Hastings Hotels, Northern Ireland’s leading hotel chain, today unveiled its plans for the latest addition to its portfolio which will see a £30M investment and the creation of over 150 new jobs for Belfast.
Sir William Hastings Chairman of Hastings Hotels said: “We are delighted to unveil the plans for what will be the seventh hotel in our portfolio in Northern Ireland.
“This acquisition represents our biggest single investment to date of £30M and upon completion in 2018 the hotel will operate at the upper end of the 4-star market offering 200 bedrooms, a restaurant and bar, 18 serviced apartments and a range of superbly appointed office accommodation. The hotel will create over 150 new jobs.
“This project is a huge undertaking for Hastings Hotels and it is has only been made possible by the strength of our existing hotels portfolio and the quality of our staff and management. It will bring the number of bedrooms in our group to over 1,000 making us the largest privately owned hotel chain on the island of Ireland,” Sir William said.
“I am also thrilled to announce that our new hotel will be called the Belfast Grand Central Hotel. The original Grand Central, which also boasted 200 bedrooms, was built in 1893 and was the thriving hub of Victorian Belfast as well as the finest hotel in Ireland. Winston Churchill, the King of Belgium, Al Jolson, Mario Lanza and the Beatles were all guests who enjoyed its luxurious hospitality. I am extremely proud to be able to pay tribute to this much loved property of the past by naming Belfast’s newest hotel after it.
“Today I can also reveal the new branding for our new hotel, which incorporates the Seahorse. The Seahorse, part of Belfast’s Coat of Arms, celebrates the City’s Maritime history. Old photos from the Glory Days of the Grand Central show the Seahorse motif featuring on menus and plates. Our new interpretation of this classic Belfast emblem is a permanent reminder of the new Grand Central’s connection with its elegant past.
“The Belfast Grand Central Hotel will fulfil the requirement for much needed city centre accommodation in Belfast. Tourism in Northern Ireland continues to thrive and it is the ideal time to extend our portfolio of hotels with more high profile events coming to the city as well as an increase in business tourism which will be helped by the expansion of the Belfast Waterfront next year,” Sir William added.
Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister Jonathan Bell said: “I have been very impressed by Hastings Hotels vision for its new city centre hotel. This is great news for Belfast and for Northern Ireland, as the group’s continued investment is a massive vote of confidence in our tourism sector. The new hotel will add considerably to the local accommodation offering and allow Northern Ireland to capitalise further on the growing international business conference market.”
Belfast Lord Mayor Cllr Arder Carson said: “This is great news for the city. One of our major objectives is to double the current tourism revenue by 2020 and developments such as this one by the Hastings Hotels Group are a huge step forward towards achieving that goal.”
“Hastings Hotels is well known for its dedication to supporting the local economy and we have appointed WDR & RT Taggart Architects in Belfast to design the building, and once planning has been approved, we look forward to working with other local firms to build and furnish the hotel to the high standards for which our group is renowned,” Sir William concluded.