With local events expected to recover first once the Covid-19 crisis is over, our best of Britain series is focused on inspiring event planners with some of the fabulous destinations on their doorstep. This week, we check out five top hotels in the vibrant city of Belfast…
The Grand Central is perfectly located for exploring Titanic Quarter’s history or Cathedral Quarter’s charming cobbled streets, pubs and eateries. The luxury 300-room property, Northern Ireland’s largest hotel, is a credible option for meeting planners. On site space includes two meeting rooms plus the Panorama Lounge for receptions of up to 100 guests. Dining options include the vibrant and contemporary The Grand Café, while Seahorse is the perfect spot for a sumptuous afternoon tea or delicious dining and fine wines. But the jewel in the hotel’s crown is The Observatory – a cocktail lounge that claims to be the highest bar in all of Ireland – combing decadent decor with spectacular views over Belfast and beyond.
With 272 bedrooms and 17 meeting rooms, this property is equipped to host everything from small meetings to large conferences and gala dinners up to 1,200 guests. Part of the Hastings Hotel Collection and sister to the Grand Central, the landmark property has a colourful history as Europe’s most bombed Hotel, and with Bill Clinton among previous guests, its remains the hotel of choice for many celebrities and VIPs who visit Belfast. Dining options range from afternoon tea in the Piano Lounge to relaxed suppers at The Causerie Restaurant.
The Merchant Hotel
From the grandeur of the Great Room Restaurant to the sleek Art Deco events floor, this hotel oozes decadence. The property has 62 rooms including the original 21 Victorian bedrooms, reflecting the original features of the building, 36 Art Deco inspired rooms added as part of a major redevelopment in 2010 and five luxury suites. Event spaces range from a boardroom for up to 16 to the Rita Duffy suite, perfect for conferences, dinners and celebrations for up to 200 people. The landscaped Roof Garden is also available all year for private events, catering for up to 70 guests.
AC Hotel by Marriott Belfast
This four-star property boasts 188 rooms plus an enviable location on Belfast’s waterfront within walking distance from key attractions including Titanic Belfast, City Hall, Belfast Waterfront, SSE Arena and the shops of Victoria. With two meeting rooms accommodating up to 40, an AC Lounge, riverside terrace and all-day dining, the hotel is ideal for both business and leisure travellers and when day turns to night the restaurant “Novelli at City Quays” will excite, as multi-Michelin-starred chef Jean-Christophe Novelli brings his flare to the dining experience.
Titanic Hotel Belfast
This boutique property (right and main image) is set in the former headquarters and spectacular Drawing Offices of Harland & Wolff, builders of Titanic. The hotel features 119 luxury bedrooms with an Art Deco nautical theme and seven heritage rooms for meetings and events, including Drawing Office One, which can accommodate up to 300 guests in a cathedral-like space where many of the world’s greatest ocean liners were designed. Dining options include The Wolff Grill – a refined dining restaurant with views towards the spectacular Titanic Belfast building and historic slipways where Titanic and her sister ships Olympic and Britannic were constructed. The hotel is also home to a permanent collection of over 500 artworks, artefacts, travel posters and photographs transporting the viewer back to the ‘Golden Age of Ocean Travel’.