Wednesday 18 July 2018

Grand Central: Inside the €60m hotel that's breaking records in Belfast

The Grand Central is the tallest and most expensively built hotel in Northern Ireland

Photo: Alan Lewis / Justin Kernoghan / PhotopressBelfast.co.uk
Photo: Alan Lewis / Justin Kernoghan / PhotopressBelfast.co.uk
The Directors of Hastings Hotels Howard Hastings, Allyson McKimm, Edward Carson, Julie Hastings and Aileen Martin pictured outside of the Grand Central Hotel. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
View Belfast city centre taken from the 23rd floor of the new Grand Central Hotel. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
A bedroom at the new Grand Central Hotel in Belfast. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Grand Central Hotel, Befast. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Grand Central Hotel Belfast (artist's impression)
A bathroom at the Grand Central Hotel. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
A bar at the Grand Central Hotel, Belfast. Picture by Justin Kernoghan / Alan Lewis / PhotopressBelfast.co.uk
Inside the Grand Central Hotel. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Photo: Alan Lewis / Justin Kernoghan
The café at the Grand Central Hotel. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Pól Ó Conghaile

Pól Ó Conghaile

The largest and most expensively constructed hotel project "ever seen in Northern Ireland" has opened in Belfast.

The new, £53 million (€60m) Grand Central Hotel brings 300 new bedrooms to Bedford Street, 23rd-storey views of the city skyline... and some of the gushiest marketing speak this side of the Celtic Tiger.

"No expense has been spared on its marble flooring, its plush fabrics and its dramatic interior lighting," according to its developers, Hastings Hotels.

"Shimmering" charcoal panels are "visible across the city", it adds, and guests can look forward to "a new era of glamour and grandeur", "unmistakable Seahorse logos" and a hotel that "exudes personality".

The Directors of Hastings Hotels Howard Hastings, Allyson McKimm, Edward Carson, Julie Hastings and Aileen Martin pictured outside of the Grand Central Hotel. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
The Directors of Hastings Hotels Howard Hastings, Allyson McKimm, Edward Carson, Julie Hastings and Aileen Martin pictured outside of the Grand Central Hotel. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Photo: Alan Lewis / Justin Kernoghan / PhotopressBelfast.co.uk
View Belfast city centre taken from the 23rd floor of the new Grand Central Hotel. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
A bedroom at the new Grand Central Hotel in Belfast. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Grand Central Hotel, Befast. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Grand Central Hotel Belfast (artist's impression)
A bathroom at the Grand Central Hotel. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
A bar at the Grand Central Hotel, Belfast. Picture by Justin Kernoghan / Alan Lewis / PhotopressBelfast.co.uk
Inside the Grand Central Hotel. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Photo: Alan Lewis / Justin Kernoghan
The café at the Grand Central Hotel. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

There has even been a poem commissioned to mark the hotel’s arrival.

Snippets of Paul Muldoon's 'Hymn to Belfast' are etched into the pavement at the hotel entrance, and in a metal fretwork screen.

And the price? Rooms start from £200/€228 B&B per night.

As to whether the Grand Central is worth the hype, we await the first reviews - but it has certainly announced itself with a splash.

A bedroom at the new Grand Central Hotel in Belfast. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
A bedroom at the new Grand Central Hotel in Belfast. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Photo: Alan Lewis / Justin Kernoghan / PhotopressBelfast.co.uk
The Directors of Hastings Hotels Howard Hastings, Allyson McKimm, Edward Carson, Julie Hastings and Aileen Martin pictured outside of the Grand Central Hotel. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
View Belfast city centre taken from the 23rd floor of the new Grand Central Hotel. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Grand Central Hotel, Befast. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Grand Central Hotel Belfast (artist's impression)
A bathroom at the Grand Central Hotel. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
A bar at the Grand Central Hotel, Belfast. Picture by Justin Kernoghan / Alan Lewis / PhotopressBelfast.co.uk
Inside the Grand Central Hotel. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Photo: Alan Lewis / Justin Kernoghan
The café at the Grand Central Hotel. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

A transformation of the former office block, Windsor House, the hotel is Northern Ireland's tallest. It includes 10 suites, and dining options will range from a ground floor café and restaurant to the small plates cocktail lounge dubbed 'The Observatory' - thanks to its city views - on the 23rd floor.

The cocktail lounge opens in September of this year.

The Grand Central Hotel was constructed by local builders Graham’s of Dromore, with design led by Belfast architects RPP.

It comes as Belfast experiences something of a hotel boom, with Titanic Hotel Belfast opening last September (view gallery here), Bullitt completing its second phase in November, and several developments to follow this year, including a George Best Hotel on Bedford St. and a four-star Marriott at City Quays.

Read more:

Review: Belfast's Titanic Hotel is a heritage gem, but hard to love as a hotel...

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