The quantity and quality of hotel expansions and openings happening right now in Northern Ireland raises the bar for the entire hotel industry. This exciting course of events is well-timed for anyone planning a meeting, conference or event in the region. Choice is one of the critical success factors when considering a location and more importantly — determining where to host an event.
“The burgeoning hotel sector in Northern Ireland is keen to meet the challenge of the meeting and incentive market,” said Northern Ireland Hotels Federation Chief Executive Janice Gault. “The diversity and breadth of product puts the region firmly on the map with an unheralded opportunity in the discerning business market.”
Belfast: gaining momentum
The Belfast hotel industry follows suit with international brands such as the recently opened AC by Marriott Hotel and Hampton by Hilton. These openings add to an already well invested hotel product in Belfast, where the greater part of the growth is pole positioned. The situation is gathering speed with local leading lights like Hastings Hotels, which opened Northern Ireland’s largest hotel, the Grand Central Hotel in June 2018. Likewise, the Dalata Hotel Group has recently opened its fourth hotel in Northern Ireland; the Maldron Belfast City Centre. Alongside other comparable growths and developments, the Belfast city hotel industry will lay claim to close on 10,000 bedrooms by the end of 2018.
The largest part of the project is close to the highest standard; specifically, the four star classification, with the minority in the corporate branded, three/four star grouping. In 2017 alone, three hotels have opened their doors: Bullitt Hotel, themed around the iconic Steve McQueen film; Bishop’s Gate Hotel, a former gentleman’s club in Derry-Londonderry with a rich heritage; and Shipquay Hotel, a boutique townhouse fronting onto the Old City Walls and Derry's eminent Guildhall.
The Northern Ireland hotel industry’s competitive advantage is further strengthened with further developments – namely the Titanic Hotel Belfast, which opened in September 2017. This hotel will give its guest the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to dine in the drawing room where the infamous ship was designed. Long-term, a George Best Hotel is in the works as well as the planned opening of Killeavy Castle on the Ring of Gullion.