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Belfast is the capital and largest city of Northern Ireland. It stands on the banks of the River Lagan on the east coast. With over 600’000 residents, Belfast is among the fifteen largest cities in the UK. This beautiful port city overflows with history, culture, and exciting events. Most of its attractions focus in the downtown area. That’s also where most of the best hotels in Belfast, Ireland stand.
Belfast grew into a large settlement in the 17th century. In 1861, the city became home the Harland and Wolff. This once the World’s largest shipyard was the birthplace of RMS Titanic. Shortly after, Belfast became an important port and a center of Irish linen production. Unfortunately, the 20th century was kind to Belfast. After the partition of Ireland, it became a stage for the conflict between Irish nationalists and Brish troops. It was only in 1998 that the city finally saw the end of the violence.
Today, Belfast is steadily moving towards a brighter, better future. The number of tourists has been gradually increasing over the last ten years. Some came lured by the lore of Titanic and sites used in the Games of Thrones. Others fell in love with the city’s natural beauty and complex history. In 2018, Lonely Planet named the city together with Causeway Coast, one of the best places to visit. Check our top 10 things to do in Belfast to learn more about the attractions of this marvelous city.
Where To Stay In Belfast
Like in Dublin, most lodgings in Belfast stand in the city’s downtown. Some offer skyline views. Others overlook River Lagan. All provide easy access to Belfast’s urban highlights. But staying in the city center isn’t your only option. Several upscale lodgings lie further away from the bustling city center. They offer quiet green hills of the Irish countryside and fresh ocean breeze. Check out our list of 11 best hotels in Belfast, Ireland, to choose your ideal accommodation.
The Merchant Hotel
The first on our list of best hotels in Belfast, Ireland, The Merchant stands in the city’s Cathedral Quarter. The marvelous Victorian-style hotel occupies an 1860 building of a former bank. Its plush guest rooms come with period furnishing that suits its facade. But, you don’t have to worry about the lack of modern amenities. Each suite features a flat-screen TV, free Wi-Fi, and a mini-fridge. You won’t also miss your morning dose of caffeine. Coffeemakers are on hand.
If you are looking to stay in shape, you’ll fall in love with The Merchant’s rooftop gym. It’s not only well-equipped. It also grants a breathtaking cityscape view. Once you finish your fitness routine, you can relax in a hot tub or head to a spa center. Inside await dozens of beauty treatments, a sauna, and a hydrotherapy space.
The Merchant spoils for food, too. The on-site Great Room Restaurant offers an exquisite Irish menu and High Tea. Likewise, try to Veuve Clicquot champagne lounge for trendy cocktails. And if you look for a more casual evening, head to Berts Jazz Bar. The venue serves an array of comfort meals and has live music every night.
The Fitzwilliam Hotel
This splendid hotel stands steps from the Belfast’s Grand Opera House. The polished property features contemporary decor. Guest rooms are spacious and bright, with floor-to-ceiling windows. In each space, you can relax over a cup of tea while watching TV or enjoying free Wi-Fi. You may also run your playlist via an iPod Dock while sipping on a soft drink from a minibar.
The Fitzwilliam boasts a simple yet well-equipped gym. Foodies should try the hotel’s restaurant and its international fusion menu. For drinks and vintages, we recommend heading to the on-site bar. There you’ll find champagne and a choice of over 700 spirits. No worries, though, if you’re looking for a different culinary adventure. The Fitzwilliam lies within Belfast’s Green Mile renowned for trendy diners and pubs. You’ll locate a suitable spot with any problems.
The Culloden Estate and Spa
Among the best hotels in Belfast, Ireland, Culloden is a rare example of a countryside lodging. The upscale resort occupies an 1876 mansion set a 10-minute drive from the city center. Gardens and woods surrounded the property, ensuring privacy and comfort.
Culloden spoils for luxury. The on-site spa features a marble steam room, a dance studio, and a hot tub. Depending on your mood, you can relax in an indoor swimming pool or enjoy a beauty treatment and a massage. If you crave outdoor activities, Royal Belfast Golf Course is less than a mile away. Besides, the estate stands near the Ulster Folk Museum. It’s a great attraction, particularly if you travel with children.
