Brimming with history, the Northern Irish capital’s finest hotels offer seductive elegance, impeccable service, iconic views and delicious culinary fare. Stay in the legendary Titanic Quarter with its vibrant bar and restaurant scene, close to the Botanic Gardens, in the up and coming Linen Quarter, or in the city’s creative and cultural centre, the Cathedral Quarter. Recharge with a spa break, sleep in rooms once frequented by musical legends and drink in Ireland’s highest bar, when you stay at one of these beautiful establishments.
Culloden Estate And Spa
Originally intended as an abode for the Bishops of Down, this 19th-century estate is found on the outskirts of Belfast. The historic grandeur of the building is contrasted with a modern extension, in the form of the ESPA spa with steam room and hammam. 98 spacious bedrooms provide plenty of room for king-sized beds, desks and bathrooms with rainfall showers. It’s not unusual to find a pianist or harpist playing in the bar or accompanying a meal. And in addition to the top-notch cuisine in the main restaurant, there’s a cosy inn within the grounds, for a beer and bite beside a roaring fire.
The Merchant Hotel
Take a five-star, opulent break in Belfast’s buzzing Cathedral Quarter. The Merchant Hotel is housed in a palatial Victorian Grade A listed building (once Ulster Bank HQ), with a glamorous Art Deco wing. Admire the skyline as you unwind in the modern rooftop jacuzzi or work up a sweat in the gym with a view. There’s an abundance of eateries on the doorstep, but inside guests can dine in splendour at The Great Room Restaurant, drink in the award-winning Cocktail Bar or the Cloth Ear. The Merchant is also home to the only live jazz bar in the city and an exclusive fashion boutique.
Grand Central Hotel Belfast
The three hundred rooms of the Grand Central Hotel proffer views over the Lagan Valley and the Mournes beyond. Found in the trendy Linen Quarter, the Hastings Group hotel is ideally placed for the city’s attractions and transport links. Founded in 1893, it became the social hub of Belfast, with guests including Winston Churchill, King Leopold of Belgium, Billy Graham, Al Jolson, Mario Lanza, The Beatles and The Rolling Stones having graced its luxurious suites. The Grand Central’s Seahorse Restaurant and 23rd-floor Observatory bar (Ireland’s tallest cocktail lounge) are destinations in their own right, loved by locals as well as visitors.
Titanic Hotel Belfast
Relive the Golden Age of Travel, with a stay at this art deco, nautically-themed hotel just across from the Titanic Experience. It may be a new venue, having opened its doors in 2017, but the building has a long history. This was once the headquarters of Harland & Wolff (the maritime engineers responsible for most of the White Star ocean liners), a heritage reflected in the hotel restaurant’s title. Indeed, the waterfront’s history is woven throughout – lookout for details like the stunning Titanic model in the Harland Bar. The venue received three gongs at this year’s Irish Hotel Awards and was named Northern Ireland’s Leading Hotel in 2020’s World Travel Awards.
This landmark hotel has regularly played host to celebrities, VIPs and top-drawer events since its inception in 1971. Built on the site of the Great Northern Railway Station, it now accommodates an elegant piano lounge, a modern bistro (the Causerie Restaurant), extensive meeting facilities and 272 bedrooms – including family-friendly interlinking bedrooms. Guests can book the Clinton Suite, named after the political power couple who stayed in November 1995. And at 51-metres in height, it provides far-reaching vistas from the upper floors. Like the Titanic Hotel, it’s part of the illustrious Hastings Group and often used by film crews visiting the city – two series of a BBC documentary series, Lobby Lives, were shot here.