Once avoided by travellers because of tales of trouble and violence, Belfast has risen above previous woes and pulled off an incredible transformation. The city is now a hub of hip hotels and lively nightlife spots. The old shipyards have been transformed to luxury apartments whilst new venues pop up across the city. Victorian architecture has been renovated, and the waterfront is now an area bursting with modern art, a burgeoning foodie scene and vibrant, music-filled bars and pubs. Those looking for a jolly time would do well to explore the Northern Irish capital. Looking for luxury accommodation for your visit? The Luxury Editor discovers the best of Belfast…
Ten Square Hotel
Ten Square Hotel is a contemporary and uber-cool hotel located behind City Hall. The place is just walking distance away from the major attractions. Before becoming one of Belfast’s finest hotels, the place was a linen warehouse. In fact, you would see the original staircases, the weathered sandstone exterior, and other details from 1890 kept intact.
The rooms are adequately large and come with all the comfort and modern amenities you would expect. If you’d like to upgrade, there are a couple of junior suites with multiple queen-size beds and an additional large hot tub. As far as food is concerned, the hotel has its own steakhouse bar and restaurant, which also provides free evening entertainment.
The Merchant Hotel
The Merchant Hotel is Belfast’s luxury hotel from the 1860s. The hotel is located right in the centre of Belfast, and is stylish and grand. It also has a spa in the basement, and a gym on the roof with weights, cardio equipment, steam room, sauna, and an outdoor hot tub. The Victorian themed rooms comprise king-sized beds, fern green sofas, ivory leather armchairs chrome and black furniture.
The hotel presents multiple options for drinks and dining. There is Bert’s Bar, which would remind you of the New York bars from the 1920s, with its intimate lighting, red leather banquettes, and bistro-style French food. The highlight, however, is The Great Room’s traditional afternoon tea and the seven-course dinner featuring classic French dishes.
Grand Central Hotel Belfast
The Grand Central Hotel is one of Belfast’s biggest and tallest hotels. It offers excellent food, and truly breathtaking views from the rooms in the upper floor and the Observatory bar located in the 23rd floor. The Grand Central was an office building before, which you can make out from the grey exterior slab and brown base.
A relatively newer space compared to other hotels on this list, The Grand Central offers good size standard rooms. The bathrooms are spacious and elegant, with sufficient shelf space and rainfall showers. The Grand Café in the ground floor serves bistro-style nosh from 6 to 11.30am. Pretty much every floor has some restaurant or the other. The wine list is modest with zero tasting notes. However, breakfast is a sumptuous buffet that features bread, muesli, cheese, pastries, preserves and ham.
Titanic Hotel Belfast
Titanic Hotel Belfast is housed in the regenerated shipyards of the city, now called the Titanic Quarter. The purpose-made building is a visitor attraction by itself. The building has been shaped to look like four ships’ prows. The Drawing Offices, which are located at the hotel’s centre, are strikingly beautiful and draw maximum natural light, which only add to their magnificence.
The presentation room, vast oil paintings, and an impressive lounge/bar are some of the several highlights. Not to mention, the lounge/bar is extremely busy during the day, particularly at lunchtime. For breakfast, you’ve got a buffet comprising cold meat, cheeses, and cereals. However, the food at the Wolff Grill’s truly stands out, especially the duck and beef dishes.
Europa Hotel is notorious for the bombings it has had to endure from the 1970s and until the mid-1990s. Despite all that, the hotel has risen from the ashes almost every time and shows no signs of its troubled past. The hotel is cosy and spacious and has this understated grandeur to it. In fact, the first thing you notice when you visit the hotel is the grand entrance.
The hotel packs in pretty much every amenity you’d expect from a luxury hotel, except for a gym/spa. However, with the city right at the doorstep, you’ll truly not miss those facilities. The Causerie bistro food is consistently good. The wine list is not massive, but reasonably priced and well-chosen. Needless to say, the rooms are typical luxury hotel rooms.