Rooms at Culloden boast polished country-style furnishing and floor-to-ceiling windows. Inside, you can catch up with your favorite TV shows while enjoying snacks from the minibar. Free Wi-Fi and an iPod dock are also on hand. In terms of food, you can choose from three different venues. Vesper Restaurant offers fine, regional cuisine. Lough Bar boasts spectacular seafront views that you watch over a coffee or a cocktail. And the Cultra Inn gives you a taste of a traditional Irish pub and bistro. Be ready for a delicious culinary adventure!
The Flint is a chic hotel set in the Belfast Golden Mile, steps from Grand Opera House. The upscale property is a great getaway to explore of Linen and Cathedral Quarter. Likewise, it’s near the starting point of the Game of Thrones and Giants Causeway Tour.
The Flint boasts contemporary, minimalistic decor reflecting the modern face of Belfast. Inside stylish suits, you will find flat-screen TVs and free Wi-Fi. To keep things simple, the hotel doesn’t offer dining services. But each room features a kitchenette and a dining area so you can feel at home and prepare your own meals. We recommend, however, leaving the premises and exploring the surrounding area. The Flint stands among the finest restaurants and bars in town. You won’t regret giving them a try.
Tara Lodge, another among the best hotels in Belfast, Ireland, stands in the chic Queen’s Quarter. The stylish property offers spacious, contemporary suites equipped with all must-have modern amenities. A bright, cozy interior encourages you to rest and relax. You can stretch out on a large soft bed while watching TV or using free Wi-Fi. Tea and coffee making facilities are on hand, too.
Tara boasts a small coffee lodge where you may read your daily newspaper over a light meal and a cup of tea. That’s also where the resort staff serves sumptuous, delectable breakfast every morning. You won’t find in the hotel a fitness club or an on-site restaurant. But free private parking and hotel’s location grant easy access to an array of dining venues. Besides, the property is a fantastic spot for a visit to the Belfast Botanic Gardens. The splendid landmark lies less than half a mile from the lodge.
OYO Standing Stones Lodge
OYO is a cozy, minimalistic alternative to the bustling downtown accommodation. It’s a perfect lodge for those of you who seek a serene space offering an escape into nature. The hotel stands in the middle of the lush Irish countryside, less than a mile away from Davis Mountain.
The hotel boasts contemporary decor adorned with large, bright rooms. Each suite features free Wi-Fi and a flat-screen TV. You also get a vanity table to make sure you look good before hitting the town. In case you want to stay put, OYO offers a laid-back restaurant and a comfy bar where you can try local vintages. Otherwise, we recommend ordering the taxi and heading to the Golden Mile. Downtown is only a 10-minute drive from the property.
Ten Square Hotel
Ten Square Hotel occupies an 1860 mansion steps overlooking Belfast City Hall. The boutique property stands an 8-minute walk from the Victorian St George’s Market. In other words, it’s a perfect place to try the Belfast city tour.
The lodge offers elegant, comfortable rooms that suit its stylish surroundings. You’ll fall in love with the suites’ individual decors. Each suite at Ten Square encourages you to stretch on a comfy bed and get a drink or a snack from a minibar. Flat-screen TVs allow you to catch up with your favorite series. Coffee and tea making equipment grants you always have a hot brew on hand. Wi-Fi is free. Ten Square boasts an upscale steakhouse and a polish bar on the 7th floor. The lodge provides an outdoor terrace with spectacular urbanscape views. There is also a cozy Irish pub with a variety of spirits and live entertainment on weekends.
Maldron Hotel Belfast City
This upscale property stands across Great Victoria Street Station. Both Belfast City Hall and Grand Opera House lies less than half a mile away. The hotel’s cozy interior temps guests with warm colors and a laid-back atmosphere. Maldron‘s guest rooms are spacious and feature down-to-earth furnishing. In all suits, you’ll find free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, and coffeemakers. We’re sure that you’ll also appreciate small desks standing in seating areas. They come handy when you need to do a bit of work on your laptop.
