£28 million Titanic Hotel unveiled
THE Dublin-based developer of Belfast's latest hotel offering claims its £28 million investment in the city will offer a "new level of opulence" for Northern Ireland's business customer.
Harcourt Developments is behind the 119-bedroom Titanic Hotel Belfast in the former Harland & Wolff drawing offices, where the plans for the Titanic itself were dreamt up in the 1890s.
It will be the eighth hotel in the multi-million pound company's portfolio, sitting alongside a collection of properties in locations from Liverpool to the Caribbean.
Harcourt - who've been front and centre of the Titanic Quarter regeneration over the last decade - flung open the showpiece hotel's doors to the media ahead of letting its first overnight visitors (rooms start at £160 a night) get their heads down from September 10.
The Titanic is part of a wider push to add more than 2,000 bedrooms to Belfast's hotels stock in the coming two years as it vies with other European capital cities for major cultural and sporting events.
But few hotels will be likely to command its richness of history and heritage, which the owners believe will appeals to tourists from Tyrone to Tokyo and Antrim to Adelaide.
The luxury facility, which will employ around 100 permanent staff (230 worked on its construction), boasts just two views from each of its bedrooms - the choice is the Samson and Goliath cranes on one side, or Titanic Belfast and its slipways on the other.
It claims to be the most authentic hotel in the world honouring the work of Harland & Wolff and the majesty of Titanic, which Harcourt believes will guarantee its international lure and lustre.
Harcourt's group creative director John Doherty said: “History and heritage helped build this hotel, and it can be seen in every aspect of the finish, from the carpet to the cornices, radiators to tiling.
"We are working with the Heritage Lottery Fund (which gave £5 million towards the scheme) and the Titanic Foundation to ensure Belfast’s illustrious shipbuilding legacy is told in true style.”
He added: “Thanks to the input of former H&W workers and their friends and families, the hotel will also tell the story of the people who made the industry here in a way that no other destination can.
"Over the past five years the Titanic Foundation has welcomed more than 50,000 people to the drawing offices from the local community who have personal links to the heritage of the ship and headquarters. We could not have told this story without them.
As well as deluxe accommodation, the hotel includes seven private event spaces named after influential H&W directors including Thomas Andrews (he went down with the Titanic in 1912), his uncle Lord William James Pirrie and the shipyard's managing director Charles Payne.
A 150-seater dining room - where the tiles are the same as those used in the swimming pool aboard the ill-fated Titanic (around 2,000 of the tiles were discovered in the 1980s in the dilapidated building's attic) - will be another feature of the spectacular hotel when it opens in just 10 weeks.