First Marriott hotel in Northern Ireland will create 115 jobs

The Marriott hotel at City Quays will operate under the AC Hotel brand

HOTEL operator Marriott International has said its new hotel at City Quays in Belfast will create 115 jobs when it opens in 2018.

The company confirmed its first hotel in Northern Ireland would be at the Belfast Harbour development.

The £25 million four-star AC Hotel will include 188 rooms, a restaurant, a bar/lounge, fitness facilities and meeting rooms.

Marriott's director of international development Paul Thomas said the hotel demonstrated the firm's "commitment to opening design-led hotels in thriving destinations where we see growing demand from discerning travellers seeking a refreshed hotel experience".

The hotel will be built by Gilbert Ash and will support 180 jobs in the construction phase.

Belfast Harbour property director Graeme Johnston said it was "great news for both business and leisure travellers as well as for the city".

“Marriott has a very strong presence in the business market which will complement the wider office developments planned for City Quays – the first office is already fully let to four US firms employing 800 people," he said.

"The hotel will also be well placed to tap into Belfast’s growing reputation as a conference destination with the newly refurbished Waterfront Hall just a short riverside walk away.

“With views of Titanic Belfast and SS Nomadic the hotel will also appeal to inbound tourists and – given Marriott’s reputation for quality – we’re confident that it will appeal strongly to local people looking for a new leisure experience.”

Marriott already has two hotels in Ireland: the Shelbourne Dublin, a Renaissance Hotel and Powerscourt Hotel, Autograph Collection in Co Wicklow.

Gilbert Ash managing director Ray Hutchinson said: “City Quays Hotel represents one of the largest contracts that we have worked on in Northern Ireland in recent years, with a project value of £22m, and we are excited to commence work on site.

"We know that the finished property will be a welcome new addition to the local leisure accommodation offering, particularly at a time when demand for beds is at an all-time high.

“There are a number of major construction projects under way in Belfast at the moment which will substantially change the face of the city in the coming year. Few buildings are able to capitalise on a view over the River Lagan and we think that this hotel and its riverside terrace will allow locals and tourists alike to enjoy one of the city’s greatest assets.”

Robert Crook, managing director of Interstate Europe Hotels and Resorts, added: “We’re thrilled to be operating the first Marriott International-branded hotel in Belfast. It’s a fantastic development for the city’s tourism industry, catering for both the leisure and corporate markets, and with all that Belfast has to offer on its doorstep, we’re sure its arrival will be a success.”

Visit Belfast chief executive Gerry Lennon said: "We welcome the news that Marriott International has been selected to operate the hotel in City Quays. This is a welcome addition to Belfast’s growing portfolio of hotels. The last decade has seen tremendous growth in Belfast’s tourism industry, and demand for hotel rooms is rising. Just last year for example, we saw room sales break the one million barrier for the first time, and room occupancy averaged in excess of 78 per cent.

“It is vital that the city maintains a mixture of recognised brands and independent hotels, so the addition of the internationally-renowned Marriott brand will only strengthen Belfast’s positioning as a must-see destination. Within close proximity to the Belfast Waterfront, key attractions like Titanic Belfast, and the city centre, this hotel will appeal to leisure and business visitors alike.”

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