Not to be outdone by picture-postcard Dublin on the other side of the border, Belfast become a highly popular city-break destination in recent years. In recent years the Titanic Studios, Titanic Belfast, the MAC and even ‘Game of Thrones’ have rightly put Belfast in the cultural spotlight – so little wonder you’re looking for a hotel here. There’s plenty of things to do in this absorbing, unique city. And whichever of Belfast’s four quarters you choose to explore, from Cathedral and Titanic to Queen’s and Gaeltacht, there’s a hotel for everyone. Here’s our selection of the best hotels in Belfast.
Belfast's best hotels
The Merchant is, with little doubt, the swankiest kid on the block. And indeed the block in question is the liveliest in the city. Its grandiose Victorian architecture might look a tad imposing, but inside the vibe is far more informal – with a riot of colours coming together to form a fun, eccentric decor. The 62 rooms are equally distinct, with those in the original building focusing on period details, and the extension rooms featuring seriously contemporary styling. All have original artwork and free wi-fi. Head to the rooftop to make use of the gym and spa with giant hot tub – as you’d expect at this altitude, there are great views across the city.
Lights pours into what’s a decidedly contemporary atrium lobby: it features steel, bright colours and sets the scene for this modern establishment. The Fitzwilliam’s smart, stylish rooms are dotted with bold textiles; all come with free wi-fi, minibars, iPod docks, and tea and coffee-making facilities. The swish restaurant and bar are particularly appealing spots. Breakfast is charged, as is valet parking.
Ten Square was named the coolest hotel in Belfast back in 2012 – and we’re certainly not arguing. A fetching boutique hotel based in the city centre on Donegal Square South near City Hall, it has an eclectic mix of rooms: Oriental-style, traditional and reference to the building’s industrial past, and coolly, minimally contemporary. They’re all beautifully appointed and come with free wi-fi, tea and coffee-making facilities and a range of in-room entertainment.
This small, 34-room hotel has much to offer, including some seriously hearty breakfasts (porridge with whiskey, anyone?), parking, wi-fi, newspapers and a top location near the Botanic Gardens. The rooms are airy, bright, simple but comfortable with it. Windows are triple-glazed; tea and coffee-making facilities. En suite monochrome bathrooms are stocked with Orla Kiely toiletries and come with Grohe power showers. Plus, the breakfast room looks almost as good as the breakfast itself. Almost... but not quite.
A curious name: it’s after the Steve McQueen film that owner Bill Wolsey (who also presides over the Merchant) happens to be a huge fan of. It’s a handsome building in the Cathedral Quarter, so is a great choice for those who have Belfast’s night scene in mind. The 43 rooms are decked out in warm woods and chic minimal furnishings and come in three sizes. They all sport rain showers, free wi-fi, smart TVs with Sky, tea and coffee and monochrome, en-suite bathrooms. In place of breakfast, guests get Go Bags with OJ, a granola and yoghurt pot, and a piece of fruit.
The Clayton is a good spot if you’re visiting Belfast with your clan – it’s among the city’s most child-friendly hotels. Kids aged under 17 can stay for free if accompanied by an adults, and they can enjoy the buffet breakfast for free too. There’s a sports bar on-site, along with an indoor pool – it’s actually the only hotel in the town centre to have one. The modern-looking rooms come with free wi-fi and tea and coffee-making facilities, while upgraded rooms throw minibars and mini-fridges into the mix. A fitness centre and hot tub, plus spa and sauna treatments, all add to this hotel’s very affordable appeal.
The Europa has a less-than-ideal credential to its name: it was, famously, the most bombed hotel in the world during Belfast’s Troubles. But today, it’s now been reinvented as an accessible, everyman kind of place with elegant decor, Ralph Lauren textiles and muted shades that aren’t likely to offend anyone. All rooms have tea and coffee kits, iPod docking stations and free wifi, while breakfast is included in the rate. And said rates are very affordable: the grand dame of Belfast is a real bargain.
With a bar to rival the famous Crown Inn (and an excellent cocktail selection), a sumptuously over-the-top restaurant serving modern-European food, and slick, individually designed modern rooms, independent hotel Benedicts is a real delight. Free wi-fi and discounted parking nearby come as standard, as do spacious en-suite bathrooms, a complimentary drink and free breakfast.
A recently revamped, bright boutique hotel in what in the nineteenth century was a seed warehouse. Based on edge of the Cathedral Quarter, it’s a popular spot with with young Belfast natives, largely thanks to the cheap cocktails and the funky atmostphere in the bar. The 62 rooms are stylish and understated, retaining original features here and there as counterpoints to the contemporary furnishings, and come with free wifi, minibars, and tea and coffee-making facilities. There are great deals to be had with room rates here, too.