting conversation. The staff are very helpful and very interactive -- upon arrival, they give you a rundown of what to do, eat, buy, and where to go with their custom photocopied map of the city. The hostel is stocked with valuable information on day trips including bus and train schedules. If you need one-on-one advice or recommendations for Palermo (or anything relating to southern Italy, for that matter), Ai Quattro Canti is perfect.
Beyond the filth and the great staff, the facilities aren't half bad. The TV is always playing movies or cable, with "Jersey Shore" as a staple. The kitchen is absolutely amazing, one of the highlights of the hostel, and is well-stocked with all the necessary cooking tools and condiments for serious gastronomy. There is also a laundry service at an extra cost, but a free clothesline to use. There is a lovely sunny terrace with a view of beautiful domes and blue sky. But despite advertising itself as a B&B, there isn't usually any breakfast.
If you don't mind the grime but you appreciate cheap, small, fun, and helpful hostels, choose Ai Quattro Canti for your visit to Palermo. (Just be sure to bring your own toilet paper.)
Hostelz.com Staff Reviewer
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