New George Best Hotel to have reduced bedroom capacity

The George Best Hotel will now contain 63 bedrooms. Before a new planning application was submitted the capacity had been set to be around 80 bedrooms
Gareth McKeown

THE new £15 million George Best Hotel in Belfast will have a reduced bedroom capacity when it opens this year.

The Irish News can reveal Liverpool developer Signature Living submitted amended plans before Christmas for a 63-bed hotel in the Scottish Mutual building, opposite Belfast City Hall.

The news comes after the firm initially stated last year that the capacity would be around 80 rooms.

In the latest planning application an accompanying design and access statement states that "generally the layout will remain as per previous planning approvals", but the developer has since elected to swap the use of the first and fifth floors. The first floor will now be used for hotel bedrooms, while the fifth floor will contain a large function room, which will cater for events such as weddings.

According to the statement the developer believes that the fifth floor is "far better suited to this function, making use of the high ceilings."

"We require additional space to cater for the number of guests we envisage hosting in the function room," it says.

It is understood that the changes have been made to maximise the potential of the events space at the hotel, which has a prime location in Belfast city centre.

Signature Living, which is headed by Lawrence Kenwright, bought the Scottish Mutual building early last year for more than £6 million and has since collaborated with the Best family on the venture dedicated to honouring the late great football icon,

In June family and friends of the football legend, including his sister Barbara (McNarry), presented Signature Living with iconic items of memorabilia to start a unique collection at the new hotel.

The items included replica European Cups, a silver Northern Ireland cap, paintings of George and a shirt signed by many of the mourners who attended his funeral.

The George Best Hotel, which is set to open in June, is part of as many as seven new hotels, Signature Living could create in Northern Ireland.

The company, headed by Lawrence Kenwright is also undertaking the £25 million redevelopment of the historic Crumlin Road Court House to create the 150-bedroom Lanyon Hotel, due to open in October, while the War Memorial Building on Waring Street will be the location for the third of at least four hotels in the city.

The George Best Hotel is among several new hotels set to open in Belfast in the next two years, with around 3,000 bedrooms being added to the city's stock.

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