So I wanted to review a hotel that I personally think is a bit of a bargain but probably isn’t as well known to visitors of Belfast. The hotel in question is the Hastings Stormont hotel which is situated on the outskirts of the city and is rated at 4 star. To start with I will mention the price, as its one of the cheapest (for 4 star anyway) that I have seen at £50 per night at the weekend. I have to be honest that I’m not sure if this is some special promotion that they are offering or not as I haven’t really checked prices with them before. But anyway as I write this is seems to be one of the cheapest places to stay in Belfast so it’s definitely worth a mention.
Before I go any further though I must mention that this hotel is on the outskirts of the city (about 3.5 miles from the city centre to be exact) so you are going to be spending some money on either taxis or public transport. However I think if you’re going to be staying outside the city centre this is one of the best places to do it as the views of Stormont castle are amazing. Also if you like countryside then this is about a close as you can get to it whilst still staying accessible to the city. I suppose it depends on the type of atmosphere you’re looking for, if you want somewhere quiet with good links to the city then this could be for you. But if you want to party the weekend away in Belfast’s pubs and clubs then Hastings Stormont could be difficult to get back to.
The hotel its-self is sometimes thought of as a business hotel as it has 15 conference rooms available. It also has good motorway links and its one of the few hotels that you can access without going into the main city via the Westlink, which could be handy if you want to avoid Belfast’s famous traffic jams. Because they have plenty of space to play with there’s an on-site gym and also Bistro. If you’re into Golf this could also be your ideal base with nearly 20 golf courses in the vicinity.
So that’s it for this review. In summary I think the only thing the Stormont hotel has going against is the location, because the distance from the city centre won’t be to everyone’s tastes. However for others the tranquillity could be perfect. Also if you really are on a budget then the £50 weekend rooms could be hard to beat anywhere in the city, just remember to factor in those transport costs. I hope to have some more hotel reviews soon so stay tuned.
So i was reading today on http://www.rte.ie/news/2009/1105/ibis.html that a new hotel chain is opening in Belfast with a £12 million investment by the hotel chain IBIS and the creation of 50 jobs here in Belfast. This is great news for anyone looking for new hotels in Belfast in the near future because as we all know the more choice the better. It’s actually two new hotels that are being built and it’s thought one of them will be going into the Queens quarter. Ive always wondered if Belfast has had enough hotels to cope with the sudden waves of tourists and visitors we get from time to time and also if we really have enough competition in the hotels market to keep prices down. On the whole i think prices are quite good compared with the rest of the UK like Cardiff for example but prices in the city centre can still be very expensive depending on where you want to stay.
Many people these days are plumping for out of town guesthouses as a cheaper alternative to a hotel in the centre of the city. For instance i recently stayed in Parkview guesthouse on the Cave Hill road (outskirts of Belfast) because it was so cheap. I think its actually one of the cheapest places to stay in the whole city if you discount hostels etc as the room was only £35 for the night with en-suite which i thought was really good value. Compared to most accommodation in the centre of Belfast which would be twice or sometimes three times the price i thought it was a bargain. I know some people may resent having to travel to get back into the city but it was only a 5 minute taxi ride. Also you have to consider that most people end up getting a taxi back to their hotel anyway even if it is in the centre they are off seeing the sights or are on a night out and dont want to/cant walk back. Very few people want to just stay in the area around their hotel anyway so i often don’t see the sense in paying extra just for location.
Also i have to keep in mind i was only in the guesthouse for a very short time. I mean that i literally went there got dressed and then hit the bars. So for me as long as it was a comfortable place to sleep it didn’t matter the location or any of the facilities that they had as i wouldn’t have had time to notice anyway!
On another note im wondering how busy many of the hotels around here are going to be over the holiday season. I know from insiders (i have spies everywhere) that hotel bookings for December are down compared to last year which i suppose in many ways is not surprising given the present economic climate. At the same time i know many tourist dependant businesses are hoping for big things in the New Year. One thing i hope to see a lot more of are the big discounts to the more exclusive hotels like The Merchant et al as i really think they need to do more to tempt people into these places in the first place. I know for alot of hotels in Belfast that the biggest problem is getting news about their offers out there so people can book. Word of mouth still seems to be one of the best ways to get the message across and in today’s social network world why don’t we see more hotels announce deals and run competitions on twitter and facebook? Still im sure they will catch up with the rest of us soon. Until next time
So the first step with any type of search for accomodation is to work out what kind of hotel/apartment/hostel you are looking for. Realisticly if you are looking for a cheap hotel it is going to be 3 star or below (although i have seen very good discounts on 4 star hotels). Prices have gone up in some respects for accommodation in Belfast city centre mainly becuase there are so many new tourists visting the city these days. So with this in mind i have compiled a short list of some really good budget places to stay in the city in no particular order. (All prices are for a standard en-suite double room)
- Days hotel Belfast. This hotel in situated very close to the city centre and has good access to many of the main bars and clubs if thats your thing. Its very close the Europa but is a fraction of the price as around £60 per night.
- Travelodge Belfast. Big hotel chain that operates right accross the uk and has an established name in Belfast. The accommodation is situated in the student area of the city and repesents really good value at around £55 for a weekday. It is however about 20-25 min walk from the city centre.
- Bestwestern Wellington Park Hotel. This is the only 4 star hotel in the list but i think it represnets great value if you are willing to spend a little extra. It is situated right beside one of Belfasts best pubs “The Bot”. While it is not in the city centre it is a great area with the Queens University right down the street. Prices start at around £90 per night.