As almost all the best hotels in Belfast, Ireland, Maldron offers an on-site dining option. The hotel’s Restaurant serves elegant Irish fusion cuisine. It has a kid menu, too. There is also a comfy bar where you can relax over a classy spirit. And if that doesn’t sound good enough, give a try to several high-quality pubs behind the corner.
Holiday Inn Belfast
This well-known chain accommodation stands in Belfast Downtown. Grand Opera House and Victoria Square Shopping Centre are both 10 minutes’ walk away. Holiday Inn boasts a bright interior with comfortable, simple rooms. Each suite features free Wi-Fi and a flat-screen TV. You also have access to a safe and tea and coffee making facilities.
The property is an excellent place for families since it offers a variety of discounts for kids. Likewise, you’ll find there a cozy fitness center and a Starbucks coffee station. There is also an on-site bar and media lounge where you can relax over a local beer. And if you must work, head to the hotel’s E-Bar. The venue provides power points and a wireless printer.
Standing in the Cathedral Quarter, Bullitt offers comfortable accommodation with an industrial twist. The lodging lies 500 meters away from the Belfast waterfront. Inside the hotel, you’ll find spacious guest rooms featuring free Wi-Fi and flat-screen TVs. Bathrooms will spoil you for comfort with rain showers.
Breakfast at the hotel is complimentary. You can relax at the premises in a cozy coffee shop or head to the on-site restaurant serving a grill-style menu. There’s also a laid-back lobby lodge and a rooftop bar boasting city views. Extra perks of staying in Bullitt include a tour desk and a bicycle rental. Besides, the property has a pleasant garden where you can unwind after a long day of sightseeing.
AC Hotel by Marriott Belfast
Last but not least, on our list of best hotels in Belfast, Ireland, the AC Hotel. The lovely accommodation occupies an ultra-modern building overlooking Lagan River. From here, you can explore on foot Titanic Belfast, City Hall, and Belfast Waterfront.
Contemporary guest rooms feature free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, and Nespresso machines. Floor-to-ceiling windows offer city or river views. AC’s perks include a well-equipped gym where you can enjoy your daily fitness routine. When it comes to food, the on-site Novelli at City Quays will charm you with its Mediterranean dishes. Likewise, you should try the venue’s handcrafted cocktails and local beer. Evening drinks on the hotel’s riverside terrace will be a pinnacle of your stay in Belfast.
Recommended Restaurants / Bars in Belfast:
- The Crown Liquor Saloon – This 1885 pub is an exceptional example of a Victorian gin palace, and one of Northern Ireland’s most renowned bars. It’s also a marvelous place to try classic British dishes and local vintages.
- John Long’s Fish & Chips – Don’t miss a meal or two at this iconic 1914 bistro bar. It’s Belfast longest established fish and chip shop. Long’s is a bit of a local secret but had several famous guests too. Brendan Fraser, Sean Bean, and Take That all visited the pub at some point.
- Mourne Seafood Bar – You can’t visit Belfast and not try the city’s seafood selection, and this place is perfect for that. You’ll get here a range of fresh dishes, including delectable shellfish and oysters. Try them all over local ale.
Recommended Activities in Belfast:
- Titanic Belfast – This monument to Belfast’s maritime heritage stands on the site of the former Harland & Wolff shipyard. It was here that the RMS Titanic came into existence in 1912. The landmark is a must-see for anyone visiting Belfast.
- St. George’s Market – Don’t miss this last surviving Victorian covered market in Belfast. It’s history dates back to the 19th century when it was an open market with a slaughterhouse. The area was covered with a roof between 1890 and 1896. Today it is a thriving trading center with 300 food vendors and artisans.
- Crumlin Road Gaol – This somber yet fascinating site is the only remaining Victorian-era prison in Northern Ireland. The complex, which was fully operational from 1846 to 1996, is now open to the public for tours and events.