As you can see it is possible to find cheap accommodation in Belfast if you are willing to look around for it. Also work out what your main priorities are when you are booking and where you need the hotel to be located in order for you to have to best holiday possible. Also as a side note more and more people are renting cars when they are visiting the city, so you may want to check out Car Hire In Belfast before you arrive as there are some great deals to be had if you book early.
The Europa is one of the premier hotels in Belfast both due to its history and its amazing location right in the centre of the city. Its location really couldn’t be better as it is situated right next to the Grand Opera House and some very famous bars. The most famous is one of Belfasts oldest bars “The Crown” and also “Robinsons” which is right across the the street. The Europa also has the very dubious honour of being the most bombed hotel in Europe!
The Hotel also features a Brassiere which is open for around 18 hours a day to the general public. There is also a piano bar and great bespoke entertainment on certain nights of the week. One of the most stunning things about the hotel is also the architecture which is recognisable from the very second you see it. Even though this hotel looks really expensive its actually considered reasonably cheap accommodation in belfast by most people as your only talking about £80 per night which is very good for a hotel in the centre. The hotel really lends itself well to the overall theme of the city and is usually somewhere lots of tourists visit even if they are not staying there.
If your coming to Belfast for the first time one thing you may not be aware of is the lively nightlife and warm atmosphere of the bars and restaurants dotted around the city. One of the main spots is Great Victoria street which is famous for many Bars and Hotels such as the Europa hotel and right opposite it the Crown bar. The Crown is one of the oldest bars in the city and has recently been restored by the National trust to its full former glory. When you are on this great street you will also have the opportunity to visit the City hall which is just a short walk away and definitely worth the visit. The new lights that decorate the city hall and adjoining big wheel really are a sight to behold leaving many tourists and the occasional local with big smiles.
As you can see there are a number of advantages to getting a hotel near the city centre as it will keep you within walking distance with many of the citys main attractions. However if you have gone for a cheaper deal and find yourself further outside the city don’t worry as there are taxis running 24 hours a day that will take you anywhere you want to go.
One thing that i hear all of the time when people are looking for hotels in any city is the location and how you judge how close to the city centre the hotel is. After all if you do not know a city that well then you really don’t know where the real city centre is or even where the main hub of the town is at. This doesn’t just apply to cheap hotels in Belfast but hotels in any major city. Check out the map below to get a better idea of the local area.
If you do not like to tour around the city all by yourself, you can approach the tourism department of the city. They have quite a number of tours available and the same start from Castle Palace which is located in the city center. These tours are fun and people love it for the view they get from the open top buses. The option of the different modes of taking the tours depends upon your wishes and your budget and there is no fixed rule. There are a number of low-cost hotels like the `Belfast City Travelodge Hotel’ which is perfect for those on a low budget and is located right in the center of the city.
If your budget permits you to spend a bit more and you plan to avail of better services, you can check out the “Express by Holiday Inn”. This hotel is also ideally located within walking distance from the major tourist attractions of the city including the Queen’s University. The train station and the Victoria Street Bus are also located nearby. There are a number of `5-star’ hotels too and you can search for them on the net. Most hotels have their online portals and you can use them to plan and book your rooms according to your needs and budget. Some of these hotels offer special off season discounts and also for visitors traveling in groups. Keep an eye out on their website for such discounts when planning your trip.
When you are touring Belfast you should make sure to check out some of the famous tourist spots like St. Anne’s Cathedral, Belfast City Hall, Waterfront Hall, the Grand Opera House and the Queen’s University. The Zoo, which is a must visit is a bit far away and though you can reach there by cab, it is recommended that you take a bus. This helps you to familiarize yourself more with the city and mingle with its citizens and at the same time it is also far cheaper than a cab. There are some other options too. You can check out for a cheap car rental service and use that to drive your way round the various tourist spots. There are some agencies which also offer cycles on hire, these are quite cheap and help you exercise as well.
Remember the locals are your best help and guide, so try to get in touch with as many locals as possible and ask your way around the city. This is the best way of touring a city like Belfast which has quite a number of landmarks like the “Belfast City Hall” which is an architectural relight as well as an important building since it houses the Belfast City Council. There are guided tours available for the interior of this building. You might also like checking out on the “Albert Memorial Clock”. This clock has an amazing height of 35 meters and it situated right on Victoria Street. The crowned lions along with their shields and the floral motifs on this clock make for an unforgettable experience.
Belfast, the capital of Northern Ireland can be a perfect place to visit along with family and friends during the holidays, but most people shirk about the accommodation costs that eat into a major part of their traveling budget. There are many sights in this city that attracts lots of tourists all round the year, including its enchanting nightlife, the dance clubs and the shopping centers. All these, together with the architectural beauty and the warm hearted people make Belfast one of the most desired tourist spots. One should keep in mind that lots of tourists visit Belfast, especially during Christmas and it is extremely tough to find hotel accommodation over there unless you book well in advance.
There are both costly and cheap hotels available and if you are on a shoestring budget, you might opt in for a travel lodge. Before proceeding to book the hotel, you should check out the location and see if it suits you. Quite a number of hotels are located near nightclubs or in busy locations and you might get disturbed if you are planning to stay in hotels located in such locations, especially when trying to get a peaceful night’s sleep after a hard day of sightseeing. Selecting a hotel in the center of the city has its advantages since most common tourist spots will be located nearby and you shall not have to waste money on transportation.